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pizza vs pasta sauce

What is the difference between the two?

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  1. For me, pizza sauce has lots of dried oregano and garlic granules. I like pizza sauce like that and sometimes just plain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      I agree oregano but I try not to use a ragu in other words a sauce cooked with meat, Now of course on the pizza itself what ever you like .Fresh tomato , sliced garlic ,torn basil and e.v.o. with Romano shreds and course black pepper. would be my favorite if I don't put it on spaghetti .

    2. I don't think there is a difference--there's so many tasty variations of both, that I think it really depends on what your preference is. For me preference varies seasonally, weekly or whatever.
      Assuming I have really great homegrown tomatoes, my favorite pizza "sauce" is just a reduction of the drained juices added back in to the uncooked solids and then coarsely pureed plus some salt. Same is delicious on pasta, but I also love a long cooked, herby sauce for either item, too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: splatgirl

        I have cooked down fresh tomatoes for sauce and now I am cooking down a small batch of tomatoes which I want to use for pizza sauce. That is what triggered my question. I cooked garlic and onions in olive oil and am still reducing the sauce.. The cheese is a good idea, I will add it now..Thanks for you opinions.

      2. Store bought pizza sauce, at least what I find in my area, is thicker and has a lot more junk in it (spices, but sometimes chemicals too). Thicker sauce isn't necessary better on top of a pizza.

        My Neapolitan dad never used a cooked tomato sauce on pizza. Just an alternative way, as others have posted.

        1. Pasta sauce: discernible chunks of veggies/tomatoes.

          Pizza sauce: smooth.

          1. I think the vinegar/lemon juice in Peter Reinhart's pizza sauces really set it apart.

            1. I think pizza sauce has a more concentrated flavor. I use jarred spaghetti sauce and sprinkle on more dried oregano, and add fresh basil leaves (or dried if I don't have fresh) and red chile flakes.

              1. Pizza sauce at least the one from Naples is Canned uncooked seeded and crushed Tomatoes almost unadulterated ( especially if the Tomatoes are of great quality) a pinch or two of Salt, Oregano and/or Sugar.
                Pasta sauce is usually cooked and can have a huge range of flavorings, bases and may or may not contain Tomatoes.

                3 Replies
                  1. re: chefj

                    I'm not sure that oregano is a staple ingredient in a napolitan pizza sauce. But I agree with you fully on the rest. The other day I had a pizza from a well regarded pizzeria here in LA whose sauce tasted like amatriciana -- yuck. Pizza sauce should be pure tomato + salt. It's the brightness and acidity on which you build.

                    1. re: fame da lupo

                      Agreed, but you definitely find lots of variation and "special" additions.
                      While Oregano is not typical it is not unheard of.

                  2. What makes the best pizza sauce been a hotly debated topic before on the pizzamaking.com forums where I am very active. Typically, you pizza sauce falls into one of two categories. The first being a fresh, uncooked sauce make from canned whole tomatoes that get run through a food mill, and usually only salt and a few spices are added.

                    The second sauce type is the cooked type, which generally is very very similar to pasta sauce really, if not slightly thicker by the addition of longer cook time or the addition of thickeners such as tomato paste. This type usually has minced garlic and onions in it, along with olive oil and a variety of spices. It is typically much more heavily spiced that the fresh type and has that requisite taste that you get from most large commercial pizza chains and mid-grade to low end independent pizza chains.

                    To be honest, I think that pizza sauce should be uncooked since the heat of the oven is going to do all the thickening and cooking that you need, and the resulting sauce is much brighter. But some like the more caramelized flavors you get in a cooked sauce. Pasta sauce is pretty much the same thing in my eyes, and the flavors and texture I have found is almost always the same.

                    Unless your using uncooked sauce on a pizza, I would say that an average person wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a pasta sauce and cooked pizza sauce.

                    P.S. - A lot of pizza sauces I have seen have discernible chunks of tomato. That isn't correct to say that all pizza sauce is smooth, and that definitely doesn't define all pizza sauces.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rcbaughn

                      Thanks for all the responses. Collectively you answered my question.

                    2. pizza sauce is always on pizza, pasta sauce is always on pasta.

                      1 Reply
                      1. IMO, pizza sauce should be thicker than pasta sauce. Pasta sauce will make soggy pizza, unless you parbake the crust before you put it on and use very little sauce.