Skip the stockpot and pull out your roasting pan for richly concentrated, flavorful roasted tomato marinara sauce.
With the end of summer, farmers markets are overflowing with beautiful tomatoes. Romas, beefsteak, and heirloom varieties. Take advantage of the season and make roasted tomato marinara sauce. Enjoy it tonight, freeze it or pressure can it for winter months to come.
End of Summer Tomatoes – Take Advantage of Low Prices
While prices are low and quality high, I brought home twenty pounds (9 kilos) of fresh tomatoes from the farmers market to make roasted tomato marinara sauce. 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.
Roast the Tomatoes for Rich Flavor
Roasting concentrates the natural, sweet flavors of the tomatoes and brings out the sweetness in the garlic. Use a large roasting pan, like you use for roasting a turkey.
If you have double ovens or one really large oven, you can do two pans at once, if you have two roasting pans. If not, borrow a second from a friend or do the sauce in two batches.
Chunky or Smooth
Another tool option, try a stick blender (immersion blender). They are a handy tool that takes up a lot less kitchen space than a food processor or high powered blender for smaller kitchens. Be sure to puree in a tall pot in the kitchen sink to reduce splatter.
All weekend long the house has smelled wonderful with this sauce roasts in the oven. I’ll place the finished jars in my pantry or freezer, knowing a quick and healthy dinner is at hand whenever needed.
Pressure Canning Notes
For pressure 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. You can buy it on Amazon with the link above.
Process the sauce in pint/half liter jars for 20 minutes or according to the manufacturers instructions. Along with the pressure cooker, you will need the canning kit.
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)
Sterilize Your Jars
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. You may also be able to do them in your dish washer depending on the cycles it offers.
A note on canning jars – There are many options available. You can find Ball jars at most grocery stores. Right now I am using the Bormioli Italian canning jars. There are several sizes to choose from and make nice gifts if you plan to share your sauce.
Water Bath Canning
Updated note – I have not tried water bath canning with tomatoes. If that is your preference, do some research and decide how you want to proceed. Here are a few good links from trustworthy sites about canning tomatoes:
- From Ball – http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes/crushed-tomatoes
- From Simply Canning – http://www.simplycanning.com/canningtomatoes.html
Although ten pounds (4.5 kilos) of tomatoes sounds like a lot, roasting concentrates that into about 7-8 cups, enough for about 4 pint (half liter) jars. One jar will serve 3-4 for dinner over pasta. This sauce will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You can also freeze it or pressure-can it. To roast this many tomatoes at once, you will need to use two roasting pans so as not to crowd the ingredients while roasting. That may require two ovens or roasting in two batches. If you don’t own a roasting pan, find a friend who does and borrow one.
- 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: 1 or 2 large stainless steel roasting pans and a food processor
- Pre-heat the oven (s) to 425 degrees (218C). Get out two large stainless steel roasting pans (like for roasting a turkey).
- 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 a blender or 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 in an ice bath. Freeze or process for canning.
- Note – Canning tomatoes requires a pressure canner. See notes in the post.