Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's How to Use Garden Tomatoes Week: Roasted Tomato, Italian Sausage, and Basil Sauce for Pasts

Roasted Tomato, Italian Sausage,and Basil SauceYesterday for How to Use Garden Tomatoes Week, I revisited my time-honored recipe for Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce and then confessed I'd been experimenting a bit with a different tomato sauce recipe this year. I blame it all on Christa from Calendula and Concrete. As soon as I saw her post about the tomato sauce she calls Liquid Summer Sun, and read how she roasted the tomatoes before she made the sauce, I smacked myself in the forehead and said "duh." Nothing concentrates tomato flavor like roasting does, so sauce made from roasted tomatoes would have to be good. Once I'd committed to that step, there was no turning back. Christa used a food mill, so of course, I had to have one.

Was the sauce good enough to be worth the extra effort of roasting the tomatoes and putting them through the food mill, compared to a sauce made with partly canned tomatoes? Absolutely it was; this was without doubt the best sausage and basil sauce I ever made. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with yesterday's Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce, and if you don't have a food mill or you're short on fresh tomatoes, you should just happily make that sauce and eat it all up. But if you'd like to try my new, kicked-up sauce with roasted tomatoes, sausage, and basil, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted right here at Kalyn's Kitchen this week. Of course, my herb is basil, which I've already written about many other times.  Now here's how to make the Roasted Tomato, Sausage, and Basil Sauce of your dreams.

Start with the freshest, vine-ripened Roma tomatoes you can find to make this sauce. I had a whole kitchen sink full of tomatoes the day I tested this recipe!

Cut tomatoes in half, then toss with olive oil, basil, oregano, marjoram, and ground fennel. (You can use any herbs you like, but I used the same herb mixture I love on Slow Roasted Tomatoes.)

Roast the tomatoes with a generous handful of garlic cloves. I roasted my tomatoes at 350 F for about 90 minutes.

Remove tomatoes from the oven, then pulse about 2 cups at a time very briefly in the food processor before putting them through the food mill. (At first I didn't do that, but I found it released a lot more juice if the tomatoes were broken up a little before they went in the food mill.)
Put tomatoes through food mill, with a pan underneath to catch all the liquid sunshine that comes through. (Don't you love my new food mill?)

While you're processing tomatoes, heat frying pan with a small amount of olive oil, then squeeze Italian sausage out of the links and brown well. I used hot turkey Italian Sausage to keep it South Beach Diet friendly.

When sausage is brown, add tomato juice and start to simmer on low. I added just a bit of dried basil and ground fennel seed to this mixture.

Simmer 2-4 hours, until sauce has thickened and concentrated. Stir in finely chopped basil the last five minutes of cooking time.

Roasted Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage and Basil
(Makes about 4 cups of thick sauce, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce and Liquid Summer Sun from Calendula and Concrete.)

Equipment needed:
2 large cookie sheets for roasting tomatoes
food processor (I use a Cuisinart DLC-10 )
food mill (this is the type of food mill that I bought)

Roasted Tomatoes Ingredients:
40-50 vine-ripened Roma tomatoes

To season tomatoes before roasting:
2 T olive oil
2 T ground fennel
4 T dried basil
2 T dried oregano
2 T dried marjoram
about 1 cup peeled garlic cloves
(You can use any combination of herbs you like, but don't skip the fennel)

Sauce Ingredients:
1 pkg. (5 links) hot Turkey Italian Sausage
additional olive oil
2 tsp. ground fennel
2 tsp. dried basil
1 T chopped fresh garlic (optional, I did not add more garlic)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash tomatoes, then cut each in half lengthwise. Toss tomatoes in olive oil, ground fennel, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried marjoram. Put tomatoes on two cookie sheets, cut side down, and scatter half of garlic cloves among tomatoes on each sheet. Roast tomatoes about 90 minutes, until skins are starting to shrivel but tomatoes are still quite plump looking. Remove tomatoes from oven and let cool slightly.

When tomatoes are nearly done, heat a small amount of olive oil in large frying pan (big enough to hold all the sauce.) Squeeze turkey sausage out of casing, break apart well, and saute until well browned.

Put food mill over a large sauce pot and fit with disc with smallest size holes, then place next to food processor on the counter so tomatoes can be easily transferred from food processor to food mill. Using a food processor with a steel blade, add about 2-3 cups of tomatoes at a time and pulse about 15 seconds, just long enough to slightly break up tomatoes. Then transfer tomatoes to food mill and turn handle until all juice has been released from tomatoes and only skin, dry pulp, and crushed garlic remains. (Discard skin, pulp, and garlic cloves, then repeat until all tomatoes have been processed.)

Add tomato juice mixture to browned Italian sausage, scraping the bottom to get all the browned bits of sausage. Add ground fennel and dried basil and additional garlic if desired, then simmer sauce at very low heat for 2-4 hours. Stir frequently, and scrape sides of pan each time. Simmer until sauce is reduced by at least half, or more, depending on how thick you prefer your sauce.

When sauce is nearly thick enough, wash fresh basil and spin or shake dry, then chop finely with chef's knife. Add chopped basil to sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Sauce can be refrigerated for about a week or frozen for months if placed in tightly sealed containers. To use, reheat gently on stovetop, and serve hot over pasta shape of your choice.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Tomato sauce like this is great for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet as long as you are sure to use Dreamfield's Pasta or other whole grain or low-carb pasta.

More Pasta Sauce with Roasted Tomatoes:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Roasted Tomato Sauce from Too Many Chefs
Roasted Tomato Sauce from Champaign Taste
Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce from Smitten Kitchen
Roasted Tomato Sausage Pasta from Stephen Cooks
Pasta in Roasted Asparagus Tomato Caper Sauce from Karina's Kitchen
Roasted Tomato Pasta from Closet Cookingcounter customizable free hit

14 comments:

Kelly Mahoney said...

Mmmm, more sauces. I bet the roasting adds a whole other level of flavor though.

Karina Allrich said...

Kalyn - Your sauce looks divine. I don't have a food mill, so I would probably just do it all in the Cuisinart (I've done this before, with my quickie sauces). Thank you for posting such a beautiful recipe - and thanks, also, for the link!

You're a peach! :)

katiez said...

Your new food mill is very pretty - almost as pretty as the sauce. That really has my mouth watering... I suppose it's meant to go on something but I could eat it right out of the pan!

Kevin said...

Another great looking tomato sauce! Roasted tomato sauces are one of may favorites.

Anh said...

Kalyn, what a fantastic recipe! You know I love tomatoes, so I cant wait to try this out.

Also, I have added a note explaining what verjuice is. Basically, it's the juice from unripe grapes. It has a sourness flavours, which is lighter than most vinegar. Really good for poaching and making salad. You should try it! :)

Christa said...

Kalyn,
Don't you just love the food mill?
Glad to hear you tried out my recipe. Your version looks fantastic. I want to try the sauce now with ground fennel in it. And sausage, too!

One tip is that I usually cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces before roasting them. That makes it easier to go right from the oven to the food mill, without the food- processing step.

Cheers!

Kalyn said...

Kelly, this sauce was amazing.

Karina, that would work too. I love the food mill though! (Of course you know me, I love kitchen gadgets.)

Katie, I'm thinking of other things besides pasta I could eat it on alredy, but it would be fantastic on pasta too. Or plain!

Kevin, me too!

Anh, thanks. I'll have to look for it. Sounds interesting.

Christa, great idea. I'll try that next time (which will be tomorrow, since I have another big batch of tomatoes that I picked yesterday!)

Maria said...

What great photos!! It looks like the food mill process was well worth it!! The sauce looks great!

Karen said...

Kalyn...I made this sauce yesterday. It was amazing - I could probably have drunk the juice straight out of the food mill. I never thought I liked fennel and hesitated a bit before using it on the tomatoes. But I'm glad I listened to you!!! The smell while everything was roasting in the oven was delicious.

I did make a change to the garlic...I just sliced the top off of a head of garlic, drizzled with olive oil and wrapped it in foil. After it came out of the oven, I squeezed the soft, mushy garlic in with the tomatoes.

Kalyn said...

Karen, so glad you liked it. I think the fennel is really a great addition!

Carl said...

Kalyn,

I made this recipe the other
day and it was amazing! I used
a portion of it for 3 guests
and myself. The rest I froze
and I can't want to tap into
it some cold winter night.

A couple of questions:

1. Above it say it makes 4 cups
of sauce. I used about 30 tomatoes
and it made much more than 4 cups
of sauce. Is this a mistake?

2. The seasoning combination
before roasting calls for only
2 Tbls of olive oil to be combined
with 10 Tbls of herbs. Is this
correct?

3. When I was tossing my halved tomatoes
with the seasoning, I was having a problem
with too much seasoning clinging to the
non-skin side. I guess it all came out
fine, but I was curious if you had any
comments on that.

4. I did not have a food mill, so I had
to de-seed and skin all the tomatoes by
hand. A long process and I am sure I lost
a lot of good tomato bits in the process.
I then put the tomatoes along with about
8 of the roasted garlics into a food processor
before I started the long cooking process.
I did not want to put all the garlic in
because I thought it might be too powerful.
However, I felt bad that I was wasting
a lot of great roasted garlic. I am guessing
that the mill would have solved this
problem.

5. In the last step, I omitted the dry
herbs since I was using less tomatoes
that the recipe called for.

Carl

Kalyn said...

Hi Carl, questions like this are why I have notebooks where I write down every recipe when I test it, but this is also the type of recipe that can be made to taste, and I like a lot of herb flavor in a sauce like this. So yes, I did use those large amounts of herbs, but that was for the 40-50 tomatoes the recipe specifies (two big trays of roasted tomatoes.) You only need a tiny bit of olive oil to make the herbs stick. I don't think seasoning sticking to the non-skin side is a problem.

Did you reduce the sauce 2-4 hours like the recipe says? I cooked this down to a very thick sauce (since you can always add water when you use it, and I'm always short on freezer space!) I was using romas from my garden which might also be smaller than ones from the market. Other than that, I don't know why your sauce made a lot more, but if you like the flavor if it, doesn't seem like a problem.

I would probably use all the garlic, but I like strong flavors. Glad you liked the recipe.

Mike Miller said...

Kalyn, I love your site. I have spent way to much time looking at all you have on it!
For this sauce, do you have to use Romas? I guess I would like to use a combination of tomatoes. I have never roasted tomatoes before. Thanks for your help.

Kalyn Denny said...

Hi Mike. Glad you're enjoying the sauce. Roma tomatoes are more meaty (less watery) than other tomatoes so if you use a mix you might need a few more tomatoes and/or have to cook it down longer, but I'm sure it will still be good!

Blogging tips