I’m so excited for Anjuli to share this amazing recipe for roasted tomato sauce with us today… this secret ingredient technique has my mind spinning, I CANNOT wait to try it! Take it away, Anjuli! – Georgia
This year my tomato patch and I have had a very love/hate relationship. It is mid October and, while I am now cleaning plenty of perfectly green tomatoes off the vines in preparation for winter, my yields of ripe tomatoes at any given time have been sparse. The most I’ve pulled together at once is 5 pounds which, while not enough to warrant breaking out the canning supplies, did end up being the perfect amount to make a most delicious roasted tomato sauce. Not too mention there is a special secret ingredient you don’t want to miss!
Roasted Tomato Sauce:
This FABULOUS tomato sauce was pulled together with the help of a chef friend and some internet research. First off, I wasn’t in the mood to blanch tomatoes. Why? Because it’s tedious and tiresome and takes too long and I always end up with a steam burn. It only took a quick google search for ‘how to peel tomatoes when you’re too lazy to blanch them’ (not exactly my search terms, but you get the drift) for me to realize the obvious answer. Roast them! There are several benefits to this. Not only do you get to skip the ‘standing over a pot of boiling water’ step, you get the beautiful umami flavor that comes out when the tomatoes slightly caramelize. It also frees you up to mince the onions and garlic while you wait on the oven to do all of the hard work for you.
The Secret Ingredient
Now for the really special secret step: frying the tomato paste in olive oil and deglazing with red wine. If you’ve never heard of this before either, don’t fret. While I’ve been around a cookbook and an Italian or two, I had no idea this was a thing (my grandmother must have been holding out). I was talking to a good friend of mine named Will – who owns one of my favorite hole in the wall Cajun/Creole joints in Lexington, KY – and, when I asked him what made his tomato sauce so good, he just casually threw this out there. In all fairness, I had no idea how to do this and I still don’t know if I got it right. However, the way it melds the flavor of the tomatoes and the red wine while eliminating any alcohol flavor or sharp edges is brilliant so I must have.
P.S. – Did I mention this sauce pairs perfectly with Italian style venison meatballs?
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- 5 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons good olive oil + more for tomato roasting purposes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 oz. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine + a splash to deglaze
- Parmesan cheese rind - a couple of inches will do (optional but recommended)
- Fresh basil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Slice the tomatoes in half through their middles; you want the stems and ends to stick up
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and coat it thinly with olive oil and then sprinkle it lightly with salt
- Place the tomatoes cut side down on the paper and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they begin to brown and the skins start peeling away from the flesh
- Sit tomatoes aside to cool slightly while you start your sauce
- In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan or Dutch oven, over medium, heat up the butter and oil until they stop foaming
- Add the onion to the pan, seasoning with salt and pepper, and cook until they are soft and translucent
- Add the garlic and red pepper
- Peel the tomatoes (I do this as I go) and add the flesh and juice to the pot, discarding the skins
- Add the soy sauce and oregano, allow to come to a low simmer
- In a small pan or skillet (for surface area) heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil and to this add the tomato paste
- Stir the paste in the olive oil so that it doesn't scorch, but don't worry if it sticks a little; the color will darken slightly
- Once the paste has started to darken, add the 1/2 cup of red wine and continue stirring; reducing the mixture until it thickens back up
- Add the paste/wine combination to the sauce base and if needed, throw a splash more of wine into the paste pan to deglaze so that no caramelized sticky bits are left behind
- Add the Parmesan rind and fresh basil to the sauce
- Turn your heat low enough to keep the sauce at a low simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally to keep the Parmesan from sticking; the longer you simmer the more the flavors will richen and develop
If you don't have fresh garden tomatoes and the store bought option is looking too sad for words, simply grab two 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes and crush them gently with a potato masher - or use your fingers because that's fun too.
For the wine, I use an Italian Montepulciano D'Abruzzo. If you wish to substitute for the wine, you can certainly use good stock to deglaze your pan and add a splash of good balsamic or red wine vinegar for the acidity.