Roasting the vegetables intensifies the flavors in this Roasted Roma Pizza Sauce. The moisture evaporates leaving behind a rich and deep tomato flavor. The garlic and onions sweeten as they caramelize. Combined, you’ll have the most amazing, full flavored sauce that will elevate homemade pizza night.
I snagged a great deal at the farmer’s market this weekend. It was the end of the day, and I was on my way out when I spotted discounted Roma tomatoes in one of the booths.
They were very ripe. Very, very, ripe. I had to make a quick decision. If I purchased these tomatoes, will I be able to preserve them quickly before they spoiled?
I bought them. In fact, I grabbed them all. Before I knew it, I was hauling about 25 pounds of ripe Roma tomatoes to the car.
As I loaded the crates into the trunk, I could smell the strong, sweet, earthy tomato scent. I decided these tomatoes were destined for a great pizza sauce.
Pizza is something we eat at least once a week. Having a supply of homemade tomato sauce on hand will make pizza night extra special. Canning the pizza sauce into jelly jars, or half-pint canning jars will be the perfect size.
When I got home, I washed the tomatoes and spread them on towels to air dry while I figured out what I was going to do with them.
I grabbed my go-to canning book, the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and reviewed the tomato sauce recipes. I selected the “Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce” recipe, but decided to roast the tomatoes, garlic, and onions for extra depth of flavor. Plus roasting the tomatoes first helps release a lot of moisture that can make a sauce watery.
I popped the vegetables in the oven to roast while I gathered my canning equipment and largest saucepan.
Equipment for Canning Roasted Roma Pizza Sauce
- Rimmed baking sheets
- Food strainer
- Water bath canner with canning rack
- 12 half-pint canning jars
- Canning lids and bands
- Canning tools: lid lifter, jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Plus basic kitchen supplies: large sauce pot, small pot, bowls, towels, knife, and a large spoon.
How to Make Roasted Roma Pizza Sauce
Step 1: Oven roast the vegetables
Preheat the oven to 325°F / 177°C. Place the tomatoes on four shallow rimmed baking sheets. Peel and cut a large onion into chunks and spread out on the baking sheets. Also add 8 cloves of garlic still wrapped in their papers.
Pop the baking sheets into the preheated oven to roast until the tomatoes burst, about 30-45 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through so everything roasts evenly.
Step 2: Purée the vegetables
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the vegetables cool until you can handle them.
Run the roasted vegetables through a food strainer to remove the skins and seeds. A tomato strainer is a great investment if you make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. You simply place the tomatoes in the hopper, crank it, and the skins and seeds are strained out from the juicy pulp.
If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, there is a fruit and vegetable strainer attachment that makes quick work of separating the skins and seeds from the pulp.
If you don’t have a food strainer, let the tomatoes cool until you can handle them. Remove the peels, cut the tomatoes in half and remove seeds and core. Purée the tomatoes, onions, and garlic smooth using a blender, food processor, or hand stick blender.
Step 3: Simmer the sauce to thicken
Add the tomato purée to a large saucepan, add the chopped basil, and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the sauce has thickened and is reduced by half. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Step 4: Can the roasted Roma pizza sauce
Get your canning equipment ready while the sauce is simmering.
If you are new to canning, it may help to review the steps here at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
Add citric acid or bottled lemon juice to each jar, fill with the tomato sauce, and process in a water bath canner. Remove the jars and let them cool for at least 12 hours. Test each jar to be sure it sealed, and then label and store your jars.
When pizza time comes around, pop open a jar and spread your homemade roasted Roma pizza sauce on the crust, add plenty of cheese, and your favorite toppings. You can also use this sauce on any type of pasta.
Roasted Roma Pizza Sauce
- 20 pounds Roma tomatoes
- 1 large onion cut into chunks
- 8 cloves garlic (no need to skin)
- 1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil
- Citric acid or bottled lemon juice
Make the roasted roma pizza sauce:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F / 177°C.
- Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic on four shallow rimmed baking sheets and roast until the tomatoes are soft, about 30-45 minutes.
- Let the vegetables cool slightly, and then puree using a food strainer or food mill to remove seeds and skins.
- Add the tomato purée to a large saucepan, add the basil, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue cooking uncovered until the sauce reduces by half. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Prepare the canning equipment:
- While the sauce is simmering, wash your jars and lids in warm, soapy water and rinse well.
- Place the jar rack into the water bath canner, set the clean jars in the canner, add water to the jars and fill the canner. Cover and bring the canner to a boil over high heat. Boil the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize.
- Warm the lids in a small pot over low heat. Keep jars and lids warm until they are ready to use.
Can the roasted roma pizza sauce:
- Lay a kitchen towel on the countertop. Use the jar lifter to remove warm jars from the canner, drain, and line up on the towel.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid or 1/2 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each jar.
- Ladle the warm tomato sauce into the jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
- Stir the jars with the bubble popper to release air bubbles. Clean the jar rims. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the band until it is fingertip tight.
- Use the jar lifter to place the jars back into canner. Adjust the water level so it is at least one inch above the tops of the jars.
- Cover the canner and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once water boils, set a timer and boil for 15 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 feet (adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary).
- When processing time is complete, turn off heat, and let the canner to cool down for about 10 minutes.
- Lay a kitchen towel on the counter. Remove the jars from the canner using the jar lifter and place on the towel. Allow the jars to cool for 12 hours.
- After 12 hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate jar and use up within a few days.
- Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label and date the jars. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and use within 12 months. Yields about 12 half-pint jars.