As we creep toward the middle of summer, motivation to keep up with the vegetable garden starts to dwindle. When you find that your tomato plants have gotten a little out of control, grab a bowl and start collecting the damaged or overripe fruits. Time to make a rich roasted tomato eggplant sauce that you will be thankful for during cold winter months.
Toss It In The Sauce
For tomato eggplant spaghetti sauce, I use about 8 overripe/damaged tomatoes which ends up being about 6 once you cut off the damaged or rotten parts. For that amount of tomatoes, only use a small eggplant. Otherwise you’ll be making baba ghanoush and not spaghetti sauce (hmmm, that’s an idea!).
Go through your fridge and figure out what other produce needs using up – throw it in! Pieces of onion, carrot, zucchini or pepper are good additions. There is something so satisfying about being able to clean out the produce drawer and not actually throw anything away!
Processing the Tomato Eggplant Sauce
I use fresh basil when I process the sauce. A pinch of sugar adds sweetness (skip if you added roasted carrot to your tomato sauce) and the pinch of cinnamon adds just a touch of warmth for cold winter nights. When you thaw the sauce and heat up for spaghetti, you can add a little dried basil and/or oregano to jazz it up.
- 8 overripe garden tomatoes, cut into large chunks
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 1 red bell pepper, quartered
- 1 small eggplant, cut into large cubes
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
- 1/2 cup quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425°. Place the eggplant cubes in one baking dish (large enough that everything is in one layer). Drizzle generously with olive oil and immediately toss well to coat before all the oil absorbs in one place. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using.
- Cut out and discard any damaged or rotten parts of your tomatoes. Place the tomato chunks, onion, bell pepper quarters and garlic cloves in a separate baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and shimmy the dish around to coat everything well. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast both dishes for approximately 30 minutes. Stir eggplant once. Continue roasting for up to another 30 minutes until tomatoes are broken down and starting to caramelize and until eggplant is caramelized. Remove from oven. (Eggplant may come out before tomatoes are fully caramelized).
- Let everything cool down a bit. Carefully transfer contents of both dishes to a blender or food processor (should not be steaming anymore). Blend to desired consistency. I like to add a little more olive oil during processing for richness. Add basil, sugar and cinnamon, process again. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Place a gallon zip loc bag into a medium bowl or a medium Pyrex measuring cup. Fold the opening over the edges of your vessel. Pour the sauce into the ziploc. Remove ziploc from bowl and carefully roll up lengthwise as you seal to ensure as much air is out as possible. Freeze. Thaw in refrigerator before heating up to use on spaghetti. Should make about 2-3 cups of sauce.