How to make roast tomato sauce
Knock up a batch of intensely flavoursome homemade roasted tomato sauce and use it to produce a variety of dishes.
Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of many vegetables and fruits, and one that benefits enormously from this process is ripe tomatoes. Use this sauce on pasta, pizzas, with roasted fish, diluted with stock or as a soup…the possibilities are endless!
Tips for success
- If you prefer a more refined sauce, use a stick blender or a food processor to whizz the cooked tomatoes until smooth.
- Give the sauce a Middle Eastern flavour by adding a broken cinnamon stick to the tomatoes before cooking and replacing the basil with fresh coriander.
- When choosing, look for firmish, fragrant tomatoes with an intense colour. Tomatoes still attached to the vine often have a sweeter flavour. Roast a mixture of cherry, medium, plum and vine to give a great flavoured sauce.
Makes about 500ml (serves 6 with pasta)
Hands-on time 15 minutes, oven time 1 hour
Freeze: Divide the cooked, cooled sauce between freezer bags. Seal, label with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before using, or you can heat gently in a pan until bubbling, if you’re short of time.
- 1kg ripe medium tomatoes, halved
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato puré
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/ gas 5. Spread the tomatoes out, cut-side-up, in a large roasting tin. You may need to use 2 tins if they won’t fit in a single layer. Press the chopped garlic pieces into the tomato flesh to submerge slightly, sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper and dot with sun-dried tomato purée. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 1 hour, until soft and slightly charred in places.
- Scatter with the basil leaves, crushing the tomatoes down with a fork as you do to form a sauce. Cool and keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze (see top tips, above).
- For a more intense and sweeter flavour, prepare the tomatoes for the basic sauce, then roast for 2½ hours at 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2 until reduced and concentrated. Cool. Store in a jar, covered with olive oil, in the fridge for up to 7 days. Use in salads or on bruschetta.
Roasted garlic is much milder and sweeter than raw garlic.
- Cut in half horizontally, drizzle with olive oil and wrap loosely in foil with a sprig of thyme. Roast at 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 for 30 minutes, until soft.
- Squeeze the garlic out of its skin to use it. Stir into the roasted tomato sauce or add to a creamy béchamel to use for lasagne.
Once you’ve mastered this recipe you can use it to make a variety of different dishes including: