A roasted fresh Tomato sauce should have a deep, fruity flavour with rich, sweet notes. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of tomatoes and makes them intensely flavoursome. Tomato sauces are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.
what variety of tomatoes do you use?
I will usually use whatever I have in the fridge. But I do really like using plum tomatoes, they are less watery, which means less time to cook off excess liquid. This helps to keep the flavour in the sauce. Why complicate things with too many varieties, experiment with what you have, what’s on sale (I buy double then and get sauce making!) and see what works for you.
how to prepare fresh tomatoes for roasting
Do remove the tomato skins if you wish. I always use the whole tomato including the skin and seed pulp, keeping all the goodness in. My tomato sauces are always blitzed and everything blends in really well. Alternatively, you can leave the skins on and seeds in and once roasted run them through a sieve or food mill to extract said seeds and skin.
Also if you find tomatoes too acidic, you can add a teaspoon of sugar, I never do as we love the roasted tomato flavour as is. Again, personal choice/tastes.
why use the whole tomato?
There are so many reasons to leave the skins on! Tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their beautiful red colour. They contain 3 high-powered anti-oxidants, beta-carotene and vitamins C & E. Tomatoes are also rich in potassium.
Tomato skins hold all of the flavonols, phyto-chemicals and the highest concentration of carotenoids are found in the skins!
how to make the tomato sauce
Put the tomatoes into a large bowl with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and use a spoon to thoroughly coat with the oil. Place the tomatoes onto a large baking tray and throw over a couple of teaspoons of flaked sea salt and add some oregano. Place a few oiled garlic cloves around the tomatoes, roasted garlic is the best! Roast for 20-30 minutes until the natural water is cooked off and the tomatoes are caramelised with their natural sugars.
Whilst the tomatoes and garlic are roasting, sauté the red onion in a little olive oil until softly caramelised.
Blend the roasted tomatoes with the sautéed onion and tomato purée . Tomato purée adds a little more depth to the sauce. Squeeze out the garlic into the blender and blend again. Season to taste.
The tomato sauce can be used as is, but I always add steamed broccoli to our sauce as an added nutrient for the children (I have been known to add up to 5 extra veg!). The synergy between the tomatoes and the broccoli has even more health benefits.
is roasted fresh tomato sauce freezable?
Yes, definitely! I usually make way more than I need (and don’t usually measure out ingredient quantities for sauces, just taste and adjust as I go along!) and freeze the rest. Just thaw completely and reheat gently. It’ll be perfect for a quick mid week pasta dish!
- 650 grams/1½ lbs Plum Tomatoes
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
- Oregano/Basil, 1 teaspoon if dried
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
- Place the plum tomatoes and garlic cloves in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss until completely coated.
- Place the plum tomatoes and garlic cloves onto a large baking tray and fling the flaked sea salt over. Add the herbs of your choice.
- Roast for 20-30 minutes until the tomato skins puff up and the juices caramelise nicely.
- Whilst the tomates and garlic are roasting, sauté the red onion in a little olive oil until softly caramelised. Allow to cool.
- Take the tomatoes and garlic out of the oven and allow to cool.
- Place all the ingredients into a blender, squeezing the garlic cloves from their skins first, add the tomato purée and blend until smooth.
Uses: as a pasta sauce, sauce for chilli, etc. Add extra ingredients as necessary, e.g. chilli peppers, tuna, etc.