I know….it’s my third tomato post, but what in the world is August for if not tomatoes? When I returned home from market on Friday and unloaded the van, I went into the barn to find every available surface covered with tomatoes. I went about pulling and packing for the following market day. We have a large garbage can for the fruit that has ‘gone south’ and can’t be used. This gets divided between our chickens and our compost pile. The tomatoes that are merely bruised or damaged in some way I put to the side to roast in slices and freeze. By the time I was finished sorting for Saturday, I had a whole tub of heirlooms. I realized that these would take way too much time to roast in slices. I needed to do something different. I was staring at the vibrant colors of Caspian Pinks, Cherokee Purples, Marmondes and Mr. Stripeys, when an idea hit me. What would happen if I roasted them all at once?
On Sunday I brought them all into the kitchen. I got out my roasting pan and decided it would hold at least half of them at one time. I then proceeded to cut out the spots, imperfections and bruises, then cut them up in manageable pieces. This when pretty fast and I had the whole roasting pan filled in about half an hour. I set the oven at 325, drizzled them with olive oil, then sprinkled them with salt. In they went. I set the timer for 30 minutes and went on to cleaning herbs I had picked that morning to put in our food dehydrator. When the timer went off I opened the oven to give it a stir, and noticed that there was way too much liquid in the pan. I decided to pull off a whole 2 cups of liquid with a ladle. This would reduce the total roasting time, then set the timer again for one hour.
I was smelling something wonderful about 45 minutes later. This time when the timer went off and I gave it a stir, it was starting to take shape. I figured one hour more and I would have our sauce. Sure enough, one hour later and voila we had a beautiful sauce. Val and our neighbor Lynne had come in just as I was pulling it out of the oven. I had originally thought I would can a few quarts of it for winter, when we all decided what we really should be doing is having it for dinner! I decided to turn it into a Roasted Heirloom Vodka Sauce. Why not?
Roasted Heirloom Vodka Sauce:
- 5-8 lbs of roasted heirloom tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced vertically
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 oz dried pasta of your choice
- After roasting your heirloom tomatoes, take half of the mixture and puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- In a large sauce pan, saute onion in about 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat until soft and translucent. Add garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes; continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
- Add vodka and reduce by half.
- Add reserved roasted tomatoes and pureed tomatoes. Heat thoroughly.
- Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Drain pasta and place in pasta bowl.
- Top with sauce, then toss to combine.
You will find many uses for roasting tomatoes in quantity. The sauce can be canned or frozen for future use. What a great way to chase away those cabin fever blues this winter.
“It is difficult to think of anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” —Julia Child