By Rosanna Bauman
It’s that time of year again, where the romance of fresh garden produce has faded and we are left with a glut of vegetables to utilize. One of the preserving essentials at our house is homemade pizza sauce. Mom discovered this recipe years ago in some forgotten magazine. It was touted as tasting “just like Pizza Hut’s.” That may or may not be the case but it certainly is the best pasta sauce recipe that we’ve ran across. We don’t just use it for pizza, but also for spaghetti and anything else that calls for pasta sauce because we think it tastes better than the other “pasta sauce” recipes. That may offend some of the pasta sauce purists, but it sure makes our life a lot simpler preserving only one sauce.
Our family enjoys spaghetti as a quick supper fairly frequently. It is also a handy meal to serve when our meat supply is running low because no one misses the meat when we dish out spaghetti; those meat chunks just get in the way when you are trying slurp your noodles!
Homemade pizzas are as much of a classic dish in Brethren homes as egg casseroles or beef pot roasts. Around here, most homemade pizzas are rectangular because they are made in jelly roll pans. The pizza is then cut into tiny squares, which is nice if you don’t like crust, because very few pieces have it. For some reason, though, our family has rarely made “square pizzas.” Perhaps it is because we have always had a circular pizza pan and our family actually likes the crust, so the pizzas have always been round. We make pizza rectangular. We make pizza whenever the fancy strikes us. Pizza is amazingly flexible and suited for using summer vegetables, just like stir-fry. Pretty much any vegetable or meat can hide under that cheese so long as the family members don’t object. I especially like to make pizza after I have made Mozzarella cheese, not onlybecause that homemade cheese is fabulous, but also because I can use the whey in the pizza crust.
This is not a “chunky sauce” because the boys don’t approve of tomato chunks., plus the flavors blend better without the chunks. This recipe calls for dried herbs, but fresh ones can certainly be substituted. Don’t forget to double the amounts when using fresh, as their flavor isn’t as concentrated. This makes a huge pot of sauce but that’s okay because folks are always glad if you need to give some away. However, if your pot isn’t big enough,this recipe is easily halved and still yields 10-15 pints.
JUST LIKE PIZZA HUT PIZZA AND PASTA SAUCE
2.5 gallons tomato juice
4 green peppers
5 to 6 onions
1 pint olive oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 gallon tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried oregano
6 crushed bay leaves
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons pizza seasoning
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried basil
In a large pot cook the tomato juice, peppers, and onions together. Add the rest of the ingredients – reserving 1 /2 gallon of the tomato paste – and simmer for an hour. Then add the rest of the paste and stir well. Ladle into clean glass jars. Apply lids and rings, the process in a hot water bath deep enough to cover the jar tops for 10 minutes. Yields 25-30 pints.