We noticed the other day that we’ve posted how we make pizza, but we blithely note that you need pizza sauce, without letting you know how we make it. Mea Culpa. Let’s remedy that right now.
We actually make several types of pizza sauce, depending on the tomatoes that we have on hand, trying to coax out the very best flavors from those ‘matoes. This is the sauce we use when we have canned San Marzano tomatoes on hand.
With San Marzano tomatoes, we try to make a minimal sauce, one where the taste of tomatoes really comes through. That way, your pizza will taste as though you used fresh, ripe tomatoes from the garden. At least, if your garden is in San Marzano, Italy. Our recipe makes a lot; use the leftover sauce as a tomato base for other sauces.
While this is a really simple sauce, very similar to our Hand-crushed Marinara Sauce, we did refer to the Forno Bravo pizza sauce recipe. You will note that this recipe is not cooked. Traditionally, pizza sauce cooked right on top the pizza; since San Marzano tomatoes have enough flavor right out of the can, a flavor we don’t want to compromise, we don’t cook the sauce. Also, we specify crushing by hand, so that you don’t crush the seeds, as a food processor would. Crushed tomato seeds can impart a bitter taste, which is why some sauces call for sweeteners.
Makes about 1 quart
- 1 can (28 ounce) San Marzano tomatoes (we used Cento)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
Use San Marzano tomatoes for this recipe. We really don’t think it will be good with standard canned tomatoes; for those, we have another recipe that we use. As we said, for pizza sauce, we fit the recipe to the tomatoes. We use kosher salt because it doesn’t have any of the “off” flavors that we find in other salts; we think those are due to the anti-caking agents.
Measure dry ingredients. In a non-reactive 1-1/2 quart bowl, measure out the basil, salt, pepper, and oregano. If you don’t want to measure, just estimate by pouring into your hands. After all, it’s pizza science.
Add tomatoes. Nothing else really to say.
Crush. With your hands, crush the tomatoes into pieces that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in size. Remove any tough cores that you find. If you’re adventurous and have a child, you could let him or her crush the sauce. We’d recommend that they (and you, too, if you’re doing the crushing) wash your hands before and after.
Meld. Cover, and refrigerate for about 1-2 hours so the flavors can meld.
Sauce. Use a light amount of sauce on your crust, spreading evenly before adding your other toppings.
We like this sauce; it’s light and fresh with a bright tomato flavor that’s not muddied or dulled by cooking, making for a great-tasting pizza. As a slight change, we would consider adding just a pinch of red pepper flake, to kick up the spiciness a little. Either way, it’ll be good. The only drawback to this sauce is that it is a bit on the liquid side, and for that we’ll give four stars.