Hi. My name is Sara from Texas. I’m a tomato addict. It’s been 12 hours since I last enjoyed a tomato.

I am in no way special. There are a plethora of us out there. Those that would eat a ripe summer tomato like an apple if given the chance…or if nobody is looking. This is prime tomato-eatin’ season, and I encourage all to get their fill ’til your skin turns red.

Freshly picked cherry tomatoes

Unfortunately, summer is winding to a close in some parts of the world. I feel for you, truly. But before you jump off a bridge, consider this… It is possible to high-jack that intoxicating summer tomato taste and keep it around during those gloomy winter months. And there is no canning involved. I shutter at the thought.

It’s all about using your oven to it’s fullest potential.

At 450F, you’re broiling.
At 400F, you’re roasting.
At 350F, you’re baking.
At 250F, your drying….just right.

When you dry tomatoes (or anything, really), the water evaporates resulting in a serious concentration of fresh flavor. So much so, that you’ll wonder why you don’t oven-dry everything. But nothing works as well as tomatoes. And with many foods, the better the tomato tastes, the better it will taste once all that pesky water content is dried out.

Now, it is possible to dry these tomatoes all the way out til they are chewy, and then you can pack them in a jar with olive oil, fresh garlic and herbs. A nice gift for anybody. But personally, I like to pull them from the oven before they get to that point, when some of the moisture is still hanging around. Puree them up into a nice sauce and toss with hot pasta. It’s sick how good it is. And simple to store through winter.

Tomato. Sweet and superbly consuming. No accompaniment needed.
Oven-dried cherry tomatoes

Oven-dried Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe

Oven Dried Cherry Tomatoes
2 lbs cherry tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

Sauce
oven-dried cherry tomatoes
pinch kosher salt
pinch black pepper
2 whole garlic cloves

1 lb cooked al dente pasta (any kind, your choice)

For the oven-dried tomatoes

Preheat oven to 250F (120C). In a large bowl, combine whole cherry tomatoes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Using your hands preferably, gently toss the the tomatoes until they are coated evenly.

Place in oven, and let dry for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until slightly shriveled and wrinkly. Tomatoes should still have moisture and be tender, not chewy. Honestly, the best method to testing doneness is taste, so take the plunge. Bite into one, after cooled of course, and look for an intense concentration of tomato flavor and a big increase in natural sweetness.

For the cherry tomato sauce

Puree tomatoes with garlic, salt and pepper. Sauce will be thick like pesto. Toss hot pasta¬†with the sauce. As far as amount? Do what you feel, we’re all different. Too thick? Thin with the pasta cooking water until you reach desired consistency.

Now for sauce storage. Mwahahahahaha!

Pour sauce into sandwich size, or smaller zip top bags. Gently close the bag as you push out the air. Lay bags flat in the freezer, and smooth out the bags so that the sauce is in an even layer. They will stay fresh for MONTHS. Whenever you need a quick dish, break off a frozen chunk of sauce and stir into hot pasta with a little cooking liquid. Done.

By the way, if I didn’t do a good enough job convincing you to make multiple batches at one time, here’s a reminder. Make lots of this stuff and freeze it!!! I’ll expect your holiday card in the mail.
Penne with oven-dried cherry tomato sauce

3 thoughts on “serious cherry tomato sauce

  1. Hey, Sara! Have you tried this only leaving the dried/roasted tomatoes whole and freezing them? It works wonderfully as well, and I love then having the versatility to puree them or use them on top of pizzas or bruschetta or roasted meats or whatever inspiration hits.Itty bitty cherry and big beefsteak work equally well. I'm with you… nothing beats a warm tomato, just off the vine, standing in the sun, biting in while the juice runs down your arm. Mmmmmm.

  2. Hi Pam! I have frozen the tomatoes whole before, which provides a lot of flexibility in how you want to use them. However, I've noticed that when the tomatoes are frozen whole they cannot be stored frozen as long as the puree. This is because it is harder to pull all of the air out of the bag, which prevents freezer burn. I definitely miss having access to a vacuum sealer!Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Really enjoyed this recipe and will be making it again and again! It is very spicy so you may want to cut back on the peppers. I used angle hair which was nice with this light sauce.

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