We have given you a lot of tomato sauce recipes — we really, really love simple tomato sauces, whether they're made with fresh tomatoes or canned. But I want to revisit one more easy sauce (and we have an even simpler sauce for you coming tomorrow). Lately, my favorite way to make tomato sauce is in the oven. The flavor — oh, it's so much better!
A long, slow roast for your tomatoes lets their flavor slowly concentrate into a chunky sauce. This sauce fairly bursts with the flavors of summer; it's simple enough to let the tomatoes shine through. This recipe seemed like one of the best ways I could honor and enjoy homegrown, ugly yet delicious tomatoes, too.
This recipe is quite similar to Kathryn's slow-roasted tomato sauce from last year, but I dispense with the extra step of simmering it down, and I leave the sauce chunky. I love the chunks and the bits of skin in the sauce, but of course, if you want to smooth it out, you can run it through a mesh sieve or a food processor.
The butter, as some of you might know, is a nod to the brilliance of Marcella Hazan's simple, buttery tomato sauce. The fat in the butter helps to carry the tomatoes' flavor.
Roasted Tomato Sauce with Garlic
2 pounds fresh tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 350°F and line 9x13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. (Note: This step is optional, but it will make cleanup faster.) Spray the baking dish with baking spray, or rub lightly with olive oil.
Chop the tomatoes roughly but evenly. Spread them in the baking dish. Stir in the minced garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, and about 1 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cut the butter into small cubes and scatter evenly over the tomatoes.
Bake the tomatoes for 2 to 3 hours. This is very flexible; you can bake them until the tomatoes simple begin to break down and release their juices. Or you can continue baking until their edges blacken, and the juices are reduced significantly. I baked mine for about 3 hours, and that was perfect for my purposes.
(Images: Faith Durand)