It has been a while since I’ve done much canning. Maybe it’s the country atmosphere when we are at the cabin…all the farms and bumper crops just begging you to take them home and work your magic. The great prices if you buy in bulk don’t hurt either, so like any red-blooded Italian, I thought I’d make some tomato sauce.
If the idea of canning your own tomatoes is about as appealing as getting a brazilian, just buy your favorite tomato sauce or make your own and add a couple of jalapenos to it (be careful you don’t use too many!) and skip to the bottom of this post.
I bought a full bushel of tomatoes for $12. They were labeled San Marzano which was a plus, but I found out the tomatoes were seconds. Not a big deal, though. I only had to throw out about 5 of them.
Recipe for Jalapeno Tomato Sauce
1 bushel of tomatoes, peeled. Peeling tomatoes rates right up there with having root canal without anesthesia. I am NOT a fan, but the easiest way to do this is to boil some water in a large pot and put them in there until the skin breaks.
2 heads of garlic, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 cups canola oil
1 package fresh basil
3-4 tablespoons dried oregano
1 package onions, diced
4 jalapeno peppers, chopped
Put all your ingredients except the basil into a large kettle. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for at least one hour. I kept mine on the stove for close to 3 hours. When the sauce is thick enough, add the basil, get a blender and fill it halfway with the sauce and pulse for a couple of seconds. Pour into a clean mason jar. Repeat until all the sauce is in mason jars. A benefit of using this method is you don’t have to be overly concerned with chopping the garlic, onions and peppers too finely. The blender takes care of that for you, plus it is a handy tool to use for pouring the sauce into the jars.
After jars are filled and sealed, turn them over for at least 10 minutes. This method eliminates having to put the jars in a water bath, and that’s a good thing. When you turn them over, you should see a slight indentation in the top of the lid. If you want to be sure the jars are sealed properly, unscrew the rim and gently press the top up with your finger. If it moves easily, it’s not sealed properly and you may need to use the water bath method.
I think we’ve all heard that if you light a candle your eyes won’t tear when peeling onions. Or maybe that’s a match? I found out the hard way it’s NOT true. But at least it makes for a nicer picture ;).
I made some pizza with the sauce and it was so good, thought I’d share.
Recipe for Pizza
Store bought Pizza dough
2 Vidalia Onions, sliced thin
1 Red Pepper, sliced thin
2 heads garlic, roasted in foil with a little bit of oil for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Remove the yummy goodness and put aside.
Cheese of your choice. I used four different kinds of cheese, mozzarella, gouda, manchego and parmagiana. Yeah, I guess you could say I’m a cheese monster.
Jalapeno tomato sauce (one jar is plenty).
After heating a saute pan with a bit of olive oil, saute the peppers and onions until carmelized. This should take about 15 minutes. Start out on medium to high heat, then reduce to low to medium heat.
Roll out your pizza dough to about 16″. For assembling, most recipes will tell you to start with the sauce, but if you put the sauce on last, your pizza will be less soggy. Place your roasted garlic on first, smoothing it out to cover the pizza completely, then layer your cheese, then the onions and peppers, some sauce and finally more cheese. I put a little bit of raw red onion and some leftover roasted tomatoes I had on top before placing in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. This is the pizza just before it went in. I forgot to take an ‘after’ picture, but trust me, it was beautiful and yummy!
This recipe is going to be one of my ‘go to’s’. You can find pizza dough in almost any grocery store and it can be frozen, which makes it super convenient for nights when you don’t know what to cook. Which reminds me…it’s six o’clock and I don’t have a clue. Maybe there’s still some leftover pizza?
TIP: if you add some chicken broth to the tomato sauce, you’ll have fabulous tomato soup!