Who doesn’t love fresh tomato sauce? It takes a bit longer than opening up a jar or a can but the results are totally worth it. It’s hard to even call the stuff out of a jar and freshly made sauce even the same thing. When the sauce is the highlight of a dish it’s especially important to get the most flavor out of the tomatoes. To get that intense flavor, I roasted the tomatoes on the broil setting until the skins were well charred, making a homemade roasted tomato sauce that everyone in the family loved. This helps to concentrate the flavor of the tomatoes. While broiling the tomatoes, I added in some garlic cloves to get that amazing roasted garlic flavor into the sauce. Remember to remove the skins before pureeing because they tend to roll up into tiny little tomato skin skewers. The recipe makes a lot so I was able to freeze it in batches so it should last a while. Homemade roasted tomato sauce works great for pretty much any pasta recipe that requires a red sauce and it’s especially good for lasagna or eggplant parmesan since you can tailor the water content to be thicker and less watery than conventional pasta sauces.
7 lb. Roma tomatoes, halved
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt, or to taste
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, loose chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp red wine vinegar
6 oz. tomato paste
Handful fresh parsley, minced
3 leaves fresh basil, minced
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, optional (depending on desired consistency)
Place the halved tomatoes cut side down on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Turn the oven to the broil setting and place the trays into the oven. Drizzle the tops of the tomatoes with a bit more olive oil and brush to coat evenly. Broil until skins are charred with a lot of cracks and blackened tops, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the excess water from each tray and add the garlic pieces onto trays evenly. Broil for another 5-10 minutes, or until the garlic has just begun to brown.
While the tomatoes are broiling, add some more olive oil into a large sauce pot. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, pinch off the skins from the tomatoes. Since they tend to balloon upward, they should come off easily. Pour the onion and celery mixture into a food processor along with a portion of the roasted tomatoes. Blend until pureed and the texture is smooth. Pour the pureed mixture back into the sauce pot.
Working in batches, blend the rest of the roasted tomatoes and garlic in the food processor until smooth. Pour each portion back into the pot. Once all incorporated, turn up the heat to medium high and add the tomato paste, oregano, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, sea salt, black pepper and chicken stock (if using). Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Turn down the heat and cook on low simmer for about an hour. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in the fresh parsley and basil.