Tag Archives: roasted tomato sauce

Roasted sauce with short ribs

27 Sep

I’ve been cooking fresh tomato sauce for weeks now and so there’s plenty in the freezer to last me (and the usual suspects; you know who you are) through the year. Recipe? Fuhgeddaboudit. I wing it every time, which means that every batch of sauce, 10 or so in all this summer, has been different. The last couple batches have been especially tasty and feature whole bone-in meats, like the pork butt from a couple weeks back and now these beef short ribs.

This sauce uses up the last of my garden’s tomatoes, even a few that didn’t ripen. I won’t bore you with the details of using green tomatoes, or the roasting process in general, as we’ve covered the topics before. For the background here’s the Roasted Green Tomato Sauce recipe and here’s another Roasted Tomato Sauce that combines both ripe and green specimens. These chopped-up garden tomatoes filled my largest metal bowl. I’m guessing it’s around 8 or 10 pounds’ worth of tomatoes.

Again, winging it is highly encouraged around here. To start a sauce don’t be afraid to be creative. I’ve used huge leeks, hunks of diced-up prosciutto ends or pancetta, a piece of speck I’d been neglecting in the fridge, all kinds of things. But four items you gotta have, in whatever amount you like, are carrots, celery, onion and garlic.

This is 2 pounds of beef short ribs (bone-in). Generously coat all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. (As I mentioned earlier, a whole pork butt would get the exact same treatment throughout this process should you decide to go that route instead.)

Pour plenty of olive oil into whatever oven-ready pot you’ll be cooking the sauce in (mine is a 13-quart dutch oven), brown the ribs and then remove and set aside.

Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic, along with whatever fresh herbs you like, and saute until they’ve softened. NOTE: You’ll also see that there are several anchovy fillets in here. I always use them because they add a depth to the flavor; plus, I don’t need to add as much salt. And no, you can’t taste the anchovy in the sauce. Use it, don’t use it, makes no difference to me.

Add half a cup to a cup of red or white wine (I often use a dry vermouth) and allow it to reduce.

Then return the ribs to the pot.

Add your tomatoes, mix everything up, cover and put in the oven preheated to 350 degress F.

When the meat is very tender (2 hours ought to do it but poke at the meat with a fork to be sure) remove the ribs and set aside to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degreees F and return the pot to the oven for another 30 minutes or so, or until the sauce’s consistency is to your liking. If the sauce is already the consistency you like then don’t bother cooking it any longer.

After the ribs have cooled enough to handle, shred off all the meat.

All that’s left to do now is add the meat to the sauce and mix thoroughly.

Oh, and boil yourslf some pasta to go with it.

But I’m pretty sure you knew that already.

Roasted tomato sauce II

2 Sep

This summer has been all about the roasted tomato sauce. So far I have cooked and frozen around 20 quarts, and the season isn’t over yet.

The whole roasting idea started for me back in the fall of 2011, when my friend Joe sent me his wife Joel’s recipe for roasted green tomato sauce. My garden was inundated with unripe tomatoes that year and Joe was trying to help me to make use of them all.

Since then I have adapted Joel’s basic method to roast all combinations of tomatoes, often fully ripe ones. Every batch is a little different, but all are rich in flavor and delicious. You can see by the picture above that I’ve been using mostly ripe tomatoes this year, but the beauty of roasting is that it doesn’t really matter which ones you use. Any combination of tomatoes that you can get your hands on, at practically any time of year, will work. Best of all, roasting a large batch of fresh sauce at high heat is faster and easier than simmering on a stovetop.

This batch is a pretty big one (I had to use a giant 13.5-quart dutch oven to fit all the garden tomatoes I had on hand), and so you’ll need to make adjustments to cooking times and ingredients depending on how much sauce you’re actually making. But don’t worry. Play around and experiment as much as you want, because it’s really pretty hard to screw up a roasted sauce.

Just core the tops off all of your tomatoes.

Slice off the bottoms too.

Then cut the tomatoes into pieces like this. (I don’t peel the skins, if you were wondering, nor do I clean out the seeds.)

In a dutch oven saute some chopped garlic, onion, carrots, celery, hot pepper if you like, plus plenty of fresh herbs. I used rosemary, oregano, thyme and marjoram for this batch. Don’t be shy with the olive oil; the more of it the better as far as I’m concerned. Oh, and I’m not shy with the garlic either; there are around 10 cloves in here. (There are also four carrots, four celery stalks and a huge red onion, but as I said, play around and adjust at will.)

I’ve been making sauce both with and without different types of meats this summer. In this batch I added two pounds of ground pork after the vegetables and herbs had softened, then let the pork brown a bit before moving on to the next step. (You can use beef or veal instead of pork; or, for a plain tomato sauce, just skip the meat altogether.)

Next step is to add in the tomatoes, stir it all up, cover and toss into an oven that’s been preheated to 450 degrees F.

At this point the amount of sauce you’re making will determine the cooking time. This batch of tomatoes nearly filled my 13.5-quart dutch oven, and so I waited a full hour before removing the cover for the remaining time it took the sauce to cook.

About an hour and a half later (2 1/2 hours total cooking time) the sauce was done.

Once it had cooled I doled it out into sturdy plastic containers for freezing.

As I said, I’m at 20 frozen quarts and counting at the moment, and I’m betting that I’ll wind up with a dozen more. Which is to say that, should you find yourself in my nabe at any point during the coming Maine winter, give a knock on the door. Who knows, I may be in a generous mood.

Just bring along something red of your own to go with. If you catch my drift.