Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cindy's Favorite Pizza Sauce

I would have a picture of this... 
But I'm pregnant, so I just ate it all.

Prep Time: Very easy
Source: I had a few different inspirations for this sauce, but a lot of the basis came from Peter Reinhart's Crushed Tomato Pizza Sauce

If you know me at all, you probably know that I have always hated tomatoes and anything containing tomatoes—from ketchup on down. For most of my life, pizza sauce has been no exception, and I'm still not overly fond of most pizza sauces. Around high school, however, I started noticing that I actually enjoyed some kinds of pizza sauce, but not others. Over the last few years, every time I've had pizza I've tried to identify what elements about it I did or didn't like. Eventually, I had a pretty detailed list of things that I did or didn't like in a pizza sauce. (In case you wondered, it was: Savory, not sweet; fresh crushed tomatoes, not simmered-for-hours tomato sauce; simple and Neopolitan-style; and nothing that got its start in a jar of tomato sauce—turns out there's something in those basic tomato sauce cans I hate!) This summer, with fresh tomatoes from my garden, I decided to take what I learned and apply it to my own sauce recipe. This very simple sauce has since become our go-to recipe. Mahon and I can't get enough of it! It's also very easy to customize to your own taste preferences by adding sugar and other spices. We personally love the fresh-tomato taste, but if you prefer a stewed tomato sauce, feel free to simmer the sauce on low heat for an hour or two before using.

This recipe makes enough for a large pizza or two medium pizzas (unless you are like my husband and would like 1" of sauce on your pizza!), but it can easily be doubled as many times as you need. It can also be frozen and used later.

3 medium tomatoes*
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette
1 t salt
1/2 t oregano
1/8 t garlic powder
1/8 t black pepper
Parmesan or romano cheese, grated (optional)

If you'd like to remove the tomato skins—gently score a cross into the bottom of each tomato and blanch for about 60 seconds in boiling water. Skin and cut off the tomato tops. Toss in blender along with all other ingredients except cheese. Pulse on the lowest setting until tomatoes are crushed but not puréed. Pour sauce into a bowl. If desired, stir in about 1/8-1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese. (I'd never heard of cheese in pizza sauce before, but it turns out it's pretty common and really delicious!) Technically, you're supposed to allow the sauce to marinade for about an hour before using, but we've done it both ways without a hugely noticeable taste difference—the flavors steep together pretty well when cooking.

Although I initially tried this sauce recipe with a fancy, double-raised, all-afternoon pizza crust recipe, since then I've ended up going back to our tried-and-true favorite pizza crust recipe every time, made with 100% whole wheat flour. I always cook the pizzas for 12 minutes. This crust recipe pairs wonderfully with this sauce! (As evidenced by the fact that I just ate. My. Whole. Pizza. Granted, it was small!)

*Thus far, I've only used fresh garden tomatoes for this sauce. Once I run out, however, I plan to do some experimenting with canned tomatoes, which I'm sure will work just fine too.


  1. Oooh, I never thought of doing fresh sauce. I'm going to try this!

  2. Yeah - in my years-long pizza sauce quest one of the things I realized was that I DO NOT like pizza sauces that have been stewed or simmered. And like I said... it turns out I hate the generic tomato sauce from a can. Who knew??? I always thought it was just plain pureed tomatoes, but it's actually heavily seasoned, and there's something in there that really gets me.... not sure what. Anyway, my favorite pizza sauces are ones that just cook right on the pizza.