Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Herbs
Roasted Tomato Sauce is one of those simple, unassuming sauces that doesn't look like much but then knocks you over with how absolutely delicious it is, adding a crazy amount of flavor to everything it touches. This is my favorite thing to do with all those fabulous summer tomatoes.
Roasted tomato sauce is my absolute FAVORITE thing to make in the summer. Which is quite a claim, when you think about it. And one I might go back on when I'm making a pot of summer corn chowder or pico de gallo or peach preserves.
But, right now, with the very sauce you see here in my refrigerator as we speak, just waiting to be spread over toast for Sausage and Provolone Sandwiches or stirred into Spaghetti Puttanesca, it is all I want in the world.
There is a relatively short window of time in Colorado when tomatoes are at their peak. Most fruits and vegetables are best when they're in season and grown locally. That's just how it is. The best pineapple I've ever had in my life was in Costa Rica. You know, where they grow it.
Even still, I am supremely grateful for our ability to fly in produce from all over the world, especially in the dead of winter when pretty much nothing is "in season" in Colorado. And, to a large extent, I think much of the produce that's flown in rather than grown here is delicious.
Except tomatoes. I don't know why, but tomatoes are really only good when they are fresh and in season.
Come February, it doesn't seem to matter how bright red and inviting they look. Succumb to their charms and you will be sorely disappointed when you cut into one and discover that it has almost no flavor.
But, in the summer, when tomatoes are in their prime, there's nothing better. A plate of sliced tomatoes with a bit of salt and pepper is all I need in the world when they are at their peak. That's not true. I also want this sauce. Gallons and gallons of it.
Lucky for me, roasted tomato sauce is super easy to make. Sometimes I even get ambitious enough to make extra, freezing or canning it for those loooooong winter months when fresh tomatoes are not an option.
Useful Tools for Making Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
The entire process for making Roasted Tomato Sauce is pretty straightforward, but it does help to have a couple of tools. The first thing you absolutely need is a sheet pan with rimmed edges. I have several of these large sheet pans from Nordic Ware and use them year round for roasted vegetables, sheet pan chicken dinners, and even brownies.
The important thing with the sheet pan you use is that it absolutely MUST have rimmed edges. If you use a flat edge pan, tomato juice will run out all over your oven while the tomatoes roast. This is not a great situation and should be avoided. 😁
The second tool that's super useful to have is a food mill. It's not 100% necessary to have a food mill (see the note at the bottom of the recipe for making roasted tomato sauce without a food mill), it just makes the process easier.
Also - bonus! - if you can make delicious no-peel apple butter with your food mill when tomatoes are no longer in season ☹️ but apples are 😊.
The Tomatoes! Does it matter what kind of tomatoes you use?
Nope! As long as you're starting with fresh, flavorful, ripe tomatoes, you're golden. I've made roasted tomato sauce with all different kind of tomatoes, even grape tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes from a friend's garden.
This sauce is one of those things you can't really mess up as long as you start with great ingredients. Good, ripe tomatoes of any variety will make delicious roasted tomato sauce. End of story.
My favorite things to do with Roasted Tomato Sauce!
My all time favorite thing to do with Roasted Tomato Sauce is also the simplest: Toast a thick slice of crusty bread and spread it while it's still warm with a generous amount of sauce. Sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt. That's it. Takes about 5 minutes and is SO DELICIOUS.
You can take this a step further by melting some mozzarella cheese on top. Or adding some diced or smashed avocado. Or build a whole sandwich, topping the roasted tomato sauce covered toast with any and every ingredient that sounds good to you.
More ideas: Toss Roasted Tomato Sauce with pasta or gnocchi, drizzle over roasted or grilled veggies, or spoon over roasted or grilled chicken. You can also whip up a quick tomato vinaigrette, which will take your salad game to a whole different level.
Recipes that use Roasted Tomato Sauce:
- Sausage and Provolone Sandwiches
- Spaghetti Puttanesca
- Baked Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Risotto
Used in this recipe:
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.Print
Roasted Tomato Sauce is one of those simple sauces that knocks you over with how delicious it is, adding a crazy amount of flavor to everything it touches.
- 8 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 26 cloves of garlic - do NOT peel
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash tomatoes and remove their stems. Cut each tomato in half and lay them cut side up on a large rimmed baking sheet. Scatter the garlic cloves over and around the tomatoes (do NOT peel the garlic).
- Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle the thyme leaves, crushed red pepper, and sugar over the tomatoes and garlic, then sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 60-90 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to caramelize on top. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan.
- Working in batches, scoop the tomatoes into a food mill that's been fitted with the large hole strainer plate and set over a large bowl. Strain the tomatoes through the food mill, allowing the sauce to accumulate in the bowl and the tomato skins and core to collect in the food mill. Discard the skins and core.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves into the sauce - the garlic will squeeze right out of the skins. Discard garlic skins. Use the back of a spoon to mash the garlic on the sides of the bowl and stir it into the sauce.
- Store tomato sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months.
- To make Roasted Tomato Sauce without a food mill: After roasting, peel the skins from the tomatoes and discard. Scoop the peeled tomatoes into a bowl, and use a potato masher (or your hands) to mash the tomatoes. Push the mixture through a colander with large holes (not a fine mesh strainer) into a bowl.
Keywords: tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, pasta, Italian tomato sauce, summer tomato recipe