Published March 1, 2005.
Have you ever tried to make a great sauce with off-season supermarket tomatoes? Cherry tomatoes are your best bet, but even then the resulting sauce can be uninspired.
Making satisfactory fresh tomato sauce in the winter with the mealy, flavorless tomatoes that are available is near impossible. Even substituting the often more flavorful cherry tomatoes can lead to disappointing results.
We wanted a wintertime fresh tomato sauce with summertime flavor.
We started with cherry tomatoes and then added more flavor by tossing them with a little sugar (if needed) as well as salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, vinegar, and garlic slivers. We then roasted them in a single layer, which cooked off excess liquid and produced sweet and concentrated results in just 35 minutes. We also tried adding onions (they were too harsh) and shallots (they were nicely sweet but didn't cook quickly enough). The solution was to sprinkle the sliced shallots on top of the tomatoes before roasting rather than mixing them in, thus exposing them to more heat. With our final touches of basil and cheese, we had produced a fresh tomato sauce in late winter that we wouldn't mind eating during the summer.list of recipes