I refuse to believe it is back-to-school time already. Though back-to-school doesn’t mean much when your kids aren’t in school yet, the feeling is still there. It just got warm around here and we’re not done with beach and pool days. Tomatoes are at their best right now, so we decided to ditch the canned tomatoes and make a basic marinara with fresh tomatoes. A lot of fresh tomatoes. 15 pounds of mostly Roma tomatoes, with a few heirlooms just for fun.
Peeling these beauties is easy. After roasting tomato halves for 10 minutes, skins slip right off.
Now comes the fun part. Squash them up! You could of course chop them, but this is the traditional Italian way. And a lot more fun. The crushed tomatoes are then simmered with garlic, onion, wine, and fresh basil for a couple of hours.
We decided to make this batch of marinara our first tomato sauce canning experience. I have to admit, I think canning is not my thing. Canning tomatoes and tomato sauces is a bit more complicated than jams or pickles, as there has to be the correct amount of acidity to be safe to preserve. My usual cooking method involves tossing in whatever I like, and when preparing marinara for canning, adding anything extra lowers the pH, making it unsafe to store. The USDA says that marinara should only be canned in pressure canners to prevent botulism, so I ended up putting my water bath canned jars in the freezer. If you are not planning to can your sauce, have fun and play with the recipe as you please! I like to simmer this sauce with a small can of tomato paste, a bit of Parmesan rind, a handful of fresh parsley, and finish it with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
This is a great basic marinara to have on hand, and I’ll be glad to have extra in the freezer the next time I’m making spaghetti or lasagna. If you’re freezing in canning jars, just be sure to leave at least 1″ for expansion.
Makes 3 quarts (cut this recipe in half if you don’t want a huge amount)
15 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 yellow onions 8 cloves garlic 2 cups dry white wine 1 large bunch fresh basil Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place tomatoes cut-side-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Roast for 10 minutes. Cool and peel the skins off and discard. Place peeled tomatoes in a large bowl. Crush with clean hands, or chop tomatoes. Discard any tough stems.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add white wine and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat until reduced by one third to one half, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend with an immersion blender if you would like a less chunky sauce.
*A note on freezing – you can freeze sauce in a freezer-safe storage container with a lid, or in a mason jar like I did. Be sure to to bring your sauce to room temperature before freezing, and leave at least 1-inch of room from the top of the jar to allow the sauce to expand without the jar exploding.
I'm so glad you're here! I'm a busy mama to two sweet girls and a bunch of funny animals. I'm passionate about sharing the beauty of real food through plant based recipes. I hope you find many easy, nourishing, delicious recipes your family will love.