Tomato season. I have always associated it with "the month of August", and was pleasantly surprised when we were able to start harvesting our garden in early July! Nonetheless, the season always comes and goes too quickly, and I fear it is almost over, although the summer heat does not seem to be dwindling just yet. Our garden is still full of young, green tomatoes, but most of the large red ones are rotting out the bottom, thanks to our 100degree days over here. I'm still picking lovely red and yellow cherry tomatoes, but no longer a full small basket per day.
It's been fun coordinating our menu around our sweet red produce, and we've eaten plenty of salsa/ pico, tomato pie, gazpacho, rustic pasta sauce, tomato sandwiches, caprese salad and bruschetta. Danny hasn't let on about being over our tomato trend, but I am starting to think that the scent of tomatoes will never leave our kitchen!
I was craving pizza, and Danny will always eat pizza, so I became set on making our own pizza sauce. Baby steps until next year when we expand the garden and I properly learn the art of canning. The vast majority of "homemade/ from scratch pizza sauce" recipes I came upon called for canned tomatoes, so I used a few as reference and decided to create my own recipe, which turned out quite delicious. This recipe yielded enough for about 4 pizzas, so I froze the remainder since making 4 pizzas in one week seemed too dangerous.
Homemade Pizza Sauce
- 2 lbs garden or market tomatoes (I used roma, cherry, and grape)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh, chopped basil if available
- tiniest pinch of baking soda!
Heat a copper pot with boiling water. In large handfuls, carefully drop the tomatoes in the boiling water for one minute, or a little less if you notice the tomatoes splitting. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drop into a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. Remove again and set on a paper towel. The skins should peel off easily. I couldn't think of anything creative to do with the skins, so I just composted them. For grape or cherry tomatoes, pinch with your finger to squeeze out the seeds. For larger tomatoes, cut in half and deseed as much as possible. Skipping this step altogether will result in a very seedy sauce, and detract from the flavor. Some seeds are fine!
Place tomatoes into a food processor (or blender) and blend for a minute, until tomatoes are starting to look saucy. Add the vinegar to the tomato puree, and blend a bit more.
Heat the oil on medium heat in a dutch oven or non-stick saucepan on low, then add garlic. I prefer pressed, but minced is fine also. If you don't have a garlic press, get one! It will save your fingers from smelling like garlic for 24 hours. Saute with fresh basil for about 10 seconds, then add tomato puree. After about 10 minutes of stirring, reduce heat to low, add remaining seasonings, and let sit for an hour. Stir every 15 minutes or so. Sauce will have thickened up by this point, so give it a taste test and feel free to add anymore spices you see fit!
Now go make yourself a yummy pizza, light some candles, and crack open a bottle of wine (please drink a glass for me). Buon appetito!