I’m eating tomato toast as I write this, not because I love tomato toast but, more or less because I had a craving for toast and there are so many damn tomatoes in our kitchen right now. I wanted to have a lovely little garden but at a plant sale this spring I got a little crazy and bought 16 tomato plants. I clearly had no idea how many tomatoes would come from 16 plants and the rainiest year I’ve seen in Georgia yet.
We’ve gotten tomatoes drunk again, grilled them again, heck we’ve even roasted them to make salsa, again. And still we have tomatoes. I’ve taken them to work, given them to neighbors and there are still tomatoes. Quite a lovely problem to have.
There are two solutions we rely on around here for problems such as these: 1. Roast all the things and 2. Freeze all the things. This recipe can include both.
Think of the roasting steps as a recipe for flavorful tomato base you can freeze. I like to stash my pureed roasted tomatoes in a labeled zip-top bag in the freezer to save for later in the fall or winter. We use the tomato base as a starter for the pasta sauce below – but you could certainly use it to make amazing gazpacho or as part of a cocktail sauce.
PS – Would you like some tomatoes? I have extras.
Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce
Makes approximately 1 quart
1 pound cherry, grape, or roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
additional salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the tomatoes and halve any larger than 1 inch in diameter. Spread the tomatoes on half sheet pan and toss with the olive oil, salt, thyme and garlic. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tomatoes are blistered and bursting.
Remove the half sheet pan from the oven and cool the tomatoes for 10 minutes. Dump the contents of the half sheet pan into the blender, being sure to scrape any caramelized bits into the blender, but use caution, the pan will still be hot. Cool an additional 10 minutes, then puree until smooth.
At this point you can save this tomato base in a zip-top bag and stash in the freezer for later use.
Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. Add the tomato base and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce reduces slightly and darkens in color. Add the vinegar, taste, and season with additional salt and pepper as desired.