Preserving the Season: Roasted Roma Sauce (Pt. 1)

It’s bulk tomato season!

It’s Kaitlyn again, and this time I’m working through a couple boxes of bulk Roma tomatoes from my delivery this week. If you’ve been afraid to try ordering in bulk because of the work involved in “putting up” the tomatoes, let me reassure you. I am one of the LAZIEST cooks out there, so my method is nearly the easiest you’ll find.

Oh yeah? Well then why are there two parts to this recipe, you ask? Because I’m SO lazy (and am overly busy with cramming in end-of-summer activities and getting ready to send both of my boys to preschool in a week) that I’ve divided up the work to make this sauce EVEN EASIER. Here’s how.

Sliced tomatoes
Slice lengthwise, add some olive oil, S&P, and sliced garlic.

Sort the tomatoes

If you don’t have time to get right to work the same day your box arrives, take 10 minutes to quickly inspect the tomatoes for signs of extensive bruising or rotting, and discard tomatoes that won’t make it another day or two. It’s normal to have a handful of bad tomatoes in the box, and getting rid of them will help the others last longer.

Rinse, slice, prepare

It doesn’t get easier. No peeling, no removing seeds. Simply rinse the tomatoes, slice in half lengthwise, and place in a baking dish, roasting pan, whatever you have that is oven-worthy. Be sure to drizzle the pan with a little olive oil first, then drizzle a little more over the tomatoes once they’re in the pan. It’s ok to crowd them in and overlap a little, just keep it to one layer. I love adding sea salt & black pepper, and a few sliced cloves of garlic (or whole cloves…it doesn’t matter much).

Roast at 350° for 2.5 hours

This is the “set it and forget it” part. Roast several pans of tomatoes at once for anywhere between 2 and 3 hours, depending on how hot your oven is. Check them halfway through and rotate pans that appear to be cooking unevenly if needed. Your house will smell like a pizzeria in Sicily.

roasted tomatoes
Pop one in your mouth, and try not to eat the whole batch!

Cool and freeze

Pull ’em out, let them cool for a minute, pop one into your mouth and consider eating the whole pan. If you can control yourself, throw the roasted beauties into a freezer bag or plastic storage container, packed in tight, and freeze for another day. This method allows for you to work through batches of tomatoes when you have the time, and you’re not committed to making tons of sauce—there are plenty of dishes in which to use roasted tomatoes. I like to keep some in the freezer to use as a base for chili, or in a masala dish later on. The rest will be jarred up for classic tomato sauce….some other day. When I get around to it. 🙂

Stay tuned for Part 2 (Roasted Tomato Sauce) after bulk tomato season is over, and try this method on a box for yourself!


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