Skip the stockpot and pull out your roasting pan for richly concentrated, flavorful tomato sauce. With the end of summer, farmers markets are overflowing with beautiful tomatoes. Romas, beefsteak, and heirloom varieties – I want to bring home bushels full. Take advantage of the season and make roast tomato marinara sauce. Enjoy it tonight, freeze it or pressure can it for winter months to come.
While prices are favorable, I brought home twenty pounds (9 kilos) of fresh tomatoes to make roast tomato marinara. I usually freeze it, but this year I’m going to preserve it in my pressure canner. And any extra I am willing to part with will make terrific gifts that my friends will appreciate.
A Versatile Sauce
This sauce is perfect to have on hand for quick dinners as we head into a busy season. Toss everything together; pour into a roasting pan and roast for 45-60 minutes. Pulse in a food processor or blender (I use a Vitamix 5200), and you have wonderful tomato marinara sauce ready for pasta and other uses.
Tomato sauce is often made from canned tomatoes, which is fine when fresh tomatoes are not good. But when you can use fresh, local tomatoes why not make sauce and freeze or can it for future needs?
Roast the Tomatoes for Great Flavor
Roasting concentrates the sweet flavors of the tomatoes and brings out the sweetness in the garlic. Lastly, a quick whirl in the food processor or Vitamix for a chunky sauce or a little longer for a smooth sauce; your preference.
Another tool option, try a stick blender (immersion blender). A very handy tool that takes up a lot less kitchen space than a food processor or high powered blender.
All weekend long the house has smelled wonderful with this sauce roasting in the oven. I’ll place the finished jars in my pantry and smile, knowing a quick and healthy dinner is at hand whenever needed.
Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce with Garlic and Oregano
Yield: 7-8 cups (approximately 2 liters)
- 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) fresh, organic tomatoes
- 16 whole, peeled, large, plump organic garlic cloves
- ½ cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup dry red wine (120 ml) (or use chicken or vegetable broth)
- 6 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Tools: large roasting pans and a food processor
- Pre-heat the oven (s) to 425 degrees (218C). Get out two large roasting pans. I use a big stainless steel All Clad (like for roasting a turkey). If you don’t have roasting pans, use large heavy (or doubled) disposable aluminum pans.
- Wash the tomatoes. Depending on the type of tomato, you may need to cut out the core first, as with large Beefsteak or Heirloom varieties. Then, cut tomatoes into large chunks. Don’t cut the pieces too small. Big chunks are good. The smaller the pieces are the faster they will roast.
- Place tomatoes in the roasting pan; add garlic cloves, oil, wine or broth, oregano, onion, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands.
- Place pans in the oven (s) and roast until tomatoes have reduced and are starting to get a few black edges. The pan should still have some juices, not be dry. Depending on your oven it should take 45-60 minutes. Stir half way through. If the tomatoes are really juicy, it may take longer.
- Remove pan from oven, set on the stove top and allow to cool a few minutes until you can handle it. Carefully transfer the roast tomatoes into a food processor with a steel blade and pulse 5-6 times. You can also use an immersion blender (stick blender) in a deep pot or bowl to minimize splattering.
- The sauce it ready to serve, or cool completely to refrigerate, freeze or process for canning
Note – tomatoes require a pressure canner. See notes below.
Tools and tips:
Canning – I use a Fagor 10 quart (10 liter) pressure cooker/canner. This pot has three uses: as a regular large stock pot, as a pressure canner and as a pressure cooker. Process the sauce in pint/half liter jars for 20 minutes or according to the manufacturers instructions.
Low-acid foods, such as tomato sauce, must be processed using a pressure canner, not a water bath. Only a pressure canner can reach the 240 degrees necessary to safely process low-acid foods (a ph value greater than 4.6)
Read here for instructions to oven sterilize jars. Place jars on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 minutes at (225 F/107C) for 10 minutes.
Food processor – I have a new Breville Sous Chef I’m really enjoying. Large capacity, powerful motor, well designed. Great if you cook a lot, have a family to feed and need a “power tool”. There are other good options from KitchenAid and Cuisinart that are less expensive and not as big.
Vitamix 5200 blender – This is my blender of choice, High-powered, high capacity and a versatile tool. Order here and get free shipping.
Immersion Blender (stick blender) – This is another good tool if you don’t have room (or the need) for a food processor. Very handy tool for pureeing soups and sauces and they come with a whip attachment you can use for whipping cream.
Roasting pan – I confess to preferring All Clad stainless steel. I have the big size. Works great for this sauce, roasting lot of vegetables and big birds at the holidays. There is a smaller size as well. Sur La Table also sells a nice one, their own brand, that’s less expensive.
Canning jars – There are many options available. I am using the Bormioli Italian canning jars right now. They work nice as gifts too.
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