Yesterday 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.)
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)
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
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.
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 Cooking