homemade pizza sauce

homemade all natural pizza sauceWe’ve been homemade pizza makers for years, thanks to our super easy whole wheat pizza dough recipe.  However, we’ve always used jarred pizza sauce and after starting on our real food journey we decided we needed to find something a little more natural.  After searching online for recipes, I found this tomato sauce recipe that seemed pretty easy – I used that as a base and then added my own blend of spices.

I was way intimidated by the idea of making a sauce from fresh tomatoes – I’ve never done anything but open up a jar of tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, or pizza sauce, so I didn’t even know where to begin.  I had no idea how to get from fresh firm tomatoes to a nice smooth sauce.  The good new is, it was much easier than I expected and now I’m here to pass on what I’ve learned to you!  So don’t be scared!

base for tomato sauceThe tomato sauce recipe calls for 2 pounds of tomatoes – I don’t have a food scale so I just guestimated and used about 10 Roma tomatoes.  I like Romas the best because they aren’t very watery and have much more tomato “meat” to them.  You’ll also need an onion and some butter.

blanch tomatoesUse a paring knife to cut Xs in the bottom of each tomato – this is optional but it only takes a second will make it easier to peel the tomato once we blanch it.

blanch tomatoesBring a pot of water to a boil, then drop the tomatoes in the water and boil for one minute – the skins should start to crack and/or peel back.

blanch the tomatoes in ice waterRemove the tomatoes and immediately submerge them into an ice water bath until they are cool enough to handle.

FYI, boiling something for a very short time then putting it in ice water to cool it down quickly is called blanching…it’s very useful for freezing vegetables, too.

peel the blanched tomatoesThe tomato will be slimy and messy, but the skin should peel off very easily.

Now roughly chop the tomatoes (I chop mine into 8ths usually), melt the butter (hint: pour out the water you used to boil the tomatoes and use that same pot to make the sauce), and add the chopped tomatoes to the butter.

tomatoes butter and onionChop up the onion and add that as well.

If you stopped here and let just these three ingredients cook, then you would end up with a  very nice, generic tomato sauce base.  Since we’re making pizza sauce we need to add some other stuff to give it that pizza sauce flavor (but you could go other directions and turn this into a spaghetti sauce, or chili, or any other tomato based sauce, just by tweaking the ingredients a bit).

This is my typical pizza sauce lineup (starting in the bottom left and going clockwise): parsley, green bell pepper, black pepper, crushed red pepper, LOTS of basil, oregano, and garlic (in the middle of the picture).  This is very flexible – you can use dried spices if you don’t have an herb garden.  You can add or subtract whatever suits your fancy.  One time I chopped up some carrots and added them in just because they were starting to get mushy and I needed to use them up – it didn’t really alter the taste and I suppose it gave it a few extra nutrients.

The rest is pretty easy – chop up the herbs, pepper, and garlic and add it along with a few shakes of the other spices to the tomato/butter/onion mixture.

Let the sauce cook for 45 minutes to an hour. It will start to cook down and get thicker, like so.

homemade all natural pizza sauceAfter the sauce has cooked down, toss it in a blender and blend it to a nice smooth consistency.  And you did it!  You made pizza sauce!  Now whip up some homemade crust, slather on your sauce and the yummy toppings of your choice, and enjoy your fresh, natural pizza.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of tomatos (I use Romas and it takes about 10)
  • 1 onion
  • 5 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • parsley, oregano, basil, black pepper, and crushed red pepper – to taste (I use a few sprigs of parsley and oregano, a big handful of basil, about a tsp of black pepper, and just a shake or two of crushed red pepper)

Instructions

Cut Xs in the bottom of the tomatoes.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the tomatoes into the water.  Boil for one minute (the skin should start to crack and peel off) and then remove and immediately submerge tomatoes into a bowl of ice water.  Once the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, peel the skin off.  Chop the tomatoes and remove the hard core.  Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the tomatoes and chopped onion.  Also chop and add the bell pepper, garlic, herbs, and spices.  Simmer for 45 minute to an hour.  Blend sauce in blender until it reaches a smooth consistency.

This makes enough for about 4 pizzas and will keep for several weeks in the fridge.  It also freezes very nicely so if you aren’t going to eat it quickly then I suggest you freeze it so it doesn’t go bad.

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