Every wondered what to do with 3-4 kilos of end-of-season tomatoes going cheap at your local green grocers, the answer is this: roasted tomato sauce. Chop the tomatoes up with some onion, garlic, herbs, salt and a good slurp of olive oil. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can add a dash of wine and some chilli flakes. Bake them in a moderate oven for an hour or so until the tomatoes reach your desire level of roasted intensity and press them through a food mill to make a smooth and gloriously rich tomato sauce. The best thing is this is so easy, you can use up your tomato glut and freeze the sauce for later.
You can process the sauce through a food processor but the tomato seeds tend to make the sauce bitter, so I prefer putting it through a food mill, which gives it a much better texture and flavour. I’ve had a mouli for years and it is one of my most beloved kitchen gadgets. I use it all the time to make quick tomato pasta sauces with tinned tomatoes and, for pureed soups and sauces, it is the best. A few months ago, I finally replaced my 20-year-old mouli. My old mouli was an el cheapo purchase from my neighborhood hardware shop (remember the ’90s when you could buy that kind of stuff from your local Italian hardware shop?). I’d been equivocating about whether to replace my old mouli for a couple of years, wondering if it was worth buying a new one before finally biting the bullet. I’m so glad I did though because I love my new mouli and the old one really wasn’t up to the job any more.
You don’t really need a recipe for roasted tomato sauce but this one below will help getting you started. I tend to be fairly generous with the olive oil. If your tomatoes are really good, you can just cut them in half and place cut side up in the oven, but if you’re dealing with three or four kilos of slightly-past-their-prime tomatoes, it’s easier to chop them up and cut any bad bits out. Because I put my sauce through the mouli, I also just roughly mash my garlic, unpeeled and throw it in to bake, skins and all.
Roasted tomato sauce
- 1 kilo (2 pounds) tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4–8 cloves of garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup or more of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- Optional – chilli flakes, dried or fresh herbs, a splash of red wine, bay leaf.
- Preheat oven to 180°C–160°C fan forced (350°F). Mix together, tomatoes, onion, olive oil, sugar and salt in a layer in baking tray.
- Bake for 1-2 hours. You can bake until the tomatoes are just roasted, or the edges are beginning to blacken. I prefer my tomatoes well done for maximum flavor intensity.
- Allow to cool and pass sauce through a food mill, or process in a food processor. If you are using a food mill, make sure you keep pressing the mixture through until all the moisture and saucy goodness is extracted.