Friday, December 14, 2012

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Roasty ToastyAre you a fan of tomato sauce? I know I am - I'll put that stuff on almost anything: pasta, rice, veggies, fish, tofu, bread... That is, as long as it's good tomato sauce. I'm not talking about fancy-pants, pay-$12-a-jar stuff you can only order from Italy, I'm talking about real-deal, homemade, richly flavoured sauce cooked down enough so that the flavours are perfectly meshed together but not mellowed out to nothing. I always start out with a smooth sauce as a canvas, because then you can serve it to those who don't like "chunks" or meat in theirs, and jazz up portions with chopped onions, carrots, zucchini, peppers - what have you - when the need arises. But rather than just saute the basic mirepoix and be done with it, I love when the veggies (especially the tomatoes) are roasted first. Roasting also lets you add in as much garlic as you could possibly want - if I was making this just for myself, I'd probably be adding two heads to this baby, but I did have others to consider! I settled for 12 cloves, which turned into a delicious golden butter after their stint in the oven, while the onion and tomatoes melted into a caramelized, sticky-sweet pool of yum.

Garden CandyAre you hungry yet? The best part about all of this was that I could make it all year long! The first batch (inspired by Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook) I did over the Summer, with a handful of teeny Egyptian onion bulbs in place of the onion and a ton of my heirlooms. After our garden gave up the ghost for the year (cursed frost!) I wondered if the sad-looking grocery store variety of tomatoes would work just as well. They did, since the roasting pulls out whatever flavour they have, and the other ingredients simply step up their game and help make the flavour come through. While it's a fairly simple sauce, you'd never guess it!

Submitted to Ricki's Wellness Weekends, Gluten Free Fridays and Foodie Friday 

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Makes 4 cups, 8 (1/2-cup) servings
4 1/2 lbs mixed heirloom tomatoes, seeded and halved*
1 large sweet onion, chopped coarsely
12 cloves garlic, halved
1/4 cup minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp Kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
 *if you can't find heirlooms at your grocery store (or they're too pricey), use regular old Romas
  1. Heat the oven to 350F. 
  2. Place the tomatoes (cut side up), onion pieces, garlic and thyme leaves in a single layer in a baking dish.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, gently stirring halfway through.
  5. Pinch the peels off half the tomatoes (this should be fairly simple if the tomatoes are beginning to blacken), then puree the mixture in a food processor or blender and pour into a pot.
  6. Place over medium heat and stir in the wine, broth, basil, mustard powder, paprika and Kosher salt. 
  7. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar.
  9. Serve immediately, can (45 minutes in a waterbath canner) or refrigerate in a sealed container up to 2 weeks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 94.8
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 84.1 mg
Total Carbs: 15.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 2.8 g

Roasted Heirloom Sauce