So I’ve been catching up on posting my weekly challenge recipes – don’t get me wrong, I’ve completed every week on time (my current streak is 92 weeks – woohoo!) but I’ve just been so busy that posting the recipes within the week’s challenge has gone by the wayside between the move and some new blog stuff I’ve been working on. This week’s challenge was bottled sauces from scratch – which ended up working out perfectly for me since I had just dismantled my garden and had a huge harvest of tomatoes and peppers.
I tried my hand at canning for the first time ever – and it was a great success! I made some pizza sauce, which I can now use again and again because I jarred the excess. With the help of some fresh basil and thyme one of my co-workers brought in for me, I made an amazing margherita pizza so I could really show off my sauce.
I started by pureeing all of the tomatoes, onions, garlic and thyme until it reached a smooth consistency. Then I melted the butter in a large pot over high heat and added the puree along with some brown sugar, salt and pepper.
Simmer the sauce for about forty-five minutes to an hour, or until the sauce has thickened and darkened slightly in color. Adjust the heat so the sauce doesn’t burn. It should be bubbling, so be sure to keep it covered unless you want to clean up a big red spattered mess.
I canned the remaining sauce I wasn’t planning on using on my margarita pizza. Because I have no actual canning equipment, I had to can my sauce using a water bath method. First, I sterilized the jars and lids in boiling hot water. Then using tongs, I carefully transferred the hot jars into a hot water bath that came up about half way on each jar. I then poured in the sauce, added the lids and rings tightly, and then placed the filled jars back into the boiling water so they were covered completely. Then i simmered the jars for about twenty to forty minutes, or until all the jars were sealed and the tops no longer popped. Let the jars cool completely, but they should be shelf stable for several years if done correctly!
Next, I made the pesto by blending together the basil, Romano cheese, olive oil and pine nuts until smooth.
I then made a quick garlic butter by melting butter and stirring in garlic powder and onion powder and dried parsley. Brush the butter across the entire pizza dough, and especially around the edges.
Spread the pizza sauce across the dough in a smooth, thin layer. It’s okay if the entire pizza isn’t 100% covered. Then add the slices on mozzarella cheese, and any extra basil leaves you might have (which for me, was not a lot). Many people like their margarita pizzas with slices of tomatoes too, so if you are one of those people, add those slices now. I, strangely enough, hate tomatoes with a burning passion and essentially refuse to eat them unless they are in a sauce. Doesn’t stop me from having like six tomato plants in my garden every year…
Bake the pizza until the mozzarella cheese is bubbly and melted, and the pizza dough is cooked through. I help mine along with a preheated pizza stone, which cooked the pizza from the bottom up, leaving a crispy crust and a soft center.
Drizzle the basil pesto over the pizza. One of our favorite pizza places adds the pesto last and it’s honestly my favorite part of the pizza. Adds just enough tanginess and sweetness to offset the savoriness of the sauce.
I’m super pumped to use my homemade pizza sauce in future recipes! The recipe below is for a single serving of the sauce (enough to cover one pizza) but it can easily doubled or quadrupled depending on how many tomatoes you pull from your garden.
Margherita Pizza with Homemade Pizza Sauce
FOR BASIL PESTO:
FOR PIZZA SAUCE:
- 1 can sheet pizza dough or homemade equivalent
- 8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- 3 tomatoes sliced
- ½ red onion sliced
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat for at least one hour.
- Using a food processor, puree the tomatoes, red onion, two tablespoons of basil, two tablespoons of thyme, and garlic until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large pot over high heat. Add the tomato puree along with the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir in the brown sugar. Simmer until bubbling and thickened, about forty-five minutes to an hour until the sauce has thickened and darkened in color. As needed, reduce the temperature so the sauce doesn't burn.
- Remove the sauce from the heat source and allow to cool until no longer steaming. While the sauce cools, combine the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Can any sauce unused for another pizza!
- In a small bowl, melt the remaining butter and stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and salt. Unroll the pizza dough onto a pizza board or onto the preheated stone and brush the garlic butter across the entire crust.
- Spread the pizza sauce in a thin layer across the dough. Slice the mozzarella cheese and arrange it across the top of the pizza. Sprinkle on any remaining basil. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until the pizza dough is cooked through and the mozzarella is bubbling.
- Drizzle the pesto over the pizza, as desired. Slice and serve hot right away! Enjoy!