How do you make and use roasted tomatoes? We use ours as the base for bolognese sauce, soup, and topping for focaccia, pasta and pizza.
I have made quite a few batches of roasted tomatoes over the years and have discovered that there really is no right or wrong way to roast tomatoes. How you go about it really depends on your situation and what you’re going for. In this post, I’m happy to share my thoughts and experience on how to make roasted tomatoes.
What temperature should I roast my tomatoes?
You could roast them at 425°F for 25 minutes and put them under the broiler for the final few minutes. This will give you that caramelized almost charred look and taste in the quickest time possible. But be careful when adding garlic, onions and herbs as they are likely to char at this temperature.
You could slow roast them at 250°F for 2 to 4 hours. You’ll get curled, shriveled tomatoes with intense flavor similar to sundried tomatoes. But it takes time and heats up the house.
You could go middle of the road and roast them at 350°F for about 45 to 60 minutes. This provides great flavor and caramelization around the edge of the pan. This is the method I use most often as it goes relatively quickly, allows me to add thick slivers of garlic and hot peppers without fear of charring and results in great flavor.
How full should I fill the pan?
This depends on how liquidy or saucy you want your tomatoes to be in the end. The more tomatoes you add, the more liquidy the final result – unless of course you roast for a really long time until all the liquid has evaporated. If you have several layers of tomatoes, especially slicing tomatoes, evaporating all the liquid could take 2 or more hours.
To get nice, caramelized, dry tomatoes, use a single layer of tomatoes with room for air to circulate between the tomatoes. This will truly roast them and allow for caramelization. Here’s a look at the before and after using this method.
For saucy tomatoes, go ahead and add a couple of layers of tomatoes. This will steam the tomatoes and leave more liquid for making saucy things.
What kind of tomatoes should I use?
All shapes and size of tomatoes will work for roasting including grape tomatoes. Adjust roasting time based on the size of your tomatoes – small cherry tomatoes or thin slices will take less time than large field tomatoes.
Underripe tomatoes can be used, but your final product will not be as sweet. Aim to have the majority of your tomatoes ripe to overripe for the best flavor.
How should I prepare tomatoes?
Wash and dry tomatoes.
Slice or dice tomatoes as you prefer knowing that the thicker the tomato slices, the longer they will take to break down or caramelize. For drier tomatoes, I like to slice my tomatoes about 1/4 – 1/2 inch. When I’m making a big batch for sauce, I cut them in quarters.
Coat the tomatoes with oil. I like using canola oil since it doesn’t add any additional flavor and can withstand high heat.
Add seasoning. Typically, I add salt, pepper, hot peppers and thickly cut slivers of garlic. If making a pan with a lot of tomatoes I will add thyme, rosemary or oregano as well. I never add fresh basil as it will burn and turn bitter even at low temperatures. Add basil just prior to serving roasted tomatoes.
How should I lay the tomatoes on the pan?
For best results, lay the cut side facing up with the skin side resting on the pan. This will allow the moisture from the tomatoes to escape much more quickly. This really isn’t an issue if doing multiple layers.
How can I use roasted tomatoes?
You can use your roasted tomatoes straight out of the oven as topping for just about anything you would normally use tomatoes on.
Puree them to make soup – check out my Roasted Tomato Soup recipe.
You can puree them and use like tomato sauce or tomato paste as an ingredient in other dishes.
You can also freeze your roasted tomatoes (whole or pureed). Simply cool completely, place in freezer bag or container and freeze for up to a year (it will be safe to eat much longer, but quality may deteriorate after that time).
I hope that covers some of the various ways to make and enjoy roasted tomatoes. I’m off to check on my latest batch which we’ll be using as pizza topping. I can’t wait!
Do you roast tomatoes? Do you have any tips to add to this list? And, what’s your favorite way to use roasted tomatoes? I’d love to see your next batch, take a photo, post it on Instagram and tag #getgettys so I can see it and like it!
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.