September 24, 2009

Roasted Tomato Sauce {Naptime Everyday}

Storage space in my New York galley kitchen is precious. Yes, I do have more room than most people in my building since our apartment was recently renovated, but it still isn’t much. Like most New Yorkers I store my pots, pans and cookie sheets piled precariously on top of one another in two deep cabinets. All of my plates and glassware are stacked in order to save space, and I nestle my bowls and tupperware in order from small to large.

With storage space at a premium, I must be ruthless when it comes to keeping food. Since I tend to cook with mostly fresh ingredients my apartment size fridge can generally accommodate my purchases. I have a well-edited selection of spices on my lazy susan, a shelf dedicated to essentials like dry pasta and condiments, and a corner for my daughter’s snacks. In order to save space I steer clear of store-bought jarred soups and sauces. Instead, I make a lot of them in large quantities and freeze them. Though this sounds inefficient, it is actually a space saver. By making large batches of tortellini soup or tomato sauce I always have some at the ready to thaw, which is just the thing when I am dead tired at the end of the day and need to throw together a quick, delicious meal.

Three weeks ago I returned from our trip to Martha’s Vineyard with five loads of laundry and a huge bag of tomatoes. Traveling had been a blast, but with summer coming to a close it was time for me to get back into the swing of things at home base. On our first day back I put my daughter down for her nap and started in on the laundry. Then it was time to start in on the tomatoes.

I set aside two of them for a caprese salad for dinner, and got to work with the rest making tomato sauce. Over time I’ve made up this tomato sauce recipe based on one I found in Bon Appetit a few years ago. I like my tomato sauce to have an intense tomato-y flavor that is not overshadowed by heavy spices and seasonings. I find that a basic marinara is the best thing for me to have in my freezer, that way I can season it later depending on the dish I am cooking.

To prepare the tomatoes I begin by roasting them for about an hour along with some garlic cloves and lots of olive oil. Then I give them a quick blitz in the blender, and put the sauce on the stove to simmer. I also add the roasted garlic cloves, oil from the roasting pan and a little extra tomato paste to intensify the flavor. Once everything has thickened I simply store it in a sealed tupperware and pop it right in the freezer to save for later.

Stockpiling tomato sauce in the freezer is one of my favorite, and most efficient, tools for having dinner at the ready. Just the other day I was in need of an emergency meal and was able to thaw some sauce in a pinch to make Buccatini All’Amatriciana. A little pinch of red pepper, some onion, garlic and pancetta, and voila, dinner was served. Yes, the space in my freezer is precious, but I am confident that storing this sauce is the most efficient, and delicious, way to use it.


Freezer-Friendly Roasted Tomato Sauce

adapted from Bon Appetit a while back


2 lbs tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise (Plum are best)
3 T. olive oil
1 t. Kosher salt
6 garlic cloves
¼ c. tomato paste

Yields about 2 cups, recipe can be doubled or tripled


1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a 12×18 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and set side.
2. Place tomatoes in a bowl and toss them gently with olive oil. Line the tomatoes on a jelly roll pan and sprinkle them with kosher salt. Arrange unpeeled garlic cloves around that tomatoes on the pan.
3. Roast tomatoes for 50min-1hr, or until tomatoes are soft and just beginning to brown.
4. Remove from oven and allow tomatoes to cool slightly. Then place the tomatoes, and any oil from the pan, into a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves and drop into the food processor as well. Puree until smooth.
5. Pour puree into a sauce pan and add the tomato paste. Bring the liquid to a bowl and stir often until sauce is thickened. Allow to cool and then place in tupperware to freeze.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

It is hard to go wrong with a stockpile of tomato sauce. There is an infinite number of uses for it, and you can always season it to your liking when you add it to your meal.

Naptime Stopwatch

Aside from the roasting time making the sauce takes about 10 minutes total. This minimal amount of time makes it incredibly worth it when it saves you time later on.

Naptime Reviews

Basic tomato sauce is always a crowd-pleaser. I use this for everything from lasagnas, to pastas to soups. Everyone loves it.

More Naptime Recipes