The tomatoes were taking over the countertop. A mound of beefsteak, krims, round reddish ones, yellow round ones (I think they crossed with my yellow pear), and others threatened to spill over the edge. There was only one thing to do: make sauce.
And there are two things that go well with an excellent sauce, Pizza and Spaghetti!
When you’re making a garden fresh tomato sauce, you don’t need to mask the flavors of the tomatoes, rather you need to complement them. A handful of onion, garlic, basil and oregano do the trick, along with some salt, pepper, and a just a little sherry vinegar. Throw a little olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven over medium low, add the minced onions and garlic to soften, then pile on the tomatoes. I quarter and halve the big and medium ones, but just toss the smaller ones in as they are. The basil and oregano go in next, stems and all, followed by the salt and pepper. Finally top with a quick splash of sherry vinegar and cap it with the lid. Simmer, simmer, simmer.
After a few hours of simmering, its time to pull out the mesh strainer, the cheese cloth, the chinoise, or whatever you have handy to strain out the seeds and the skins (the yuckies). Put the strained sauce back on the heat, now at a low, and simmer until thickened, another 1 to 2 hours. It should be perfect at this point, adjust the salt and pepper to taste. I usually add a handful more garlic, basil and oregano either here or during the second simmer for a little deeper flavor.
Moving on to the dough for the pizza.
Here you’ll want to take the standard 60% hydration dough and mix it up a little. Chicago style pizza tends to have either corn meal, or semolina added for texture and flavor, along with a little yellow color. I add both, usually 1/4 the amount of flour by weight. Along with this you’ll need two oils, canola (or some other vegetable) and olive oil, around a quarter of a cup, and finally a little sugar for sweetness.
Knead this all together and let rise through the day, remember longer fermentation is better flavor.
Either a deep dish pan (I have one from Chicago Metallic) or a large cast-iron skillet (I inherited grandma’s giant one) are used to make this thick pizza pie. It needs to be well oiled to keep this dough from sticking and to crisp the bottom in the high heat of the oven (475).
Top in the following way:
1 layer low moisture mozzarella, 1 layer sausage, 1 layer pepperoni (optional), 1 layer sauce and plum tomatoes, and finally 1 layer parmesan.
The spaghetti is to be cooked and topped with crumbled sausage and the sauce. This one I think you can figure out without my coaching.