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Homemade Pizza - sauce tips please

So, I've decided to attempt making pizza from scratch, crust and all.

Any tips on how to make a good sauce? What do I use?

And rec's for toppings and cheeses are always welcome.

Thanks chows!

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  1. I got a recipe for sauce somewhere, but I don't know where. but it's real simple and SO good. Saute a few onions and garlic in a little oil, add canned crushed tomatoes, and cook down slowly. Add fresh or dried oregano and basil at the end. I prefer fresh, but you could do dried in a pinch. Have fun with your adventures in pizza!

    1. Depending on our mood, we've been known to use caponata (homemade)instead of tomato sauce. when I make tomatoes sauce for pizza (different than for pasta) I drain most of the liquid form crushed tomatoes, saute onion and garlic, and add some sun dried tomato (chopped up) into the sauce. you want the sauce to be as thick as possible because the less moisture on top of the pie the better. I also like to use smoked oysters on the pie along with the sauce and moz. Good luck with your experimentation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jnk

        Mmmm - smoked oysters on a pizza. I never thought of that. I think I'm going to have to make pizza tonight and try that!

      2. Thanks to suggestions from rosewater I make the most delicious pizza. I buy dough from a bakery in the Bronx, but making your own, great! Here's what I top with:

        Dice pancetta and render fat out. Remove to paper towels.

        Sautee lots of thinly sliced spanish onions in the pancetta fat. Let them cook a long time till they are very soft and caramelized.

        Meanwhile, halve cherry or grape tomatoes and toss with thinly sliced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on foil on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees until as soft as you want them, then remove from oven.

        On the dough, spread the caramelized onions, roasted tomato-garlic mixture, and the pancetta. Put several slices of fresh mozzarella on top (must be fresh, not the gooey stuff in store packages...I get this in the Bronx, too).

        Bake at 500 degrees till the dough is cooked and the cheese is melted.

        Remove from oven and grate some parmesan on top, snipped fresh basil, and drizzle some of your best olive oil over it all. The best pizza I have ever had!

        1. (Smoked oysters...mmmm...I'll have the pizza to myself...)

          1) Practice simply until you get the basics -- crust is key, simple sauce, and cheese. Think pizza Margherita. (sp?)
          2) Letting the dough sit for a loooong time in the fridge -- hours and hours -- helps to develop the flavor.
          3) Be sure to let the dough rest at room temp. so it can relax before trying to "strech".
          4) I prefer a fresher sauce that is not cooked long, if at all. I take a can of Muir Glen fire roasted cubed tomatoes, drain the juice (save and drink; it also makes a neato if weird Bloody Mary), and spread the cubes around. Not really a sauce. If you like a cooked sauce -- and sometimes I do -- jnk's sounds great.
          5) Some toppings are great piled on -- I love mushrooms, all types -- others, like anchovies, are better applied sparingly. Let your palate be your guide.
          6) Cheese. I prefer fresh mozzarella with some part skim. Fresh can be kind of wet. It's fun to play around with others, but the KISS approach is helpful.
          7). If you can, at some point use a sourdough for the crust.
          8) One of my favorite crusts uses 1/3 white, 1/3 W.W.,and 1/3 rye.
          9) Here's an unusual one: No sauce. Drained and squeezed sauerkraut, a little caraway seed, and swiss cheese. Sausage lovers might add some. Hmmm..maybe corned beef -- kind of a Rueben pizza...

          Have fun!


          4 Replies
          1. re: Richard 16

            Ooh, a sourdough pizza crush? Can you elaborate with details or a recipe? I think it sounds delicious and my boyfriend loves all things fermented.

            1. re: seattledebs

              Basic sourdough isn't hard to do, just time consuming. Here's a link:


              I like a strong sourdough flavor; the dough should be fairly loose for easier stretching. I suggest making it fairly thin and letting it proof some before baking, because it rises more slowly.

            2. re: Richard 16

              I make a Ruben pizza! Even use a bit of Thousand Island dressing under the saurkraut...

              You can turn nearly any sandwich into a pizza!

              1. re: scuzzo

                And I thought I was the only one! Every year on 3/17 I make a reuben pizza, with the thousand island dressing. I add a little mozz along with the swiss to give it that pizza gooey goodness, and a sprinkling of dried oregano on top just before putting it on the stone. I wait the whole year before making it again, and am dying for it each year.

            3. I usually just drain a can of "italian style" stewed tomatoes and sprinkle those over the crust.

              1. a very good and authentic simple sauce:

                saute garlic and hot pepper (if desired) in olive oil, add unflavored tomato puree or crushed tomatoes (1 -15 oz can will be plenty for 1 pizza), add salt, pepper, a lil sugar,oregano, a touch of basil (pizza sauce is a moderately "weak" tasting sauce),cook for 15 mins or maybe 1/2 hr at most, and u r done. I add onions and mushrooms (partially cooked in a lil more olive oil in a frypan) on top of the sauce after I begin making the pizza. This is authentic , simple and typical.

                1. Any kind of pesto (basil, cilantro, sun dried tomato, etc.) makes a good pizza sauce. Just be sparing in its application, it's very flavorful.

                  For a tomato sauce, I usually just get a can of whole peeled tomatoes, press a couple garlic cloves into it, and use the stick blender to (carefully) puree it in the can. You can make it as chunky or as smooth as you like. I've tried a few pizza sauce recipes but plain old tomatoes are great all by themselves.

                  I usually top mine with a 50-50 mix of mozzarella and a good harder cheese, usually extra-sharp cheddar but I've used gruyere, gouda, fontina..

                  If you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, the 'Crusty Pizza Dough' recipe in the booklet makes a pretty good crust.

                  1. I'm with buckethead - I use canned tomatoes - which are already cooked drain off the juice . I saute my onions and garlicin olive oil and add to the cold tomatoes with a touch of salt pepper and fresh basil. I wand the whole thing and am good to go. I like the fresh not overly pastey taste and I lke to be able to cook my pizza right away and this way my sauce doesn't have to cool first and it never gets scorched

                    1. I make pizza a lot and my all time favorite sauce is from the Silver Palate New Basics Cookbook. About all you really need is a can of crushed tomatoes, some sprigs of fresh basil, a bay leaf, a clove of garlic and a little salt and pepper. Instead of black pepper I like to use a dash of red pepper flakes. Then let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

                      1. I have to admit, i usually turn to a good bottled sauce for pizza.
                        1) water content. make a watery sauce, and its going to wreak havock on the pizza, if you make a sauce from canned tomatoes, drain very well or cook down till thick.

                        2) sweetness: i'm bad about any sugar to my homemade sauces, and gauging the amount. Bottled sauces are generally right around the mark, and you can doctor it a bit if need be

                        also, its pizza...fun food...and its just my lazy way.

                        1. I don't care for sauced pizzas so I make Pizza Margherita . I top with olive oil, basil and mozzarella. I use thinly sliced tomatoes or sometimes just crush canned tomatoes with my hands.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Hank1

                            Thanks all.....i'll give some of your suggestions a try.....

                          2. I sautee garlic in a generous amount of evoo and brush it on the dough. Then I use Muir Glen crushed tomatoes with basil, and top with Italian fontina, romano and parmesan. So simple, and everybody really loves it. The fontina is a wonderful melting cheese. Bake on a preheated pizza stone in a very hot oven, about 475.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bear

                              Ummmm, now I want to make some pizza. I buy fresh dough from the grocery store-they usually have it in the refrigerated section in the deli. Then I squeeeze all the juice from a can of diced tomatoes add some basil, chopped garlic-done. I like chunky sauce. Top it with mozz-provolone, mushrooms and a strange new favorite-onions-they get all carmelized and give it a great flavor. (I am not an onion fan-I cook with them in things but as a topping-never, until now) There are so many ways. I also love feta cheese on pizza in addition to regular mozz cheese. Good luck!