Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Red wine reduction & caramelized onion (pizza) sauce

As you may have noticed while reading this blog, there are quite a few pizza experiments in my recipes. Nine years ago I began making homemade pizza. That came in handy as my food additive allergies got worse, and we had to give up pre-processed food and eating out. Fortunately we enjoy homemade, and once I figured out that I could make homemade pepperoni, we had it made. Then I started to think about sweet potato pizza crust, and new sauces. I know traditionally pizza has tomato sauce, but other pureés can be a great way to change things up. In talking to different people I have found that some people don't like tomato sauce and will order pizza without sauce or with very little sauce, some people love to try anything new, while still others say if it doesn't have tomato sauce it isn't a pizza. We love to try new things.

The other night I wanted to make pizza, but we were out of tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes or sweet potatoes. I had a large onion, and I had been mulling over an idea for an onion pureé for a pizza sauce. As I slowly caramelized the chopped onion in a small amount of bacon browning and just enough bacon grease to coat the pan, I got an new idea that excited me and elevated this simple sauce. I happened to have a bottle of red wine in the house that had been a gift. I don't drink much red wine, since I prefer a sweeter white wine. I may not drink much red wine, but I have a feeling I will be cooking much more with it in the future.

By the way, I think this thick sauce would be amazing on a sandwich. I will experiment with different amounts/kinds of wine in the future.

I finally took a photo of a batch that I made for my own version
of a Reuben: homemade rye bread, a thick batch of this sauce, my
own corned beef (oven slow-roasted), beer-simmered sauerkraut,
and a local artisan Swiss cheese. It was a total hit! 

1 large onion (chopped fairly small)
olive oil or bacon grease (just enough to coat the pan)
¾ cup red wine (in this case a Zinfandel)
thyme, basil & oregano (generous tsp at least of each)
pinch of rosemary (grind fine)
1 Tbsp of butter (approximately)
pinch of salt

On low/med heat slowly caramelize the onions, stirring often.
When the onions are a beautiful brown, remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
Pour the wine into the same pan, add herbs, butter and salt.
Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan and frequently stir the wine.
When the wine has reduced, pour it into a measuring cup to check how much it has reduced- mine had gone from ¾ to ¼ of a cup.
Pureé the onions and add the reduced wine, this will make a thick paste.
Spread this sauce evenly on a rolled out pizza crust, top with mozzarella, bacon or ham, slices of onions, etc.
Bake and enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Ooooh, I am going to try this sauce. Maybe not on pizza (I have to feel ambitious to make pizza) but probably pasta. And I looooooove red wine, so plenty of that hanging around!

Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

If you add more wine (to thin it down) I could see how this would go really nicely with a a ravioli. If you try it, I'd love to hear back what you think of the results.

Anonymous said...

FINALLY got around to making this atop homemade pizza crust with just cheese on top. So so good! This sauce is definitely going into the rotation, thanks!

Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

I am so glad that you enjoyed it (thanks for posting your comment).