Canning Adventure: Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce

Woo hoo! A tomato bonanza!  (Thank you community garden plot and patio garden.) This called for some canning action. So I flipped through my canning magazine and decided to whip up a batch of roasted garlic pasta sauce to can. It was a fairly intense process but I am sure it will be worth it when we crack open the jar in the cold of winter.

Sporting my new green apron

Here is the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens 2011 “Canning” magazine:

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce

6 bulbs garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

4  medium red, yellow and/or green bell peppers,  halved and seeded

12 pounds peeled tomatoes (*see below for easy peeling procedure)

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt or 4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil, snipped

1 cup lightly packed assorted fresh herbs (such as oregano, thyme, parsley, Italian [flat-leaf] parsley, and/or basil, snipped)

6 tablespoons lemon juice

(1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel away the dry outer layers of skin from garlic bulbs, leaving other skin and cloves intact. Cut about 1/2 inch off pointed top portions, leaving bulbs intact but exposing the individual cloves. Place the garlic bulbs, cut sides up, in a 1- to 1-1/2- quart casserole.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cover casserole.   Arrange peppers, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet; brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

(2) Roast garlic and peppers for 40 to 50 minutes or until the pepper skins are charred and garlic cloves are soft. Cool garlic on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Pull up sides of foil and pinch together to fully enclose the peppers. Let peppers stand for 15 to 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle; peel off skins and discard. Chop peppers; set aside peppers.

(3) Remove garlic cloves from paper skins by squeezing the bottom of the bulbs. Place garlic cloves in a food processor.  Cut peeled tomatoes into chunks; add some of the chunks to the garlic in the food processor. Cover and process until chopped.

(4) Transfer chopped garlic and tomatoes to a 7- to 8- quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot.  Repeat chopping the remaining tomatoes, in batches, in the food processor. Add all tomatoes to the pot.

(5) Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar, and black pepper to the tomato mixture. Bring to boiling. Boil steadily for 50 minutes, stirring often. Add chopped roasted peppers to tomato mixture. Boil for 10 to 20 minutes more or until mixture is reduced to about 11 cups and reaches desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in basil and assorted herbs.

(6) Spoon 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice into each of six hot, sterilized pint canning jars. Ladle hot sauce into jars with lemon juice, leaving a 1/2 -inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.

(7) Process filled jars in boiling water canner for 35 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.  Makes about 6 pints.

*Easy Peeling:

–Score bottoms of tomatoes with a small “x”

–Blanch tomatoes in boiling water, simmer for 1-2 minutes, until you see the peel “cracking”

–Plunge into water with ice.  Peels will now be easy to remove.