Some people have the number of vegetables, the counter space, and the time to do full on canned marinara. I have never been one of those people, but that does’t mean I let extra tomatoes go to waste. This sauce is easy to make in small batches (and includes a number of shortcuts like leaving the skins on and not fretting about the tomato seeds), freezes in a bag for single serving use, AND can make use of any water-heavy vegetable you have on hand. Basically it’s awesome and versitile and you can use it now or later and that’s why we love it. But you have to forgive the lack of measured amounts. It is mostly based on how much there is, how much you want, and preferred taste. Deep breath, and go with it. You will be so glad you did when you are thawing it out in January
- Tomatoes (big and cherries, any size, core and slice the big ones in half and squish out as much of the seeds as you can, keep the cherries whole)
- Peppers, seeded and diced
- Onion, skinned and chopped
- Basil leaves
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt (pinch or so)
- Any other mild water-heavy veg like eggplant, squash, zucchini. We’ve even done carrots which adds a great fire, but makes it much thicker than traditional marinara. Just chop them up, peeling if you aren’t into their peels. I especially encourage peeling eggplant.
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Other fresh Italiany herbs as desired
- Sugar, if you like it sweet (no more than a tablespoon)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss all the veggies MINUS the basil and herbs into a 9 x 13 baking dish, or a couple if you are using a lot, and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic, and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Put the pan(s) in the oven for 30-45 minutes, at least making sure the tomato skins have burst. The longer you cook, the more fragrant, richer, and thicker it will become, but you’ll have to stir a bit more frequently to keep everything just roasted and not charred. Dump the whole roasted mess into a food processor or blender and add the basil leaves (sugar and other fresh herbs if you are so inclued), puree until thouroughly mixed, and either use right away or pour into freezer storage containers to enjoy anytime. If you think it isn’t thick enough, you can always strain out the juice before pureeing and then add it back in incrimentally until you get the desired thickness. Or you can add a can of tomato paste.