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Roasted tomatoes (Recipe: pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes) {vegetarian}


Eeeeeeek — it's the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

Not the campy horror flick, of course; 'tis the season for "killer" delicious tomatoes from the garden. In early September here in Rhode Island, every roadside stand, every farmers' market, every friend's vegetable garden — even the two tomato plants in my own garden, which cooking buddy Marcia made me put in over my strong objection on the grounds that I have a veggie black thumb — is hemorhhaging ripe red tomatoes right now, this week, all shapes and sizes, all at the same time.

What to do? Run for cover?

No, these killer tomatoes are the kind you want to keep around. In your pantry.

I love to turn them into roasted tomatoes, slow-cooked in the oven with garlic and thyme. I pack them into the freezer, and wait for winter, when the tomatoes in the market are pink and pale. Just when I'm tempted to buy expensive sun-dried tomatoes, if only for intensity of flavor to add to soups and stews, I remember my freezer stash.

Not all homemade foods qualify for inclusion in The Perfect Pantry, but a few, like roasted tomatoes and pesto, inhabit my freezer year-round, ready to release the taste of summer in the middle of winter. Once you've cooked with your own roasted tomatoes, they'll be staples in your pantry, too.

Here's my method: Preheat your oven to 200°F. Start with 5-6 lbs tomatoes, either roma, or beefsteak, or yellow, or even cherry tomatoes if that's what you have in the garden. Cut the tomatoes in half end-to-end, and place cut side up on a half-sheet (jelly roll) pan. My half-sheet pans hold 5 lbs of large roma tomatoes. Slice 4-5 cloves of garlic, and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Strip several sprigs of fresh thyme, and sprinkle the leaves over the tomatoes. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil liberally over all of the tomatoes. Place in the oven for 10-12 hours; the tomatoes will collapse, but not completely dry out. Pack into a freezeable container, and pour the oil from the pan over the top.

Pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes

This is almost too easy to be called a recipe. It's great for picnics or potlucks. Serves 4.


1 lb pasta of your choice, cooked
1-1/2 cups roasted tomatoes, chopped, with a bit of the oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2-3 Tbsp mild pitted olives, chopped
Fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to taste


Place first four ingredients in a large bowl, and toss. Add cheese. Eat.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

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I wish I knew someone with a bumper crop of tomatoes. My one tomato plant kept me happy for 3 weeks and gave up a few weeks back. Your picture of the roasted tomatoes looks good enough to eat.

They taste just like heaven don't they? I wish I had more Roma tomatoes and less others. (Note to self!)

I already know that i would love those! I wish I had as many as you do in my garden!

Bea, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. Your blog is one of my favorites. I'm lucky to have a farmstand a couple of miles away that's had heaps of paste tomatoes this summer. They are the meaty oblong-shaped ones -- few seeds, lots of pulp -- and I've been making the most amazing roasted tomatoes with those.

Kalyn, your posts about roasted tomatoes are inspiring! At this time of year, I'll roast whatever I can get, including the few cherry tomatoes the rabbits have left in my garden.

Pauline, get thee to the farmstand or Danielson farmers' market! I will share some of my roasted tomatoes with the Family Cooking Group next week, when we're making pasta sauces.

Oh good! That pile of tomatoes on my porch will soon be roasted; sounds delish..as does the pasta recipe. Fortunately, I still have some parm-regg left over from Venda Ravioli. yum
For the gardeners in the Pantry who are picking the last tomatoes, clearing the beds,and dreaming of next year's season, both Seeds from Italy ([email protected]) and Totally Tomatoes (www.totallytomato.com) have scores of varieties to try.

Yay! Someone else enamored with the merits of a sllllllllllllllllllllloooooow roast. But did you see StephenCook's post yesterday? His burned to a crisp in 9 hours! I need to get a-roasting before the Tomato Man runs short. So far I've been eating, not freezing what's roasted!

Alanna, I did see Stephen's post. Oh, dear.... I know the farmers who run his CSA, so I'm sure it's not defective tomatoes!

Lydia, just wondering if this method would work on my red peppers too - I'm just starting to get some monster ones.

Oh, that photo makes my mouth water -- all of that savory, garlicky tomato goodness. I obviously need to try another variety of tomato in my garden next year -- the cherry tomatoes are doing well, although I'd never have enough for this recipe, as my girls eat them like candy -- but the Carmelo isn't producing more than one or two at a time.

I'm off to the farmers' market!

Jae Ran, what a good question....I don't know if the peppers would hold up for such long cooking, but it would be fun to try the low-and-slow technique for a couple of hours. You could stop the process at any time. Please let us know if it works!

Jeanne, you have figs?! You are so lucky. This year has been great for tomatoes, and I'm lucky to live near many farms and farmers' markets that have kept me supplied all summer. When I pick the few cherry tomatoes in my herb garden, I can't resist popping them in my mouth, so they never even make it to the kitchen, let alone to the oven!

I "accidently" put in six sungold cherry tomato plants this year. I can't get them roasted fast enough! I don't roast mine quite as long so they are a little soupier. I toss in some fresh basil into the tomatos right before they go in the freezer. I've used it as pizza topping, in soups, and of course - on pasta.

Lydia I have only one word for these
tomatoes, YUMOLA. Thanks for recipe. I made this recipe and ate them all in a couple of days; we had them with and on everything. Luckily I still have tomoates and they are headed for the oven.

Hi! How long is the shelf-life of these slow-roasted tomatoes? i am planning to do several batches ahead of time and send them out as gifts for Christmas...thanks.

Chunky, in the freezer they will last one year -- I know, because I just used the last of last summer's frozen roasted tomatoes! What a lovely gift they will make. If you don't want to freeze them, you must can them in a water bath. Here's one source of instruction, if you don't know how to do it: http://www.pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm.

OK, Lydia, I took your advice and bought a basket of tomatoes at the Farmers' Market this morning, and they are in the oven. I also have a pot of chutney on the stove -- do you make chutney?

PS You can see photos of my pre-oven tomatoes and chutney preparation at my blog.

Mae, don't tell anyone, but I'm just finishing a chutney post for next week.... how did you know?! I'm sharing the link to your post -- it's beautiful!

These are too good! We can't save any -- we have eaten them all from 2 batches so far. Even some medium size yellow tomatoes cut in quarters. Hoping to get many more tomatoes, fill the oven, freeze some. Maybe refrigerate under cover of more olive oil? (Convection bake on my oven cooks too fast, maybe Stephen's problem?)

Susan, convection always takes at least a third less time, doesn't it? If your oven bakes fast (on regular setting, not convection), can you set the temperature to 175F? Certainly refrigerate some of the tomatoes for use right away; if they're covered with a bit of additional oil, they should last quite a while -- if you can keep from eating them! The oil, too, with the infused flavors of garlic and tomato and herbs, is wonderful for pasta or bruschetta.

what to do? lowest oven setting 275

Sharon, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. Set your oven at 275, and check after 3 hours. If the tomatoes aren't burning, keep going. If they seem to be cooking fast, throw a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top. Stop whenever you think they are about to collapse. Remember, tomatoes cooked this way do not end up looking like sun-dried tomatoes, all dry and leathery. They still have moisture. Please let me know how they turn out!

This is the best recipe that I have EVER stumbled upon! At the very least, the most versatile.
This is a definite 'must have' for your freezer/pantry. May as well freeze them, because they will not last in your pantry. Heck, they won't last long in your freezer either!
My sister just called me, asking if I have about 10 jars of these to spare for her and her husband (what???...10 jars!)
Anyway, I had been telling her about my roasting these roma tomatoes, and she just kept saying....'yeah, I've done those lots of times before'. Well, I sent her home with a jar of them the other day, and her husband wents nuts on them. She said he was putting them on everything.
She's got an order in with me now, for about 10 jars, that she is going to purchase from me. I put them up in canning jars (separated with little wax paper squares) and seal them with my Tilia foodsaver. Then, just place in the freezer, to enjoy another day.

Oh, by the way, I skipped the thyme, and used fresh basil from the garden, instead. I love cooking Italian, so, these are right up my alley.
I only wish that I had a battery operated pepper grinder to use, while preparing these....it would help immensely, as I love the taste of freshly ground pepper.
And, the one lady was so accurate, when she said that these were great to eat, fresh from the oven....'just like potato chips'!!!

Lori, your comment made my morning! I'm so glad you found your way to The Perfect Pantry, and that you've made the slow-roasted tomatoes. (10 jars???? Is your sister kidding? Did you give her the recipe to make them herself?!) Sometimes I make them without the fresh herbs, so that I have lots of options for how to use them. I'll make some with the end of the basil in my garden this weekend.

Lydia, yes, I tried to tell my sister how to make them, and all that she said was that it sounds like a lot of work (it wasn't work, before I had somebody that wanted 10 jars!!)
Anyway, I was out in my garden at midnight last night, with a flashlight, picking tons of beautiful ripe romas. (Didn't want to chance having any frost damage them...I live in Michigan).
And, as one other visitor to your site, I also wondered, 'could I apply this method to peppers?'....as, I love peppers.
Well, I just decided to use a couple of my beautiful orange sweet peppers, as, I didn't want to waste them, if they didn't turn out. AND, I grabbed some of my foot long cayenne peppers, since there are so many of them out there, and, I'm not putting up any salsa this year. I used the same herbs and sea salt and pepper, that I used on the tomatoes, that were in the same batch. They dried beautifully. I was afraid to try the cayennes, as I thought that the hotness would be so much more concentrated. Well, let me tell you what, they are WONDERFUL!! These would be awesome served with appetizers, either alone, or, with some sort of dip. They are not too hot...they are just totally yummy!! Now I know what to do with the couple of hundred of cayennes that I have out in the garden! Also, the sweet banana peppers turned out great, along with the cayennes. I've got to say, though, that the cayennes 'take the cake'. I just halved them, seeded them, and treated them with the goodies.
And, as an added note...I had a great time, while talking to my sister....telling her that she has 'made these many many times, herself'! Why did she want mine??? (hehehe)
It's cold here this week, so, it's a great time for me to leave the oven on low all night.
Again, I am so grateful for this idea....it's 'priceless'.
If I, myself, knew how to make a website, I would write about how wonderful the roasted cayenne peppers are. I could not find a single thing online, concerning roasting peppers.
And, another note, I freeze peppers every single year, so, I know that these roasted peppers will do fine in the freezer. (If any of them make it there!) These are all so tempting....fresh from the oven. What a healthy snack!

Lori, now I'm the one who's inspired! I love the idea of slow roasting the peppers, especially the cayennes. I wish I had some peppers in my garden, but I will get out to my nearest well-stocked farm stand this weekend and see what kinds of peppers I can find.

Lori & Lydia ~ Peppers? OH NO, I'm afraid they're gone from the markets here because I WANTSOMENOW! I'll be unveiling another "very slow" food in the next couple of weeks, it's worth the long, um, slow, wait. : -0

So, I'm wondering, did anybody even try the slow roasted peppers? I got so very busy here, that I didn't have time to put up enough to last me through the winter. (Winter comes so darned fast, here in Michigan!) Seems like I just put in my pepper plants, and, I've already pulled them out, now.
Lydia, I am going to have to search for your 'new' slow-roasted recipe. Can I have a clue, as to what it is?? I can always save it until next fall. Thanks again, so very, very much, for the tomato roasting recipe. Everytime I open a jar of them from the freezer, I feel like I just picked these fresh from my garden. I think that I enjoyed my garden more, this past summer, than I ever did before. Probably because I'm getting older. It's time to slow down, and appreciate all of the wonderful 'simple pleasures' of my life.

Lori, welcome back! Here's the link to my 2007 post about slow-roasted tomatoes: http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2007/09/roasted-tomatoe.html

And as for the peppers, I know that Alanna from A Veggie Venture was doing some experimenting (see her comment above). I am absolutely in love with slow-roasted tomatoes and, like you, I love pulling them out of the freezer and getting that burst of summer flavor in my cooking in the middle of winter.

Just a note: none of the roasted peppers made it to the freezer. I have no idea what happened to them all!........

Do you use the "dehydrate" setting on your stove, or is that comparable to setting it at 200 degrees? I noticed it as a feature on the stove, and thought I might try it with tomatoes.

How ripe should the tomatoes be when slow roasting? I have mostly beefsteak tomatoes - they're not huge but they are a bigger and fatter tomato should it take longer to slow roast? Thanks.

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