“Toast to the tomato roast!” Or in perhaps more trendy speak, “totes tomahhhto roast.” Either way, roasting tomatoes has a hold of my heart, and I’m not letting go any time soon.
I spent this past weekend rocking the nostalgic. It was my yearly girlfriend getaway of my college besties. I’m a sorority girl, and because of the amazing friends I made in it, I’m damn proud of it.
The trip is the same as it is every year. No boys. No kids. Just the girls with cocktails and jello shots, trashy magazines and corn hole and there always seems to be some sort of water in the form of an ocean, a river, a lake or even just a hot tub. This year it was the tropical pool that saved us from the beat of the Las Vegas heat. We are a group of girls that know way too much about one another’s past, and know one another well enough to help navigate the present in hopes of a fulfilling future. We’re nothing if not happy to share our opinions in helping one another grow.
It’s all in the name of love.
It was an anniversary year, one of those numbers that you never in your life would think would come so soon, and yet when it does, you marvel at the fortune you’ve found in developing a level of friendship and bond that runs this deep for this long. And the reason it does is because— it’s simple. It’s easy. We all put in and we all draw from the well. We just always have and we always will, at each and every milestone.
As I grow older I realize just how much more value simple has. How things in life, simply, have no reason to be overcomplicated. That a good foundation of friends, family and the basics is all that you really need. And exactly why I love simple cooking.
Easting seasonal is one of the best ways to keep it simple. It only makes sense to draw from what’s fresh and put in on your table. My friend Becky of The Vintage Mixer has once again gathered a group of bloggers to partner with her in creating recipes that celebrate the philosophy to Eat Seasonal. Check out her list of crops currently rotating through our local CSAs and farmer’s markets and make them a part of your dining plan. As Becky says, “Less cooking, more eating straight from the garden.”
Which leads me straight to the garden and my favorite tomatoes.
This recipe for Simple Roasted Tomato Sauce is the foundation for so many recipes I concoct aka pull together on a weekly basis. Of course it’s terrific in the Italian sense as a topping for pasta, but in it’s simplicity it’s so much more.
A few ways to use it:
- I add a cup or so of milk or half and half and warm it up for a flavorful tomato soup.
- Use it to bathe frozen meatballs on a solid sourdough bun to make a divine meatball sandwich.
- Of course it’s the base for a zesty lasagna. Or even for a short cut lasagna soup.
- A cup of the sauce is perfect as dipping sauce for fritti misto or fried calamari.
- Spread it on french bread halves, top with mozzarella and any other toppings for a French Bread pizza.
- Nestle a few chunks of chicken breast in warmed sauce and cook over medium for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- The kids go wild for stuffed pizza rolls.
- Polenta, gnocchi and ravioli. Need I say more?
Roasting tomatoes is the secret to a sweet and fresh tasting sauce, even after it’s been jarred or frozen. And it’s beyond easy to do. Lather tomatoes and garlic in olive oil, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and roast low and slow. In cook speak that means ignore them while they sizzle in the oven. Give them a whir in the blender, and boom. You have sauce.
I like to keep my sauce in the fridge until ready to use or I freeze them flat in freezer bags and then stack in the freezer for later use. Pour the sauce in muffin tins or ice cube trays to use in smaller portions.
To make this as a shelf-stable, jarred sauce to can for later, add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and one teaspoon of salt to each jar. Add a teaspoon of sugar to offset the added acidity if desired.
- 5-6 pounds medium or small tomatoes, stems removed
- 1 medium head of garlic, peeled (you can chop the garlic if you want but can keep cloves whole if you'd like)
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- Place the tomatoes on large baking sheet with a raised 1-inch lip. Add the garlic cloves and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Use your fingers to mix well to coat. Top with torn basil leaves and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Bake for 4 hours or until tomatoes are soft and bursting.
- Allow to cool then pour into a blender in batches. Pulse 2-3 times then blend for 1 minute or until desired chunkiness. Pour into quart jars or pour into freezer bags to freeze flat.
- Will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week or 4 months in the freezer.
Upside Down Plum and Olive Oil Cake from My Name Is Yeh, recipe here.
Tomato Nasturtium Salad with Dates and Pistachios from Simple Bites, recipe here.
Fresh Peaches and Cream Pie from Lauren’s Latest, recipe here.
Fresh Cherry Wine Sauce with Ice Cream from Kitchen Confidante, recipe here.
Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas from Mountain Mama Cooks, recipe here.
Raw Kale Salad with Berries from Café Johnsonia, recipe here.
Watermelon Mojitos from The Vintage Mixer, recipe here.
Peach and Lavender Crisp with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from Climbing Grier Mountain, recipe here.
As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. As always, all opinions are my own.