With the seasonal transition of the garden, we’re left with a bowl full of rapidly ripening tomatoes. Having this many tomatoes means using a large amount, using them quickly, and being able to store the result. Bacon and tomato sandwiches just won’t cut it.
So, for the past two summers, we’ve made pizza sauce with our end-of-season tomatoes. This sauce brings out the bright freshness of ripe tomatoes, and has a bit of fennel seed to give that flavor of guilty-pleasure pizzas. This sauce also freezes well, letting you have fresh tomato sauce long into the winter. Even though we call this pizza sauce, it could also be used like any tomato-based sauce.
Friday Night Pizza Sauce
Makes enough for four pizzas
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 ½ pounds of tomatoes, peeled
Pinch of chili flakes
salt and pepper
(If using cherry or pear tomatoes, skip this step.) Peel the tomatoes. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Slice an X into the bottom of each tomato. Put them in the water for about a minute, until the skins at the edge of the cut begin to lift. Using tongs, lift the tomatoes out of the water and put them in an ice bath. Once they’re cool, the skins should easily peel off.
In a medium pan, sautee the diced onion in some olive oil. Once they’ve just started to caramelize on the edges, add the garlic, fennel seed, and chili flake.
Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture. We like to squeeze the tomatoes by hand as we add them to get irregularly shaped pieces, but you can also dice them.
Cook this until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is thick. It will have reduced by about two-thirds. Salt and pepper to taste.
Separate into four batches and freeze, or enjoy some immediately on top of your favorite Friday night pizza.