Our Hilltop Garden in Ely Minnesota is producing a copious amount of tomatoes. We started Early Girl and Roma Tomato seeds back in our St Paul house in March and planted them here in our Zone 3 garden on Memorial Day. It took a while but finally, the Tomatoes starting producing in mid-August and produce they have! I have had 4 bags full of tomatoes to date. I have made 4 sheets of oven-dried tomatoes (see recipe below) and with the remainder, I have been making and freezing an adapted recipe of Marcella Hazan’s famous butter tomato sauce.
This sauce is the perfect sauce for garden tomatoes. The flavor is neutral enough to really let the tomatoes shine. You can cook it briefly and serve over noodles or you can cook it longer intensifying the flavors. At any point you can add herbs, meatballs or additional vegetables or ground meat for various flavor profiles. I like to blend the sauce with a hand blender and usually add a small jar of tomato paste to deepen the color.
I freeze my sauce in pint or quart jars (leave an inch of headroom for freezer expansion) but you can also freeze it laying flat in Ziploc Bags.
If the copious amount of tomatoes gets you down – throw them whole in the freezer and make this sauce later when you have more energy or are running low. All you need to do is thaw them and throw them in a pot.
Tomato Butter Sauce Recipe
- medium onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- fresh, ripe tomatoes
- I can of tomato paste (optional for color or to add thickness)
- Salt to taste
- Blend the sauce with an immersion blender to break up any large chunks and incorporate the butter and the onions.
- Reserve and store sauce
Oven-Dried Roma Tomatoes Recipe
Long before I had my own garden I would buy bushels of Roma tomatoes at the local farmers market. I loved making roasted Roma tomatoes low and slow in an oven and finishing them off with some chopped garlic, fresh thyme leaves and olive oil. I would freeze this mixture to add to bowls of pasta or risotto during the long Minnesota winters. When I started gardening myself, I knew Romas would be a must-have in my garden for this reason. Romas are easy to grow, have plentiful fruit, and freeze beautifully so you can have that hint of summer taste long into the fall and winter.
- 12-24 Roma tomatoes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 200 degree
- Slice tomatoes in half. Arrange cut side up on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle very lightly with sea salt.
- Bake for 6 hours.
- Store in plastic bags in the freezer or put in a mason jar in the refrigerator covered in oil.
Ways To Use Roasted Roma Tomatoes
- Toss with pasta.
- Add to risotto.
- Serve on top of a wheel of brie with the top cut off. Add 1/4 olive oil, garlic, and fresh thyme to 12-15 tomatoes and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Pour this mixture on the top of the brie.
- Add to salads with feta and black olives.
Check out all my recipes here.