Strained roasted tomatoes
Prep Time: 5 minutes + 15 minutes to process
Cook Time: 70 minutes
Keywords: roast sauce tomatoes Italian
- ripe but firm, meaty, and tasty globe tomatoes (not heirlooms), halved crosswise
- olive oil
- fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Distribute over it the tomatoes, cut side up. In the interest of energy efficiency, cut enough tomatoes to fill the baking sheet.
Using a mister, spray olive oil on the tomatoes, then sprinkle thyme leaves on them.
Oven-roast the tomatoes for 70 minutes.
Take the baking sheet out of the oven and inhale the aroma that wafts from the tomatoes. Let them cool a bit, then process them using a food mill placed on top of a deep bowl made of rigid material. With a large spoon, transfer 4-5 tomato halves from the baking sheet to the food mill. As you turn the crank, the softened tomatoes turn into a rich purée. Add more tomatoes as space becomes available in the food mill until all are processed.
Tomato juice and pulp pass into the bowl, while skins and seeds remain behind. Every now and then, turn the crank counterclockwise to scrape the surface of the disk.
Do not yield to the temptation of stopping early: there is still some pulp attached to the skins and you don't want to leave it behind. To verify that your movements are still productive, use a flexible spatula to scrape the pulp from the bottom side of the disk, then process for a minute and peek under the food mill: if nothing came through the holes, you are done. Only dry skins and seeds are left behind.
Refrigerate the strained roasted tomatoes and use within a few days, or freeze in containers or bags. I recycle yogurt tubs as freezer containers, or make packs containing two cups of strained tomatoes.