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Help...Need a good pizza sauce recipe

Hi everyone, I am kinda new to Chow and I absolutely love to read all the threads. I have gotten quite a bit information and tidbits to help me out in my kitchen. Lately I have been baking bread by the dozens and just giving it away for others to enjoy. I made homemade pizza yesterday with a homemade sauce recipe I found online and it just didn't taste authentic. I have a pizza stone and a pizza peel so I had no trouble getting the pizza in and out of the oven. I preheated my oven for 45 minutes to an hour also. The pizza was beautiful looking but the taste was no where near what I expect pizza to taste like. I do so enjoy the baking part and saving all kinds of money buy making my own but the taste just isn't there. I am hoping you will share yours?

For my sauce I slow simmered for 2 hours:

1 can crushed tomato
1 can tomato paste
1/4 red wine
1 tbs minced onion
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Am I missing something? It just tasted bland to me and not like pizza sauce.

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  1. I made homemade pizza for years when the kids were young and got a lot of raves from friends who were always welcome!

    I never used cooked sauce. I used Pastene "Kitchen Ready" canned tomatoes, and would ladle it on the dough in a circular motion from the center to near the edge. I would use about 1 & 1/2 large ladlefuls, to make a large pizza. I never covered every speck with sauce, keeping it a bit of the dough showing. After that I would sprinkle with good parmesean reggiano, then very good mozzarella. Add S & P, and a drizzle of good olive oil. Good luck, have fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcel215

      2nd that, I also use a raw plum tomatoes that I crush and some fresh oregano.

    2. I have had really good results using Peter Reinhardt's recipes. You can find the one I love here--it is the first one listed

      1. For my pizza sauce, I tend to go a much lighter much quicker sauce. Basically sautee up some crushed garlic and crushed red pepper for a minute or two, then add a 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, a big pinch of salt and pepper and some whole fresh herbs (parsley/thyme/basil) and break up the tomatoes and cook for maybe 15-25 minutes until the tomatoes have fallen apart and the sauce thickened. If you want thicker, sautee some tomato paste in the garlic/crushed red pepper oil for a minute or two before adding the can of tomatoes.

        One other thing I've noticed while making my pizza, is the dough recipe I use was not nearly salty enough, so once i started adding more salt, it really moved from good to great. Also, I agree with mcel215, that you should add some olive oil to the pizza just prior to putting into the oven.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ESNY

          I also drizzle oil on top before putting it into the oven.
          I also infuse some oil with smashed garlic on the stove and then brush it on the crust before adding the sauce. Got this tip from chow.

        2. Not a recipe or home made, but works for us.

          Every Friday we have homemade pizza for dinner. I work and do not have time to make the sauce from scratch. But I do make fresh dough each week.

          For our sauce I use a small tin of tomato paste, I add half a tin of water, dried basil, oregano, garlic (fresh), rosemary (fresh) and a bit of heat (varies between tabasco, chipotle, cayenne etc). in the summer when I have fresh herbs in the garden I use them instead of dried.

          Mixed up this makes enough robust tasting sauce for three large pizzas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mlgagnon

            I also use a small can of tomato paste as a base. However, I am very lazy so use granulated garlic and onion (no salt), basil, oregano, chili flake, olive oil, black pepper, salt and any other herbs that I am in the mood for. There is only my husband and I so I use part of it for one pizza then freeze the rest for another time. Quick, easy and cheap!

          2. I think the best pizza sauce is the simplest. Start with a can of San Marzano tomatoes (a variety of plum tomato). Heat up a little of your best olive oil. Throw in 3 whole garlic cloves, that you have cut in half, and let them simmer until they nearly go a little golden. Throw in about 6 fresh basil leaves and let those go until they are a gorgeous dark, translucent green. Turn off the heat. Squish the tomatoes with your hand. Add them to the pan with a pinch of salt. Turn the heat back on to medium. Let it come to a simmer, and then turn down to low for about fifteen minutes. Add a drizzle of your best olive oil, off the heat. Done. fayefood.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: fayehess

              Me like. I add a bay leaf or two to the tomatoes. Trick is not to overcook. Also, after spreading the sauce on the pizza dough I sprinkle the pizza with a healthy pinch of Italian oregano (more pungent than the usual Mexican variety) before adding toppings.

            2. I would add some herbs to your recipe, like oregano or basil. Personally I find a splash of balsamic vinegar does well in pizza sauce.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jtpeters

                I forgot to mention I did use oregano. I made some more pizza dough today and I am gonna make a few mini pizzas with different sauces. I took everyones advice and I also found a recipe for a sweeter sauce. I will let you all know how they come out and thanks for replying so fast with great ideas!


              2. My concotion which is the only pizza sauce I like, not snobby, but its the one thing Im most passionate about that I make at home doesnt use many measurements but usually goes off a base that I change up time to time. I use many of the items you have listed but:

                I usually add in either ground turkey/chicken or tempeh
                use several bulbs of roasted garlic
                chopped jalapeno sauteed in olive oil and a good hoppy beer that cooks down (I use this for the sweetness when the malts cook down rather than sugar)
                dollop of anchovy paste
                fresh chopped basil

                Ive tried new things here and there but thats the base. best of luck and the most fun way to try these things out is to taste them.

                1. Easy, delicious pizza sauce:
                  Drain well one 15-16 oz. can of diced tomatoes. Put in blender with 2 small chopped cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. dried oregano and 1 tsp. sugar; blend until smooth. Do NOT cook. Spread on the pizza dough and add your toppings. Bake as usual.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Anne

                    Yum, that sounds good! I am going to try it next time!

                    Don't you just love all of the great ideas on this website! I am absolutely addicted to it! Thanks everyone!

                  2. I never use pizza sauce.

                    My favorite tomato based topping is to use drained canned tomatoes (San Marzano are best) that I crush with my hand. Add onion cheese etc. Another option is to use thinly sliced tomatoes when flavorful home grown varieties are available.

                    1. Of course there's a million variations but this is what we have been using for years with good success. Unlike some others, I just think adding sugar removes a nice little tomato bite that I like.

                      • 1 – 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes;
                      • ½ a small can of tomato paste;
                      • ½ small onion, fine dice;
                      • dried oregano and basil to taste, a tsp or so of each;
                      • olive oil for sautéing.

                      Sauté the onions in a little bit of olive oil to soften. When softened, add the balance of ingredients and let it simmer, stirring occasionally. You want it to be fairly thick so it won’t turn the dough into mush.

                      1. I do a can each of crushed tomato and tomato puree, and let them strain for an hour or so til almost dry. Then cook for about a half hour til no water left at all (test by spooning a little on a plate and tipping it). I don't think you need any wine, but definitely salt and pepper (without that, can't help it being bland!) And basil is a main ingredient to me.

                        1. Here's the one I use most of the time. It's fast, easy and good. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cat_c...

                          Hope the link works--- and that you like it!

                          1. It looks like you might need a pinch of salt or two.

                            1. Here is what we prefer. It is a no cook sauce and very good.

                              Simple No Cook Marinara or Pizza Sauce

                              1 8 Oz Can Tomato Sauce
                              1 tsp Dry Oregano
                              1/2 tsp Marjoram
                              1/2 tsp Dry Basil
                              1/4 tsp Garlic salt

                              Combine and let sit for 1 hour while the dough rises.

                              For Each Pizza:
                              Preheat oven to 420-450F. Spoon 1/3 cup sauce on dough and spread to within 1" of edge. Distribute a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese (I used a little cheddar, too) on sauce, then add whatever other toppings you want.

                              1. It's an old thread...but....I was doing a little research and came across this.
                                I've used it before. It's simple, easy to make, and makes a great pizza sauce.


                                1. You need 2 tsp of dried oregano and 1 tsp of dried basil. Id also double the amount of dried garlic.

                                  Id leave the sugar out of it, but that's just me.

                                  1. So long as this thread has been revived...

                                    Pizza sauce is easy.

                                    Use good canned tomatoes. They are cooked. No need to cook the sauce.

                                    Blend up the canned tomatoes with dried oregano, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and a bit of salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you are looking for American-style sauce, add some fresh minced garlic and a bit of sugar. Even more Americanized? Throw in some ground-up parmesan to up the umami.

                                    Want to back up and make it more Italian? Just use crushed canned tomatoes directly on your pizza, then sprinkle with dried oregano, olive oil, and salt.

                                    Basil should always be fresh and is put on the pizza after it comes out of the oven.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sandylc

                                      I always simmer the sauce, just to get rid of the excess moisture. For old fashioned NY/NJ pizza, that's a must. One thing I can't abide is a soggy crust.

                                    2. Try just draining a can of really good tomatoes and crush by hand and see what you think of the result.
                                      seriously, just try it once.

                                      1. No need to cook pizza sauce...just blend good can of crushed tomatoes and add oregano and salt. that's it. it won't make dough soggy unless your trying to make giant pizzas. If everyone in the family likes chilli you can add chilli flakes too.

                                        If you watch docos on Italian pizzas they don't usually cook the sauce

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: grapsta

                                          They do drain them though. Not that I've watched any docos ;-) just my local pizza makers.

                                          1. re: grapsta

                                            And try topping with cheese first.
                                            Your raw sauce is my raw sauce!

                                          2. Might not be for everyone, but we use a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes and put them in a strainer over a bowl for a few hours. We use the solids in the strainer as the sauce - it's thicker, but keeps the pizza from getting soggy. We add Herbs de Provence on top of the tomatoes before adding toppings.

                                            1. Canned crushed tomatoes are now the only pizza sauce I use. No doctoring, no straining, no prep. Right out of the can, ladled onto the pizza and spread with the back of a tablespoon. Took me 30 years of home pizza baking to get to this point.

                                              Want garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes or salt and pepper, etc? No need to cook it into the sauce before you bake. Just sprinkle it on after the sauce is spread.

                                              The catch is you have to have the right crushed tomatoes. That may require trying several brands. I start by reading the ingredients list. You want it to say tomatoes, with as few other ingredients as possible. Depending on where you live, the best product may be domestic or may be imported from Italy. Start with an open mind.

                                              Sogginess isn't an issue. Have your oven as hot as it can get, with or without a stone. Spread olive oil on the stretched or rolled dough before anything else goes on. Don't be too liberal with the sauce. Get the pizza topped and into the oven as quickly as possible. Sogginess is less likely if you use toppings sparingly, like the Italians do, rather than making a thick, drippy pie, as the Americans tend to do.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: emu48

                                                My topping is not sparing, nor is it drippy. It is what I grew up with, and I make no apologies for that. Crushed and pureed cans are what I use. I have hung out in a lot of pizzeria kitchens so I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

                                                1. re: emu48

                                                  I've had plenty of pizza in Italy that is not sparing in toppings, such as at Il Fornaio in Bergamo. And their "slices" - cut with scissors, big and square - are neither drippy nor soggy, but thick and flavorful.

                                                  1. Proper pizza sauce is not supposed to be cooked. Most NYC pizzerias and high-end places that make Neopolitan style pizza use a sauce made from pureed canned tomatoes, salt, and a few light spices.

                                                    The reason your pizza sauce tasted bland is because you cooked it to death. Think about it. The tomatoes were cooked once during the canning process. Then you cooked them again for 2 hours on the stovetop, followed by a third cooking in the oven. By the time your pizza was done, all of the flavor had been cooked out of the tomatoes.

                                                    Cooked sauces almost always end up tasting like pasta sauces. That bright, fresh tomato flavor we're accustomed to at pizza joints is the result of using a raw sauce.

                                                    Making pizza sauce is actually the easiest part of homemade pizza. Here is the standard recipe I use for a 14" pie:

                                                    - about a cup of whole or crushed San Marzano tomatoes or passata (whole tomatoes preferred)
                                                    - big pinch of greek oregano
                                                    - big pinch of dried basil
                                                    - tiny pinch of granulated garlic (optional)
                                                    - pinch of kosher salt
                                                    - fresh cracked black pepper

                                                    Puree the tomatoes using a hand blender or food processor. Crush the herbs with your fingers as you add them to the sauce. Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir and let marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

                                                    That's all there is to it. I make the sauce at the beginning and leave it to marinate while the stone heats and I prep the rest of the ingredients. It's ready to go by the time I've rolled out the dough and start dressing the pizza.