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gimme the tomatoes

Recipe: slow-roasted tomatoes

The time has come to move on. Hope can only fuel you for so long and so far before you accept the raw and naked truth – the mushrooms were not to be this summer. I actually love the time before the mushrooms are expected and the time after I decide to no longer look for them. It’s nice to be free of this sickness that is likely the fungal mushroom spores that have taken control of my cerebral functions to constantly look for mushrooms. I joke it’s like a precursor to the zombie apocalypse… If there’s an outbreak in the mountains of Colorado, I very well may be patient zero.

Classes have begun and the yellow school buses go about their routines at specific times each morning and afternoon. The CU Boulder campus is to be avoided at all costs during class changes, as are the Target and Trader Joe’s stores during move-in weekend. We have enjoyed a couple of smoke-free days and the arrival of some unsettled weather that has delivered cherished rains to the mountains. When you wake up to those crystal clear blue Colorado skies and can see the local peaks in sharp focus, you remember why you live here in Vacationland.

yuki is now 80% of neva’s weight and size

my last huckleberry session for the season

autumn is tapping on our shoulder

rainbows mean rain – sweet sweet rain

loving the cooldown

miss yuki sits atop kaweah rock (kaweah’s favorite rock)

On the days when it’s too smokey to safely exercise outside, I keep busy indoors with work and projects and the squirreling away of precious summer bounties. I’ve roasted and froze my fill of green chiles, made plenty of peachy desserts and pastries for my parents and friends, sorted and froze my huge haul of excellent huckleberries, made fig jams and strawberry jams for Jeremy to enjoy in the cold winter months. It is time to get the late summer tomatoes for canning and then it will be cool enough to take my sourdough starter out of the refrigerator to bake some bread.

Two years ago I was overly ambitious about canning tomatoes and after processing over 100 pounds, I could not bring myself to finish the last 8 pounds. It was around that time I remembered a recipe I had bookmarked for roasted tomatoes from my friend Rebecca. These tomatoes are slow roasted for several hours with aromatics and herbs until caramelized, then blendered into a sauce.

tomatoes, olive oil, salt, garlic, pepper, oregano, onions, thyme

peel the garlic, slice the onions

core the tomatoes


Roasting concentrates flavors, so you can use out-of-season store-bought tomatoes and wind up with a pretty decent result. But doesn’t it sound better if you use ripe in-season tomatoes from your garden or a local farm to create something magical? Yes. Yes, it does. Now is the time, friends. This is so easy. Once the ingredients are prepared, toss them together and roast for several hours in a low oven while you go do something else.


place everything in a large bowl

toss together

spread it out on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (use two if necessary)

Rebecca roasted her tomatoes to the point of a pretty good char. I wanted mine a little less charred. Also, my oven has a mind of its own so I thought it best to remove the tomatoes before they became carbonized. The next step is to place everything in a blender or food processor with wine or diluted balsamic vinegar and blitz it until smooth. I knew I was freezing this paste in 8-ounce batches, so I decided to withhold the liquid and add it as needed when I defrost the paste. It worked just fine in my Vitamix without the liquid.


gather up any of the sticky juices

place it all in the blender or food processor

smooth and beautiful

You know how tomato paste looks appealing and then when you taste it straight up, it’s disappointingly flat until you add all sorts of goodies to it? This tomato paste is not that tomato paste. It is full on punch-you-in-the-face intense tomato flavor with earthy, herbal, sweet, and bright overtones, undertones, highlights, and undercurrents. It’s PACKED with tomato essence. Thin it out with some wine or watered down balsamic vinegar. It makes a beautiful sauce for pasta, pizza, or calzones. Use it as a dipping sauce for garlicky toast or fried things (cheese, vegetables, ravioli – OMG), spoon it straight into your mouth, bake an egg in it, make soup with it. You get the idea.

punch-you-in-the-face intense tomato flavor

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
[print recipe]
from Foodie with Family

3-4 lbs. roma tomatoes (or other paste tomatoes), cored and quartered
3-4 lbs. beefsteak tomatoes (or vine ripe tomatoes), cored and quartered
2 yellow onions, peeled, trimmed, cut into wedges
1 head garlic, peeled (leave cloves whole)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (stripped from stems)
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh oregano (stripped from stems)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 – 1 3/4 cup pinot noir or pinot grigio (or 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup water)

Preheat oven to 250°F. Toss the tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Spread the contents of the bowl evenly over one (full) or two (half) foil-lined rimmed baking sheets. Roast the tomatoes for 6 hours in a conventional oven until the onions are caramelized. They will cook much faster in a convection oven, so start checking them after a couple of hours. Scrape everything into a blender or a food processor. Add the liquid of your choice (wine or diluted balsamic vinegar) and purée until smooth. Note: I freeze my paste, so I leave the liquid out until I’m ready to use the paste. Makes 2 pints of concentrated (without the liquid added) paste.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

roasted cherry tomatoes with mint heirloom tomato and corn salad tomato jam roasted tomato soup

15 nibbles at “gimme the tomatoes”

  1. Susan says:

    I noticed that the seeds are not removed. When I can tomatoes I was taught to remove the seeds because they are bitter. Have I been doing extra work for nothing?

  2. Holli DeLauro says:

    Gosh, this sounds amazing!
    No need to peel the tomatoes?
    Only asking because I need to make this right away; TONS of toms!!!

  3. Kristen says:

    This looks so much easier than how I have been making paste of late.
    Definitely going to give it a try.
    BTW… I love reading your blog and recipes!
    Warm Regards!

  4. Kristin says:

    Yum. I have roasted cherry tomatoes and used them on salads, but using larger tomatoes and making them paste?? This looks great.

  5. Pey-Lih says:

    Gimme some pizza – I’ll take some of that paste. Thanks, Jen!

  6. jenyu says:

    Susan – The seeds do not cause bitterness in the paste, but I also can diced tomatoes each year and never remove the seeds. I haven’t noticed any bitterness. Save yourself the trouble and keep the seeds, hon! :)

    Holli – Don’t peel! The skins get blitzed so that they’re not even noticeable. I envy your stash of tomatoes!!

    Kristen – Thank you! xo

    Kristin – It’s awesome :)

    Pey-Lih – right?? :)

  7. jill hyde says:

    You know how your taste buds feel, and salivary glands release…omg, this post did it! That paste looks to die for. Yum Yum. You are ahead of the game as we are still waiting for the field tomatoes to come in. My favorites.
    Yuki is really coming into her own. What a beautiful pair! I would think you feel whole now. xoxo, jill

  8. Rose says:

    Love the picture of your girls and Jeremy. Any idea how big Miss Yuki will be when she stops growing? Any recipe for preserving tomatoes that does not involve peeling tomatoes and removing the seeds is one worth trying. However my preferred method of preservation is hot water bath canning. Any idea whether this recipe would be safe for a HWB?

  9. Jean ann says:

    Jeni, a bit off topic but your handheld pies have inspired me. I’m at 6600’ and my manual pie crusts aren’t working so I’m going to use your recipe and get a food processor. (Never had one and you won’t believe how old I am!). What type do you have? I’m primarily interested for crusts. Thank You!

  10. jenyu says:

    jill – Ha ha! Funny how some foods really get to certain people :) I spoke with Cure Organic Farm and they said the tomatoes will be coming in around mid-September, which is perfect timing for me! And yes, I feel like Yuki has made our pack better, for sure :)

    Rose – We think little Yuki will top out around 45 pounds, but we’d be fine with her staying her current size (38 lbs.). I haven’t tried canning the paste, just freezing. But my friend Marisa, of Food in Jars, has a post on canning tomato paste here:, so you can compare.

    Jean ann – Always happy to hear there is another pie maker in the world :) I have a Cuisinart Pro Custom 11 (11-cup capacity). You’ll find it handy for many other things, too. I just loved that I could make my pie crust in it! Good luck!

  11. farmerpam says:

    AWWW, Yuki is growing to be such a big girl! I’m loving this recipe, as I don’t seem to have enough time to harvest and can all my tomatoes. And, cheers to the cooler weather! East coast butterlings have had a very hot and steamy summer, so ready for fall!

  12. Sam says:

    Jen, I have followed your blog loyally for years and this recipe was so exciting for me that I just had to let you know. I mean, wow! I grew up in Fort Collins and migrated to California about 6 years ago, so I love that your blog brings me a little piece of home. Your taste in recipes is the best, and I love that every time I visit my parents ranch at 7,000 feet I have a high altitude guide for anything I want to make. Thank you for all that you do; I owe my love of cooking to you and your wonderful website :)

    I stopped growing tomatoes years ago because I could never keep up with how many I grew. The obvious solution was always to make tomato paste, and I never thought to roast them! Probably because by that time all of the extra tomatoes were an afterthought and I never put much effort into them at all. I spent my labor day buying up as many local tomatoes as I could, and could not be happier with the results. Thanks for the great recipe; I think I see some tomato plants in my future…

  13. Engrid says:

    This is amazing. I made it today with heirloom tomatoes that I have been collecting from my garden for the last 3 days just for this purpose. Lucky me, I ended up with 6 1/2 pint jars for the freezer (with no liquid added) and am planning to make another batch when I get enough tomatoes. It is unbelievably good. Thank you Jen! I am already looking forward to using it this winter.
    I use a similar technique to slow roast halved cherry tomatoes at 250 for about 2-2.25 hours with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. The result is crazy good and I love them as part of an antipasti platter, with eggs or sprinkled on pizza.

  14. Sky says:

    Hi! This is perfect timing for my squadron of cherry and roma tomatoes. Question, how long do the jars keep in the freezer, and how full do you fill the jars to freeze, with such a think paste? I wasn’t feeling like canning so early on, so slow-roasting it is!
    What I want to know is how long does an 8oz jar last you once open :).

  15. jenyu says:

    Sky – I think the jars should last up to a year if well-sealed. I don’t fill them full, but I tend to worry less about expansion with these than with say, a liquid. Probably 1/2 inch headspace in the jar? As for how long they last, I tend to use an 8-ounce jar at a time in sauces, but if you use it as a spread, I doubt it will be there for more than week :)

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