Roasted Tomato Sauce: Recipes for Ruby, A Virtual Baby Shower

Shelley's baby shower logoYou know what they say about the Best Laid Plans, right? That's right; they gang aft agley.  Yup, they can turn into a big old Gang of Ugly (which I'm sure is the translation).

Let me back up a moment and tell you how I came to be in an Ugly Predicament. A few weeks ago, the delightful Ilke from Ilke's Kitchen (whom I have met In Real Life and like very much) asked if I'd like to participate in a virtual baby shower for a friend of hers, Shelley of Franish Nonspeaker.  Anyone with a blog name like that, I'm in. Plus, she's naming her child--who I assume is of the Female variety--Ruby. And that is a very cool name. Like Max's sister.

Our Mission was to come up with a freezer-friendly make ahead-type deal that Shelley could just whip into the oven in between feeding and changing and whatever else One does with a small child named Ruby.  But, I am a bad Direction Follower, and I decided it would be The Best to make something called New Mother Bread from the King Arthur Flour folks' 200th Anniversary Cookbook written way back in 1992. Incidentally, 1992 seems like a recent date, but it was One Fifth of a Century Ago!

Anyway, I've made New Mother Bread before--it has extra iron and protein in the form of molasses and raisins for the former and dry milk powder for the latter.  Plus I used some dried spent grains for extra fiber. It was going to be awesome. All the ingredients thought so. The molasses was excited to be called into service from the back of the cabinet, the Craisins and raisins were thrilled to be asked to join in. They fully expected to hang out until The Beloved starts making fruit cakes in October.  And the milk powder? Delirious, it was.

But guess who was sullen and decided, sneakily, not to Play Along? The yeast. The stupid, stupid yeast.  I spoke sternly to it; I cajoled it; I paid it compliments. Nothing. I shook my fist; I called it Mean Names; I Stomped. The yeast was, literally and figuratively, Unmoved.

Even as I type this, the dough, which I still haven't completely given up on, is in pans in the oven with the pilot light on. I added some extra yeast. And then a bit more of a Different Kind of yeast. And then some water. And it is finally showing some signs of life. But I am Over This Bread. I'm just not that into it anymore, and I am Moving On.

The lesson I should take away from this? Follow directions and give the yeast the Stink Eye on a regular basis.

Turns out, I had the makings for a great freezer-friendly make ahead-type meal component right in my fridge. I had started making a roasted tomato sauce a couple of days ago, and I finished making it today.  In a true Light Bulb Moment and a Burst of Flexibility, I trashed the idea of the New Mother Bread (this time) and decided to share the sauce with Shelley.  The sullen bread, I'm keeping for myself. You're welcome, Shelley.

Honestly, I'm happy to be a part of this little shindig with so many other keen folks, some of whom I know and others I'm just meeting.  What fun! And now I'm actually following directions, so there's that. So without further Ado, here it is: roasted tomato sauce.

roasted tomato sauce

roasted tomato sauce

Next time, I'd put the herbs under the tomatoes to prevent burning. Otherwise, yay.

Roasted Tomato Sauce
Recipe type: Freezer-Friendly, Make Ahead-Type Item
The great thing about this is you can roast whatever vegetables you have around. If you want the sauce to be red, you'll want the tomatoes and maybe red bell peppers to dominate, but otherwise, just have at it. Roast your veggies along with herbs and aromatics until soft and somewhat caramelized, let 'em cool, then puree. If the veggies were Super Juicy, you'll need to cook them down over medium-low heat to concentrate the flavors and thicken the sauce. For this particular tomato sauce, I reduced it for a good hour or so. Please don't feel like you have to follow this recipe exactly. I'll write it exactly how I made it, though, just so you can see.
What You Need
  • 6 very ripe tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • sprigs of fresh herbs--I used 3 of oregano and 5 of thyme because it's what is growing in the garden
  • several splashes of oil--I used extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
What To Do
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Drizzle some oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. (I used a 7"x11" Pyrex baking dish because I wasn't making a ton, but you might have more vegetables than I had, so use an Appropriately-sized nonreactive pan).
  3. Toss the herbs in the pan and place all the tomatoes, cut side down, in the pan. Squeeze them in, and try to keep them all in one layer, but a little overlapping is just fine.
  4. Tuck the onions and garlic in and around the tomatoes.
  5. Drizzle with a bit more oil and then sprinkle on some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Roast for about an hour, or until the vegetables are lightly caramelized.
  7. Let cool on the counter and then pull the tomato skins off.
  8. To reduce, bring to a boil in an appropriately-sized pan. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the mixture is as reduced as you want it.
  9. Let the sauce cool a bit, then puree, either with an immersion blender or in a blender. Be careful; it's still hot.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  11. Use now, refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for up to three months. If you made a lot, portion it out before freezing so you don't have to hack at a big cube of sauce.
Other Stuff to Know
Ways to Use This Sauce As straight-up pasta sauce. As a base for a meat-based sauce--just brown the meat and simmer in the sauce so the flavors marry. As a base for soup. Add stock and/or dairy to bring it to soup consistency. Reduce way down to use as a homemade pizza sauce.

And there you have it. Or rather, here you have it:

roasted tomato sauce

To sum up:

  1. Remember what they say about plans.
  2. Always follow directions.
  3. Make some sauce.
  4. Congratulations to Shelley and her family!

Please take a visit to check out all the other make-ahead meals for this virtual baby shower--lots of great ideas!

Anna from Keep It Luce  

Carrie from Bakeaholic Mama

Christina from Girl Gone Grits

Elaine from   California Living  

Esra from Irmik Hanim

Jennifer from Scissors and Spatulas

Lana from Bibberche

Lisa from Lisa Is Cooking

Renee from Sweet Sugar Bean

Robin from A Chow Life

Sarah from Snippets of Thyme






  1. Kristina says

    What a great story, I hate when a key component like yeast decides to behave badly. But with that said look at that wonderful sauce! Nice to meet you and visit your site.

  2. Shelley says

    Sullen bread! I love that- I think I’m going to steal the saying next time my bread isn’t cooperating. Thanks so much for the recipe and for participating in my virtual shower. You ladies rock!

  3. Bakeaholic Mama says

    Love that you referred to Max & Ruby… we have a ton of the books and watch the show daily in our house!! Your sauce looks lovely as does everything you make Jenni! So fun to do this shower and excited to see someone I know among the mix of bloggers participating!

    • says

      I was so happy to see someone I know too, @30a3ee1662fabc29daed6913e64b5d29:disqus Carrie! I know Max&Ruby from my days in the classroom–such fun books. First up w/my sauce: mushroom ravioli. 🙂

  4. Elaine says

    New Mother Bread and Sullen Bread. Love it! Sorry your yeast was not cooperating for you, but I hope you get to make that bread at some point. It sounds so good. Your roasted tomato sauce looks lovely. I happen to have some very ripe tomatoes on my counter right now and I love any veggie roasted, so I am going to try this one.

    • says

      @41365ce3d89e16f6bf82458cd58b0b1a:disqus I must take Complete Responsibility for not checking the stupid yeasts’ vital signs. I’m a bad yeast mom. The bread–which I’ve since baked–while not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, tastes amazing. So not a total loss, and I’ll make it again w/real live yeast. Hope you enjoy the tomato sauce, and I’m glad you stopped in. I enjoy these bloggy events because I get to meet so many new and fun people!

  5. Ilke says

    I know Jay will appreciate if I make this since I use a lot of jar sauces during winter and we always know there is something missing in taste but at the last minute, we dont have time to make a homemade one. I should be a good planner this summer.
    Thanks for participating 🙂 I am so sorry about the bread. That yeast has to learn not to mess with you! Hope you get a better result next time…if there is a next time for that bread!
    Can’t wait to meet soon again!

    • says

      Oh, there will be a next time, @752eb91e4aee340bd895e096095d1efe:disqus, trust me! That bread Will Not Beat me! lol You are so awesome to host the shower. Now, go make some tomato sauce, tell Jay I say hi, and hopefully we’ll be meeting for barbecue soon:)

  6. Lana says

    I love the sauce in all its incarnations! But I love your wit even more:) Your words reminded me of that Bugs Bunny and Yeti cartoon (Jenni and the Yeast) – you did everything else, but you did not call it George!!!
    I hope you get that dough under control:) Cheers!

  7. says

    Sorry about the bread. Shit happens (as I’ve been told) 🙂

    The sauce gets a high 5 from me, my dear. That roasting pan looks divine, even without the herbs being tucked under. Can’t wait to make this.

    • says

      Alas, shit does, indeed, happen! lol, @twitter-138546900:disqus But we will be enjoying tomato sauce this evening, so there’s that. 🙂 I do hope you make this with whatever you have on hand–it is Quite Good!

  8. A Chow Life says

    Oh yeast. On many days, it’s my enemy! I LOVE a good roasted tomato sauce, however. Wonderful!

    • says

      Fortunately, I was able to save the bread and turn it into bread pudding. But we also really enjoyed the tomato sauce with mushroom ravioli! And I bought new yeast yesterday… 🙂

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