Fall has arrived and with it a huge supply of every pepper variety you can imagine, as well as tomatoes, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs.
When I think of peppers, I see stuffed bell peppers, fresh hot jalapeno poppers, and of course fresh pizza. Most of us would think that pizza originated in Italy, and while it’s true that it was in Italy that pizza was transformed to what we know of it today, it was the Greeks that first made these round thin breads that were sold in the streets and local markets to the poor; it was considered peasants’ food. But it was in Naples, Italy, that tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese was added to the breads; meat was added when the idea came to Bologna. In Canada a pepperoni and cheese pizza is the favourite but I prefer a loaded pizza. Today, almost anything can be added to a pizza but to experience a real treat, start with a homemade crust and a freshly made pizza sauce. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better a pizza is when made with fresh ingredients. The sauce recipes I offer today can be frozen for later use. Enjoy
Easy Fresh Pizza Sauce
6-8 (Roma) tomatoes
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp. fresh chopped oregano
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. salt
Carefully put tomatoes into boiling water for 20-30 seconds, stir; remove with slotted spoon and put into iced water to cool. Remove core and peel; cut into quarters and remove seeds. Coarsely chop or chop in food processor. Put in saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Simmer sauce for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally, or until it reaches the consistency you prefer. Place some on your pizza crust and refrigerate or freeze the remaining for another day.
Deluxe Fresh Pizza Sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. minced garlic
4 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and minced
2 oz. tomato paste (about 3 rounded tbsp.)
1 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
1/2 tbsp. fresh marjoram, minced
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 large pizza crust
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese, 1-2 cups or per taste
Heat oil in a heavy bottom saucepan; add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent; add garlic and cook another 30 seconds to release oils. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes. To make pizza, spread parmesan cheese over crust; then tomato sauce. Add all of your favourite toppings, then the cheese. Bake at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Sauce will make 2 pizzas.
Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist.