|It’s all about the sauce…It’s homemade|
Very recently I did something I’d never done…I made pizza sauce. I often make pizza at home. It usually entails, purchased pizza dough, some form of organic sauce that I “doctor” to my taste, and great toppings like Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella, bacon, shrimp & sauteed onion.
Since I recently mastered pizza dough, and after hearing Caroline Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey say that ‘people in the south probably don’t make their own sauce’, I felt challenged to make my own. In her defense, she was attempting to cook southern food and it seemed very unfamiliar to her and her comment was based on her ‘knowing’ Italian cookery, and southerners ‘knowing’ southern cookery. But still, a challenge is a challenge and southerners don’t back down
I love the way the sauce turned out…thick and flavorful, with a little kick from the red pepper flakes and mellowed sweetness from the brown sugar.
You could probably substitute canned tomato puree but, since I was going for all homemade, I wanted to try a sauce using fresh tomatoes. Since I have not tested this theory, it’s just me guessing
Makes about 4 cups
2 tablespoons bacon drippings* or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs ripe roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeds removed, and finely chopped or pureed
1 cup grated carrots
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves chopped garlic, divided
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
*Yes, bacon drippings…I’m only using a small amount and it’s uncured organic bacon
In a heavy large sauce pan, heat bacon drippings and olive oil on medium heat until hot. Add grated carrots, celery, and onion, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add half of the garlic and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and water. When mixture begins to bubble, stir in tomatoes, remaining garlic, Parmesan, oregano, basil, onion powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper flakes. Cover and reduce heat to low, allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.