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Never Enough

The memories that mark time seem to speed up as we age. Nine years ago in 2011, when our tomato production for market was at its height, we were faced with a dilemma; what do we do with all the imperfect tomatoes we could not sell at market? Val was sick of dividing them between our chickens and our compost pile. I remember her telling me, “Figure it out!” So figure it out I did and created our delicious roasted tomato sauce. This is one recipe that went into both of my cookbooks. I give it out dozens of times at market each season. In the winter, when you go into your pantry and open a quart of this luscious stuff, you smell the sun. I put up about 28 quarts of this per year, as there are uses galore.

Why do we literally swoon over this stuff? I have never tasted a commercial product that compares to it. I use six different heirloom varieties that have different colors and flavor profiles, lots of fresh garlic, olive oil and Maldon salt. The result is something not only delicious, but a sauce you will feel proud to serve your family and company. Every two hours I ladle out the liquid that is released from the tomatoes and can this as well; adding it to risottos and soups making it a win, win! You can either water bath can it for 15 minutes or freeze it for later use. Depending on the volume of tomatoes you roast will determine the length of you roasting time. You want a thick concentrated sauce as your end result.

There are things I have learned along the way about this sauce. When removing the liquid for later use, be sure you strain it through a small mesh colander to remove unwanted seeds. Also, many people don’t mind the rustic quality of the finished sauce. However, I choose to put it in my Vita-mix blender for a few minutes before heating or adding to your recipes. You will end up with a velvety sauce that has a stunning orange-red color which I find much more pleasing to the eye and the palate. You’re welcome!

BRICKYARD FARMS ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE:

INGREDIENTS:

  1. A minimum of 20-30 pounds of tomatoes (I recommend a half bushel), consider a mix of many different varieties. This will add depth to your sauce.

  2. 1-2 heads Brickyard Farms garlic, peeled and sliced

  3. 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (although I highly recommend Maldon)

  4. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. You will want to set up a “station” of sorts: sharp knife, cutting board, large stainless steel bowl, and your roasting pan.  This is when I say many hands make light work. Val and I can prep one 1/2 bushel in about 40 minutes.

  2. Next slice your tomato crosswise deep enough to eliminate the core in one step. Next hold trimmed tomato in your hand over the bowl and twist gently to remove some of the seeds.  No need to be perfect; the idea is to reduce some of the liquid. Next cut the tomato in half from top to bottom, then each half in quarters or sixths, depending on the size of your tomato.  Repeat this process until your roasting pan is heaping with tomatoes (don’t worry they will cook down considerably).

  3. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Sprinkle your garlic slices and salt over the tomatoes; pour olive oil over tomatoes. Stir gently to combine.

  4. Set your timer for one hour.  Remove roasting pan from oven and with a soup ladle, press down gently so that the juices fill you ladle.  Each time you have 4 cups, strain and fill a quart canning jar until full, leaving 1 inch head space. This juice is gold. I use it for risottos, soups, chili and stews; it’s filled with tomato and garlic flavors.  Return your roasting pan to the oven and set timer for another hour. Repeat. You will do this until the tomatoes have reduced and there is about a quart of juice left in the pan.  At this point it should be pretty thick. This should take roughly 3-4 hours (don’t be concerned if it takes a little longer).

  5. When your sauce in finished, fill quart canning jars leaving 1 inch head space. You now can choose to freeze the jars or water bath can them for 15 minutes.  When ready to use, either thaw frozen jars or open canned jars and place in a blender. Blend for about 2 minutes, or until all the skins and seeds are incorporated into the sauce.  Use in your favorite recipe.

Yields: 4-6 quarts sauce, 2-3 quarts stock

ROASTED TOMATO VODKA SAUCE:

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1 quart roasted tomato sauce

  2. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  3. 1 medium onion, sliced thin vertically

  4. 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  5. 1 teaspoon dried basil

  6. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  7. 1/4 cup vodka, (additional for sous chef)

  8. 1/2 cup heavy cream

  9. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  10. 8 ounces dried pasta of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place your quart of sauce in a blender and puree for about 2 minutes or until smooth.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain.

  3. Place olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

  4. Add garlic, basil and red pepper flakes, stir to combine and cook for additional 3 minutes.

  5. Add vodka and reduce by half.

  6. Add blended roasted tomato sauce and simmer until hot, about 4-5 minutes.

  7. Stir in heavy cream. Place drained pasta in decorative bowl. Top with sauce and toss gently to combine.

Serves 4

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“There ain’t nothing better in life than true love and a homegrown tomato!”

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