Susie Bright’s Ridiculously Easy, Amazingly Delicious Roasted Tomato Sauce


tomatoes and peppers

It’s tomato season, which means I’m making big batches of Susie Bright’s roasted tomato sauce. This recipe is amazingly delicious and ridiculously easy (about 10-15 minutes of prep depending on how much you’re making, plus blending at the end). And it freezes really well, so whenever it’s tomato season, we make giant batches of it and freeze it in Tupperwares for the winter. You know that children’s book, Frederic, about the mouse who sits around in the summer gathering words and colors and sun rays to store up for the winter? That’s what making this sauce feels like. When winter comes, and it’s been gray and cold and wet and dark for days on end, we stick some of this sauce in the microwave and put it on pasta, and it feels like pulling a bit of stored summer out of the freezer. And when we’re making it, it fills the house with this ambrosial tomato perfume. We mostly make this to freeze for the winter, but we can never resist eating some of it right away, warm out of the oven.

I want Susie to get the traffic, so I’m not going to repeat the basic recipe here — you have to go to her blog to get it. But I have a few modifications and finer points, and those I’ll tell you about.

tomatoes peppers and onions cut up in pan

1: For our purposes, I’ve found that dry-farmed tomatoes work better than heirlooms. I’m not so much into the “tomato liquor” thing that Susie waxes eloquent about. I just want tomato sauce. And I’ve found that when I use heirlooms, the sauce turns out on the watery liquidy side. Dry-farmed tomatoes are more solid and less watery than heirlooms, and for our purposes, the final texture of the sauce works out perfectly. But if you do want tomato liquor, by all means, use heirlooms: you can siphon off some of the tomato liquor, and blend the rest into sauce. (If you do use heirlooms, make sure all the tomatoes and peppers are roughly the same color — we made this sauce one year with a mix of colored heirlooms, and while it tasted ambrosial, it looked kind of brackish.)

2: I don’t bother putting the cut-up tomatoes and peppers and whatnot in a Ziploc bag. I just put them straight into the roasting pan. I put the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and whatnot into the pan with them, and just stir them up until everything’s coated. (More accurately, I moosh it around with my hands until everything’s coated.)

3: I haven’t been able to find this balsamic glaze stuff Susie talks about. I could order it online, but I never remember to do that until it’s actually time to make the sauce. So I just use balsamic vinegar and add a little honey.

4: We always use onions, but there’s a trick to using them: Don’t cut them up into anything smaller than quarters, and don’t let the quarters fall apart too much. I made this one time with the onion layers all broken up, and they didn’t roast, so much as they dried out and shriveled.

5: There’s a trick to using the hand blender/ stick blender/ immersion blender so it doesn’t spatter all over hell and gone (or at least, so it doesn’t spatter so much). Don’t turn the blender on and then put it into the goop. Immerse the blender head fully into the goop, and then turn it on. Like Susie says, you can use a food processor or regular blender: for me, though, one of the joys of this recipe is how simple it is to make, and using the hand blender to blend it right in the pan aids in that simplicity. Also, the hand blender gives me more control over how blendy it gets: we like this sauce pretty rustic and not too pureed, and using the hand blender means we don’t have to keep blending the whole batch if there’s just one little stubborn bit of onion or basil we want to grind up. But if you don’t have a hand blender, or don’t want to deal with the spattering, a food processor or regular blender would probably be fine.

6: If you have room in your freezer, make WAAAAAAAY more of this than you think you’ll need. We have a big roasting pan, so I double Susie’s recipe — and then I do a second batch. It is still never quite enough to get us through the winter. If we had a big enough freezer, we would eat this once a week at least. It’s just that good. Enjoy!



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Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    Instead of freezing this sauce I’d pressure can it. Of course you need mason jars and a pressure canner to do this but canned sauces last basically indefinitely. I’ve got canned mango chutney that’s two years old that’s better now than when I made it.

  2. Greta Christina says

    Balsamic glaze is generally just balsalmic vinegar reduced until it’s thick!

    keelychaisson @ #1: Yes, but making our own balsamic vinegar reduction would undermine the whole “ridiculously easy” part of this recipe. :-)

  3. says

    Surprisingly, making balsamic glaze is pretty easy.

    Add a little honey or sugar or balsamic vinegar. Heat in a skillet while stirring, until thick.
    It makes the house smell pretty strong. You can find Balsamic glaze in Italian Bottegas usually. They have some PC brands as well in some grocery stores. If you use it when making dressings, it takes away a little of the acidity and adds a creamy quality that is just lovely.

    My favourite creamy greek dressing recipe, is one of my own creation.

    1/2 an Avocado
    pinch of salt
    1 clove of garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp of lemon juice
    1/2 – 1 tbsp of balsamic glaze.

    mash everything but the glaze together until mostly smooth. Stir in the glaze and serve.

  4. MissEla says

    Another tip for the immersion blender: When you put the head into the tomato mixture, turn the head to “burp” the air out before turning it on. That helps get rid of the initial “kick” of stuff upwards.

    /Lessons learned from soapmaking.

  5. says

    I tried the recipe friday, and had to evacuate my house because it smelled so good I was walking around with strings of drool hanging down my chin.

    I added an onion and a dried chipotle pepper and, when I blended it, a cup of Marsala wine. Conclusion: easy and delicious!

  6. Pieter B, FCD says

    I toss in a cinnamon stick when making my balsamic glaze. No honey or sugar, though, as the balsamico is sweet enough by itself. Takes 20-30 minutes, and you can get a condiment squeeze-bottle at the Smart & Final.

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