I started roasting my marinara purely by accident, or fate, or serendipity (and there is serendipity in cooking). To begin with, I see no reason to make this sauce unless I am making a large quantity. Why go through all the work for just a cup or two?
I am sure you can imagine how much room a large roasting pan takes on top of the stove. I needed the stove-top to cook other things so I stuck the pan in the oven and the outcome was so wonderful I’ve never looked back. That was over 20 years ago. The heat in the oven cooks the sauce all around the pan, not just the bottom. If you have a convection oven it is even better. The flavor from the roasting of the sauce is so much more alive and the color is even more vibrant. It also makes for less of a mess to clean up on the stove top.
Makes About 6 Quarts
6 28 Ounce Cans San Marzano Plum Tomatoes with Juice
1 Cup XVOO
3 Large Spanish Onions, Sliced
½ Cup Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
½ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt
2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
¾ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Preheat oven to 375° with the rack in the lower third of the oven.
Heat XVOO in a large non-reactive roasting pan over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add basil, oregano, thyme, crushed pepper, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook 2 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes (do not drain). Break up the tomatoes with the edge of a metal spatula or, carefully, use the lid from one of the tomato cans. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Transfer pan to preheated oven and roast for 2½ to 3 hours, stirring every 20 – 30 minutes.
Sauce will reduce and thicken. Using a hand held blender, puree the sauce breaking up all the chunks of tomato and onion. Alternately, you can puree it in batches in a food processor. Transfer to a container and cool completely before refrigerating.
This is the perfect sauce for freezing. Divide into plastic freezer containers and freeze up to 2 months.