2 pecks of tomatoes
While your tomatoes are getting their bath, preheat the oven to 425*, and line two good sized baking sheets with aluminum foil (honestly, as much as I use, I should own stock in this stuff!). Once your tomatoes have soaked for at least ten minutes, pull out a few at a time, dry them off, and quarter the larger ones, cut the smaller ones in half, and core all of them. The first batch that I roasted, I cut the tomatoes into pieces that were a little too small, and roasted them for a few minutes too long, so they got
I just cut the core out of the tomato; it didn't matter what they looked like going into the oven, since they were all going to be made into sauce, anyway. Once you have a baking sheet filled with tomatoes in a single layer, drizzle a little olive oil over them, sprinkle with salt, and put into the oven for 30 minutes (my first batch, I did for 40 minutes!)
Below is my first batch. They were certainly usable, but my house was all kinds of smoky, from the olive oil. I used the tomatoes, but tossed the aluminum foil and used a fresh sheet of foil for my next round.
Roasting the tomatoes isn't a "must-do" step; if you're pressed for time, or just don't want to heat your house up (because, I have to say, it really does!!), you can just proceed to the food mill step. However, I, personally, wouldn't skip this step.
Roasting really brings out the tomato-y-ness of the tomatoes, and adds a nice extra flavor to the over-all sauce. I don't know how many rounds of tomato roasting I did, but I did this for about two days, batch after batch.
After a few minutes of using my food mill, I remembered that I had a fat separator, and olive oil is a fat after all, so let's see if it will separate from the tomato juices! And it did!! Woohoo!! I was so excited to be able to use the tomato juices!
While I was thinking about the skins, I got to thinking that some roasted garlic would be really good in the sauce, and I had the oven already on, so why not? To roast garlic, take a head and cut the top 1/4 off of it. Lay it on some aluminum foil (surprise, surprise!), drizzle a little olive oil on it and sprinkle it lightly with some Kosher salt. Wrap it up like a little present, and put it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. I put mine in for about 20 minutes, and if I'm being honest, it could have roasted for a little longer. However, I was able to easily squeeze each clove out the head, so it was roasted enough.
I used a spatula and pressed the pureed skins and garlic through the colander. As a side note, what is leftover makes an amazing salsa (this was my lunch, as a matter of fact...a squeeze of lime juice over the leftover skins with some tortilla chips was so good!)
These were a lot of work, and very time consuming, but I will absolutely do it again! The taste of this sauce is so fresh, and bursting with tomato flavor, that it is worth every bit of work that went into it!