Basil with roma tomatoes halved

Basil and Roma Tomatoes

If you were lucky enough to get a crop of tomatoes this year before the squirrels, you were lucky indeed!  I have had this secret fantasy of making my own marinara for some time, and so this year I did it! Yes, it takes some time to do, but it’s not hard and so worth it to try once.

I had originally thought I would try my hand at canning marinara this year, but I decided that was not to be in the cards–it’s not as easy as canning pickles.  So, I ran into my Trader Joe’s for a few items and right into my favorite employee at the checkout.  He saw I was purchasing some pasta and asked me where the marinara was, because he didn’t see any in my cart.  I exclaimed, “I am making it myself!” And in his thick Italian accent he said, “Well, aren’t you the Italian cook? I make mine, too, and freeze it in Ziplock bags.” I asked him how long it keeps, and he told me several months. Good to know, and what a great tip to pass along!

I make about 2 cups of marinara at a time because it’s less time consuming and I usually have plans for it. If all you need is a cup, I would recommend just freezing the second cup for use another time.

This recipe needs about 38-40 small roma tomatoes.  When I say small, I mean the garden variety which usually only gets about double or triple the size of a cherry tomato.  If you have fresh basil, pick yourself about 4-5 leaves.  Slice your tomatoes in half and place them face down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat.

Roma tomatoes pictured halved and face down on a cookie sheet with Bruno the dog

Bruno is watching over my work!

Place your tray of tomatoes in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool to the touch and begin taking off the skins.

Garden roma tomatoes, halved and baked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes to remove the skins

Roma tomatoes ready to be de-skinned

Slide your skinned tomatoes into a food processor or blender along with your 4-5 fresh basil leaves and get ready to pulse for your puree.

roma tomatoes and fresh basil leaves pictured in a food processor pureed

roma tomato and basil puree

In a one quart pot, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium low heat.  Add onion and sauté for several minutes, then add the minced garlic and continue cooking another minute.  Add the wine and allow this to cook down for several minutes before adding the tomato puree and seasonings to the pot.

A pot with onion and garlic in a saute.

onion and garlic being sautéed.

Cover and simmer on lowest heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If you own a food sieve and don’t like all the pulp and seeds, strain it before you enjoy in your dish

Homemade marinara from small garden roma tomatos with basil and garlic

Homemade Tomato Marinara


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