swimming in sauce

 During the heart of tomato season last year, I experimented with a lot of different options. Put them in a Tomato Corn Galette, served them under some roasted pesto crusted cod, in a tomato pancetta quiche, as an easy simple summer sauce, or just plain ole roasted on some naan "pizza". It was pretty great to push myself a little to try different things. 

This year? sauce. sauce. and more sauce.

To be specific, I think I've made 5 different batches... and I think I've finally stumbled upon the best option. It also happens to be the easiest.
- Batch 1: This variety from last year - mainly tomatoes, onion and garlic.
- Batch 2: Added in peppers
- Batch 3: Roasted tomatoes and garlic 
- Batch 4: Roasted tomatoes, garlic, and sprinkles of marjoram
- Batch 5: Roasted tomatoes, garlic, and onion

I feel a little bit like a fool for not getting into canning in previous years - if for nothing else than to reduce food waste from the garden. I can't even imagine how many tomatoes turned into compost (or chicken food) in the past few years.... and now will be sauce for the winter months. I'm pretty pumped about it.

Next year I might work on canning whole tomatoes - or diced? I use a lot of diced tomatoes for some of my favorites (brown butter tomato soup, crispy polenta cakes, etc).
Here is how it goes:
(Step 1) Preheat your oven to 350 F
(Step 2) Get a big casserole dish and drizzle some olive oil on the bottom.
(Step 3) Half and quarter your tomatoes and toss them into the dish. If you want to core them ... you can. I did for Batch 3 and the sauce was super thick. This isn't a bad thing - but it is also much easier to put everything in the dish. You can control the thickness of the sauce by how long you roast the tomatoes and how much you let the juice reduce.
(Step 4) Toss your whole garlic cloves into the mix along with a heavy sprinkling of salt, sugar, pepper, and marjoram.
(Step 5) Put it in the oven for 2 hours. Every now and then mix the tomatoes up a bit to make sure everyone gets some love.
(Step 6) Once your tomatoes are all roasted and you have the level of reduction you want, puree the mixture in a blender in batches.

That's it! You can either eat it immediately, freeze it, or can it. 

Since I'm not a canning expert, I'd advise you to googled elsewhere for the best directions ... but it is so much easier than I ever expected. I always thought you needed a big ole pot and several different tools. You don't! I got by using my tall stockpot (similar) and this insert I bought on Amazon. I'd also recommend buying one of the little tool kits ($10). While you only absolutely need the funnel, I also found the jar grabber helpful.

Picture Notes:
Top - working with my dad in the garden :)
1 - Coring and chopping the tomatoes in batch 3
2 - Batch 4 is ready for the oven
3 - Batch 4 is out of the oven
4 - The result of batch 3 :)

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