December 25, 2009, Newsletter Issue #265: Baked Tomato Sauce

Tip of the Week

When October arrives I always crave a heaping bowl of pasta, never fails. What makes a good pasta dish? Simply put, the tomato sauce, or gravy if you’re from my area of New Jersey. The recipe is a keeper and is from Alton Brown. Although, the first time I was unsuccessful, due mostly to the fact I was multitasking; I was doing laundry, studying, assisting my daughter with her homework and cooking. I suggest not multitasking, even though after prepping the recipe it seems you could very easily do so. Very well, maybe you could multitask, but keep an eye on the tomatoes, because if you don’t, they’ll burn.        
Tomato Sauce

20 Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded (if you like the seeds then leave them in, I like the seeds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup finely diced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves (dried works very well too, because of the extended cooking time)
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
1 cup white wine (I could without the wine, I leave it out)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. (I recommend 300 degrees F, if you have a finicky electric oven like the one I use, it seems to like heat way too much)
In 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans place tomato halves cut side up. Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs (sprinkle the salt on first and allow a few minutes to draw out the liquids; then add the pepper; followed by a mixture of the oil and herbs, mix the herbs with the oil so they don’t burn; lastly, top with the onion and garlic). Bake tomatoes for 2 hours (I only bake them for one hour as it really depends on the oven). Check the tomatoes after 1 hour and turn down the heat if they seem to be cooking too quickly (warning: you’re going to really want to pay attention to this step). Then turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and process tomatoes through a food mill on medium dye setting over a small saucepan (if you don’t have a food mill, like me, you can use a food processor to puree the tomatoes – skins and all). Discard skins. Add white wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Buon Appetito!

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