Quick Pizza Sauce

Quick Pizza Sauce
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pizza sauce
At least this sauce is quick!

This past Thursday, we picked up a load of books from the library, a whole bag full, including one huge tome in particular: The New Best Recipe, from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. We’ll be spending the next couple of weeks looking through it for tips and new recipes. In many cases, it seems that they try many variants of a recipe before settling down to the final one. It’s reassuring to think that someone else has gone to the trouble of finding the best. With pizza on the menu for last Friday, we just couldn’t resist.

For pizza night, we tried using one of their tips for grating mozzarella cheese: spray the grater with a non-stick cooking spray before grating. We tend to get the softer mozzarella that sticks all over the grater, so we thought, hey, what a great idea! Wish we’d thought of it. After trying it, we thought, what a dumb thing to do, a waste of cooking spray. While it did work, it only worked for the first three gratings. After that, the spray was gone and the grater was no longer non-stick. Ah, well, it was worth trying once, but we won’t bother in the future.

We also tried their Quick Tomato Sauce for Pizza recipe; after all, it’s quick (says so right in the name), we had all the ingredients, and we’ve yet to find an outstanding pizza sauce, so it’s worth trying.

Makes about 3 cups

Quick Pizza Sauce

Quick Pizza Sauce


  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Abbreviated Instructions

Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until garlic sizzles, about a minute.

Add tomatoes and crush into pieces.

Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Ingredient discussion:

We know that with so few ingredients, everything counts. We used San Marzano tomatoes, fresh garlic, sea salt, our best olive oil, and freshly-ground black pepper. For pizza, we’ll go all out.

Procedure in detail:

garlic sizzling
Heat the oil and garlic together until it sizzles. Then add the tomatoes.

Cook Garlic. Since we assumed that this recipe had been tested repeatedly, we figured that the amounts listed were pretty much correct, so, we actually took the extra time (15 seconds), and measured out the olive oil. We put the minced garlic in, turned on the heat, and let the garlic heat until it sizzled.

We crushed the tomatoes with a fork, that way we could have a slightly chunky sauce.
We crushed the tomatoes with a fork; that way, we could have a slightly chunky sauce.

Add tomatoes. Once the garlic was sizzling, we added the tomatoes, and crushed them up with a serving fork until they had a consistency that we liked.

pizza sauce
After about 20 minutes, the sauce had thickened to a nice sauce-like consistency.

Simmer. Everything came to a simmer and we let it go for 15-20 minutes, until it was as thick as we’d like.

Season. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper.

Assemble pizza. We’re not going to show how to assemble and cook a pizza; you can always find that here.

You’ll probably note that we gave this sauce two stars. Upon tasting it, we quickly realized that those editors at Cook’s Illustrated left out several ingredients and steps. When we tasted it after adding salt and pepper, we realized that this is not a good pizza sauce. Cooking the San Marzano tomatoes brings out the acid taste, making for a sour- tasting sauce. We quickly had to add a tablespoon of sweet basil, a half tablespoon of dried oregano, and half a tablespoon of sugar to try and fix it. Even after that, we both thought that the sauce was exceedingly bland. So, the best we could say is two stars.

Worth the trouble?

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