Tag Archives: pizza

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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Really good pizza crust

Pizza with red wine sauce, eggplant and basil.

I love pizza, but it used to be a rare treat. Cracker-crust is popular in the part of Wisconsin where G. lives, and I don’t really like that style. It’s exactly like what it sounds like _ a crust as thin as a cracker.

Chicago is the opposite, with its deep dish and stuffed pizzas. I love those, but they are like a heart attack in a box. The crusts are usually pastry layered with butter. You can’t eat that often without a big weight gain.

I started making my own crust last year when we inherited mom’s bread machine. This summer, I started doing it by hand, using any easy recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio.

I’ve adapted it just a bit, adding oregano and substituting whole wheat flour for a portion of the bread flour. But that’s why “Ratio” is great: It’s aimed at allowing you to adapt recipes and create ones of your own.

Now, G. and I often have pizza for lunch. It’s relatively quick, and it’s a good way to make use of our tomato sauces and any vegetables we have on hand.

When G. texted me on Wednesday that he was coming home for lunch, I texted back, “I’ll make pizza.”

His response was, “With eggplant?”

So that’s what we had, pizza with eggplant, red wine sauce and some fresh basil.

We give Biggie B. some of our crust. He loves it. He’s also a terrible beggar. He’ll sit and stare at us, and when he wants more, he’ll start snorting and sneezing indignantly. We might be more inclined to discipline him if he wasn’t so old. Or maybe we wouldn’t. He’s so cute, even when he’s a brat.

Pizza Crust with Oregano

15 ounces bread flour

5 ounces whole wheat flour

1 ounce olive oil

12 ounces warm water

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon yeast

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and work into a soft dough. Place on a floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Put back in bowl, which should now be fairly clean, and cover with a clean cloth.

Let dough rise for a couple of hours.

Punch dough down and tear into two halves. Roll out one half at a time on a floured surface.

Place each crust on an ungreased cookie sheet and top with sauce, vegetables, cheese and so on. Bake at 425 degrees until done (about 25 minutes).