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Tomato sauce from grape tomatoes?

Help--I'm drowning in grape tomatoes. Have frozen pints and pints. The neighbors run away from me lest I foist more 'maters on them. Made jam. Made everything else I can think of from them.

So, can you make decent tomato sauce from the little gems? I don't have a food mill, and I refuse to individually peel 1,000 of them for sauce, but I could either force the cooked product through a sieve or blend the skin in.

But, is this do-able?

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  1. I've done a quick sauce with them. I cook up some (a lot!) of garlic, add in the tomatoes (cut in half) and cook them down very quickly (they should be very soft, but not completely lose their shape) and then throw in some fresh basil at the end. It's simple and 15 minutes from beginning to end. It's not the thick, rich sauce you might like, but it's a great way to get the flavors. My husband is not a fan of the skins, but skins don't bother me in a sauce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cachetes

      Quick sauce sounds right up my alley. I made traditional sauce from the regular sized tomatoes, and what with the boil, peel, dice, cook down, spice, cook down more, I was bushed. Think I could do the quick sauce then freeze for future use? Gracias!

      1. re: pine time

        I'm not sure how it would freeze. It can generate a lot of liquid, and I typically cook it down until the liquid just starts to thicken, which gives a nice coating to the pasta. So I'm not sure how the texture would be if frozen.

    2. It is doable, I have added them to other tomatoes for sauce and they blend in just fine. I'll be deydrating ('sun dried') a ton more of them this week, have you done that yet?

      3 Replies
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        How do you dry yours? I don't have a dehydrator, had no luck with outdoor drying on the a screen, and the thought of in the oven for 8-12 hours (even at low heat) in the summer makes me wilt. I adore "sun-dried" tomatoes, but what shortcuts do you have? Appreciate the help.

        1. re: weezieduzzit

          To dry tomatoes at home, I cut in half (pole to pole) and place on cooling racks over a rimmed baking sheet. Late in the evening, turn the oven on low. Put the tomatoes into the oven. Go to bed. Check tomatoes in the morning. Usually they are done enough. Cool, pack into ziplock bags, and freeze.

          1. re: KarenDW

            Brilliant to do them overnight! Doh. What temp? I've read "the lowest your oven will do"--correct? Cut side down or up?

        2. I've done a raw sauce, in the food processor, using grape tomatoes, grated parm. toasted walnuts, roasted garlic and EVOO. Whir it up and pour over hot pasta, excellent. GT's are also excellent roasted with EVOO and thyme.

          2 Replies
          1. re: treb

            Think the raw sauce could freeze well?

            1. re: pine time

              Worth a try, I freeze cooked sauce, raw canned plum tomatoes and raw pesto all the time.

          2. Think "Salsa di pomodoro". Cachetes and Treb posted delicious sounding recipes.

            In regards to freezing, both should freeze well due to the high liquid content. You just need to make sure you leave adequate head space so your containers don't pop their tops.

            Another option is to toss halved tomatoes in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake them off at 325F until slightly brown around the edges, about an hour. With a large sheet pan lined with parchment, you can easily roast 2 to 3 lbs in a single layer at a time. The oven roasted tomatoes should freeze well too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: dave_c

              I was going to suggest roasting them too. I don't even cut them in half. Just toss a whole slew of the tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe some garlic cloves or crushed garlic. I roast on 400 for about 45 minutes or so. Delicious.

              1. re: valerie

                I froze bags and bags of roasted "sungold" tomatoes last year. They were great either as a pasta sauce on their own or added to other preparations! (and squish some on to a good piece of bread while they are still warm!)

            2. Thaw some of the frozen toms; the skins should slip right off. Make the sauce, and then freeze in portions which you typically use, flattened in a ziplock bag. Then freeze more whole tomatoes :)

              1 Reply
              1. When I am tired of eating cherry tomatoes while I water (not yet!) I make the following really simple sauce:

                Pasta con Pomodoretti
                2 lb. cherry tomatoes, cut in half unless very small
                3 T bread crumbs
                3 T grated Pecorino (or Romano)
                2 T olive oil
                Toss everything together and spread in a shallow metal pan (jelly roll). Place in a 450° oven
                for about 15 minutes until tomatoes begin to crackle. Toss with cooked short pasta, about
                1/2 pound. Serve with additional Pecorino and pepper.

                Since I grow Sweet 100's (small) I don't cut the tomatoes. I sometimes add garlic before roasting or basil afterwards, but really, there is something so satisfying about the simple version I often leave it basic. Sometimes the sum is greater than the parts. If I only have Parmagiano I use that.

                If I have the energy to pick enough for 2 trays, I do 2 pans and freeze one in a quart ziploc bag. A taste of summer come December.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dkenworthy

                  Thanks, especially for the idea of freezing. I know what you mean about salivating for "real" tomato taste come about December.

                  I tried Ina's Tomato Gratin from Foolproof, and didn't care for it. Yours sounds better.

                2. I just remembered a great recipe for sauteed cherry tomatoes in the Flexitarian cookbook that he serves with polenta and sauteed shrimp. I do this when I can't bear to have the oven on high for roasting.

                  1. Why not just whirl a handful in the FP with some garlic, oil, salt and pepper, then freeze overnight and defrost the next day for a taste test? I've made many fresh sauces this way, but haven't frozen or cooked it, so I don't know how it would do if not served right away.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Isolda

                      Another great idea. Don't know why, but I've never thought of freezing fresh sauces. I'll do a trial batch and see if it's an option for my 100,000 'maters. Thanks.