Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

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It’s not often I post a recipe completely out of season. Growing up in the country, cooking seasonally is something I find quite natural and easy to do, mainly because if it’s out of season, there’s a good chance you won’t find it at the store. However this week I’m throwing the rules out the window. My excuse is that technically this is in season because I’m currently living the European summer, having been in Ireland for the last few weeks. So with that in mind, I thought I’d share my oven-roasted cherry tomato sauce. It’s a good one to have up your sleeve whether it’s tomato season or not. Spread this one over a pizza dough base before adding toppings, or use it as a simple pasta sauce base. The possibilities are truly endless with this one.

The Inspiration

Last week I took a mini break (within a long break?!) off to Daylesford organic farm in the Cotswolds, where apart from a cracking day of baking bread in their cooking school (post on that one soon. Btw it was freakin awesome!), we trapesed around their organic market garden picking (and eating) different heirloom varieties of tomatoes, raspberries, loganberries, cucumbers and so much more directly off their vines. Total dreamy stuff apart from the juices running down my chin!

What you need to get started

  • cherry tomato stems removed. You could easily substitute larger varieties of tomatoes. Be sure to cut them in half or quarters depending on size.

  • garlic cloves left in their skins for roasting

  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme approximately 10cm stalks

  • half a brown onion. Skins removed and cut in half again.

  • extra virgin olive oil. You could also try substituting with canola, vegetable, or avocado oil.

  • dried chilli flakes. These are the ones I always have in my pantry.

  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Equipment you’ll need

A few kitchen essential is all you really need. A good roasting tray for roasting the cherry tomatoes in the oven and a frypan or saucepan for reducing the sauce on top of the stove. For blending, I use either a stick blender or blitz in under 30 seconds in my trusty Vitamix.

The details

  1. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celcius. In an ovenproof dish, place all tomatoes in a single layer. Cherry tomatoes can be left whole, however, larger tomatoes need to be cut in half.

  2. Add the cloves of garlic, onion and sprigs of fresh thyme. Drizzle with olive oil.

  3. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

  4. Remove tomatoes from the oven. Discard thyme sprigs and squeeze the garlic cloves to get the roasted garlic mush from inside. Discard outer garlic skins.

  5. Pop everything left on the baking tray into a blender and blitz until smooth to reveal a luscious tomato sauce.

  6. Pop the sauce into a saucepan. Add the chili flakes and sugar and give a good stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. this reduces any water in the sauce and concentrates the flavour.

  7. Season with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.


Variations

If I’m using the cherry tomato sauce for say, a tomato and basil pasta, I like to throw a basil leaf or two into the sauce at the blending stage. It gives the tomato sauce a whole new dimension.

Love chilli? While I always add a few chilli flakes for depth (not heat) to my sauce, if you’re a fan of taking the heat factor up, try adding a fresh chilli (or two)!

If your using the sauce as a roasted tomato pasta sauce, you can add a dollop or two of fresh cream to add some richness and creaminess to your final sauce. Be sure not to add if you are keeping the sauce for more than a day or so (in the fridge). Always add it when you a serving it up for eating immediately. When adding cream, add it as an additional final step in the recipe or when you are blending.

Can I pre-make and preserve it?

Hell yes! You know me, any excuse to pre-make and do a big batch for later use. This recipe makes enough sauce for pasta for four servings. Try double (or tripling) the recipe and freeze or bottle rest. In Summer when the tomato plants are full of produce, I do trays and trays of oven-roasted tomatoes for sauces and salads. I then freeze the portions of roasted tomato sauce in reusable zip lock bags. It’s so easy to just get one out of the freezer and pop it into a pan to reheat at a moment’s notice.

end of summer slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and thyme

How to use a roasted cherry tomato sauce

On top of your pizza dough base. It’s a good all-rounder for so many pizza toppings. You can find my pizza dough recipe here. It’s super easy and freezes well too, so make a double batch and keep half for another night’s dinner.

As the base for a pasta sauce. Use on its own with gnocchi and topped with lashings of Reggiano or try it with spinach and ricotta ravioli, a little pesto, and of course lots of Reggiano for a delicious quick and easy dinner.

While I generally always have canned cherry tomatoes in the pantry (I could never grow enough to feed us over Winter), it’s lovely to have some homemade tomato sauce laying around for those slow-cooked cold-weather stews. I swear nothing trumps homemade slow-roasted tomato sauce in your Beef and red wine ragu!

Love pasta? Here are a few more of my fave pasta recipes to try…

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hands holding a bowl of heirloom tomatoes of all different sizes.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: approx. 500ml
  • Category: Preserves
  • Method: slow-cook
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Easy oven-roasted cherry tomato sauce is a good one to have up your sleeve whether it’s tomato season or not. It makes the best pizza topping, addition to soups and stews, pasta sauce, or just cooking all-rounder. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 500g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 onion
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

 


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 100 degress celcius. In an ovenproof dish, place all tomatoes in a single layer. Cherry tomatoes can be left whole, however, larger tomatoes need to be cut in half.
  2. Add the cloves of garlic, onion and sprigs of fresh thyme. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  4. Remove tomatoes from the oven. Discard thyme sprigs and squeeze the garlic cloves to get the roasted garlic mush from inside. Discard outer garlic skins.
  5. Pop everything left on the baking tray into a blender and blitz until smooth to reveal a luscious tomato sauce.
  6. Pop the sauce into a saucepan. Add the chili flakes and sugar and give a good stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. this reduces any water in the sauce and concentrates the flavour.
  7. Season with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.

Keywords: Tomato, Preserving

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