Homemade pizza sauce

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Pizza sauce made from more than 20 pounds of tomatoes sits on our stove in Wisconsin.

After getting little from our garden all summer, I’ve been suddenly confronted with pounds and pounds of tomatoes. I made pasta sauce first, and then decided to make a big batch of pizza sauce to preserve.

I generally use a pizza sauce recipe from Martha Rose Schulman and multiply it out depending on how many pounds of tomatoes I have on hand. I handle the ingredients much differently than she does though, because her way takes too long when working in big batches.

In a nutshell, her recipe calls for peeling and seeding the tomatoes before you make the sauce. That’s not a bad job with 3 pounds of tomatoes. It can take hours when you’re working with more than 20.

I now wash and core the tomatoes, cut them in half and put them in a big pot. I cook them until they are soft and then run them through a food mill with a fine grate to get rid of the seeds and skins.

Then I pour the sauce back into a pan, add the garlic, some onion and herbs and boil it until it is reduced by at least a third. Then, to make the sauce smoother, I purée it with an immersion blender before canning.

Here’s Martha’s basic recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
3 pounds tomatoes
Pinch sugar
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped basil

She sautés the garlic in olive oil before adding the other ingredients.

I made the recipe with about 21 pounds of tomatoes. To do that, I increased the dried oregano to 4 tablespoons, added 3 roughly chopped onions and 9 cloves of elephant garlic, and boosted the basil to 11/2 cups chopped, or about 1.6 ounces.

Once the sauce had boiled down, I puréed it and canned it. For those who can, I added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint jar, filled the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space, and processed them in a rolling water bath for 35 minutes.

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