We all know that store-bought tomatoes taste terrible in the winter, actually they often taste pretty watery and bland most of the year unless your grocery store carries heirlooms or locally grown ones. Even then, they’re usually a far cry from ones picked right out of the garden. But there is an exception to this rule: grape tomatoes. They somehow taste good no matter what time of year it is. And in the dead of winter when your plate needs a little splash of freshness to get through the gloomy days, grape tomatoes are an excellent substitute for canned tomato products when making sauce.
I love the ease of this recipe because you basically throw everything on a pan to roast in the oven and then put it in the blender and call it done! It is a great sauce for pasta, pizza or just dipping big chunks of bread in. I like to make up a batch on the weekend and then just have it in the fridge for a throw-together meal during the week. This recipe makes a lot of sauce. For my family of 3, I cut the recipe in half or put a portion in the freezer.
I like to use a healthy dose of carrots in my tomato sauces to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes with some sweetness that doesn’t come from sugar. You could also add some roughly chopped onion as well, but I kept the flavors of this sauce fairly simple so it could be versatile for meals during the week.
If you received the bonus post for this month (subscribe to get an extra post every month!) then you know that a new and improved blender attachment is the feature for this month’s blog posts. It makes quick work of these roasted ingredients and turns them into smooth sauce in no time.
If you read Ashley’s post in December, then you saw that she introduced a line of glassware that is perfect for preserving and storing food. I am quickly falling in love with it and featured it in the cover shot for this blog. (Also a great container for my sourdough starter!!) If you have any questions or comments please let us know. We love hearing from our readers.
Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
4 pounds grape tomatoes
4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
7-8 large cloves garlic
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup roughly chopped basil
1-2 tsp. honey, optional
1 tsp. red chili flakes, optional
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Divide tomatoes, carrots and garlic between two half sheet pans. Liberally drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with hands to thoroughly combine ingredients.
Bake for 45 minutes, until garlic and carrots are soft and tomatoes are beginning to burst and slightly shrivel.
Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Working in 2 batches, place half the tomatoes/carrots/garlic in the Ankarsrum blender attachment along with half the basil. If desired, add half the red chili flakes. Blend on highest speed for just under a minute. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. If more sweetness is wanted, add half the honey. Blend just until combined. Place sauce in a jar or container and repeat with remaining ingredients.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Alternately, store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Yield: 8 cups