Sunday, September 23, 2012

Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce

This is one of my favorite things to cook, period. But for those of you who need a specific recipe... sorry, I don't have one. This sauce is the epitome of my "taste as you go cooking." Here in this post today, I wrote roughly what I would usually do for a basic tomato herb sauce.

Like I said, this is the basic tomato sauce, but I like to mix it up depending on the day and what veggies I have around. It is really fun to get creative and add in some roasted red peppers or mushrooms when you have those available!

This sauce is quick and great on noodles for an easy dinner with a side salad. BUT this sauce has great flavor and picks up other flavors really well. I love using this sauce on grilled chicken with a slice of melted cheese...almost like chicken parmesan except faster, easier, and without the extra mess or extra calories of breading and frying the chicken. It freezes and thaws great, too.

When I first started making this in college I was only cooking for myself. I would make a whole batch of it, and freeze it in little mason jars or Tupperware. The stuff thaws well and tastes great up to 6 months later (probably longer, just never makes it that long before I eat it all)! I've used it on eggplant Parmesan, too, and it was a huge hit with my boyfriend's family.

I've thought too about making it into a base of a tomato or roasted red pepper soup... I'll have to let you know if that works out. Let me know if you try it first and tips for success!

Basic ingredient list:
  • 2 Pints Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 White or Yellow Onion
  • Garlic (~5 cloves)
  • Fresh Herbs of Choice (basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano are all good) 
    • If you don't have fresh herbs around, you can also use dried  italian seasoning or herbs de Provence
  • Red pepper flakes (just a pinch)
  • Red wine (~1/4 cup drizzled)
    • Balsamic vinegar  (a little drizzle maybe a tablespoon or two)
    • I usually do EITHER red wine OR balsamic... could do both I guess, just may be a little acidic
  • Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Parmesan Cheese
Here's how it goes:
  1. Rinse and dump: the cherry tomatoes into roasting pan or cookie sheet. Just make sure it has a little edge at least so things don't roll away into the bottom of your oven
  2. Chop and dump: roughly chop your onion, smash the garlic cloves (don't need to chop), and chop fresh herbs and throw them all into your pan. If you're going to add red peppers or mushrooms or anything else at this point, just rough chop and throw it all in!
  3. Drizzle and shake: drizzle some olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and shake it all around to coat them a little
  4. Roast in oven and do something else for a while: I usually roast them for ~30-45 min at 350 degrees. Just till the veggies are tender and the tomatoes are popping open
  5. Blend it and Taste it: This is where I get to use my little rocket blender, or my boyfriends mom's awesome ninja blender... anything with blades and buttons will work. Pour all the stuff from the pan into the blender including all the juice. Blend it all up and add olive oil until it's the right consistency for you. I usually blend in some freshly graded Parmesan cheese at this point. Taste it and add whatever else you want. 
  6. EAT IT
    1. Need ideas: noodles, chicken, baked tilapia or other white fish, roasted vegetables, spaghetti squash, dipping sauce for appetizers, eggplant Parmesan, with a spoon. 

Really simple, really quick, really delicious.

Let me know what yummy combinations you've come up with!