I Dare You To Make A Pizza Night–Sauce

The Make a Pizza Night Post will appear Sunday around 7pm–at which point this sentence will turn into a link

I’m serious, man.   Make a pizza tonight.

Picture stolen from some chick on tumblr


Sauce.  You can get some damn fine sauce at the store, but part of the joy of pizza is the path you take to get there, so I offer this.

Get a 28oz can of the best damn tomatoes you can buy.  San Marzano tomatoes.  Or, if you’re like us, get some frozen tomatoes from the deep freeze or a jar of self-canned tomatoes from the pantry shelf–if using the latter, a small can of good quality tomato past speeds the process.  In a pinch, you can use puree, but that’s cheating.  Of course, we’ll be cheating ourselves tonight on one of our pies–I’ve got a jar of locally made sauce from Labriolla’s Italian Deli & Grocery–and cheating is perfectly acceptable.  Abandon any recipe that calls for adding sugar.

While your crust is rising….

28oz tomatoes, fresh or canned, or puree
tomato paste if you want
olive oil
1 head of garlic
salt, pepper,
parsley, basil, oregano as desired
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium low heat in a large skillet, being careful not to scorch or burn the oil (you’ll smell it if you do, in which case just wash out the pan and start again being more careful and using less heat.)

Roughly mince about 4 cloves of garlic (or more if you’re feeling it, or less if you’re–well, there’s no need for insults) and toss it into the olive oil.  Cook it just long enough that the garlic releases its scent–I don’t know how else to explain it, because I’m not a trained cook, but sauteed garlic reaches a point where it releases a puff of sweet, garlicky goodness–pay attention and you’ll notice for yourself.  That scent means that it is perfectly done, and another 30 seconds will ruin it.  Get it off the heat, or get your tomatoes in there.

Put your tomatoes into the skillet and stir to mix in the olive oil and garlic.  Add an optional half cup of a hearty, clean wine–whatever you’ve got handy or open.  Then settle in, and stir every few minutes, until the sauce is reduced.  It will turn darker as you cook–that’s the sugars in the tomatoes changing.  I have an old Italian sauce recipe that calls for cooking all day until it turns brownish, the sugars partially carmelized, but we don’t need that for a nice, wholesome tomato sauce.  If the sauce does get too thick, simply add water a teaspoon at a time until you get a good consistency.  When you’re nearly done, add a tablespoon each of fresh finely chopped parsley, basil, and two teaspoons of oregano, a pinch of black pepper, and a scant teaspoon of salt–and cook it for about 5 more minutes–you’ll get a much better, fresher taste from your herbs this way than if you cooked them all along with the sauce. If you’re using dried oregano, leave it out of the sauce and just sprinkle it very lightly over the cooked pizza when you’re done.  Some people cook onions or peppers in their sauce–don’t.  Better to dice them and add them as a topping.

3 responses to “I Dare You To Make A Pizza Night–Sauce”

  1. I cheat on my sauce. I’ve never made it with canned tomatoes. Instead, I just start with canned tomato sauce, add some fresh garlic, salt and pepper, and the herbs and let it simmer for an hour or two. Your comment about adding the herbs at the end may be worth a try at some point.

    The other thing I do when I have enough basil in the garden is to make pesto. One of my kids absolutely loves pesto as the sauce for his pizza. I do as well every now and then. One of my difficulties is that everybody in the family likes things a little different. So, I end up making an individual pizza for everybody. The wife prefers olive oil and garlic instead of sauce or pesto. And she’ll have just about any topping except for sausage and onions. My oldest always wants the same thing — pepperoni, prosciutto, and olives. For a while he also liked mushrooms, but has changed. My youngest just wants the meats, no veggies. And I’m a minimalist. Just give me a bit of prosciutto and I’m happy, except for every now and then when I add some onions, sausage, linguica, or something else.

    I think that’s one of the great things about pizza … there are an infinite number of variations to the thing. Enjoy yours tonight.


    1. We must be like long lost brothers. We have at least 40 pounds of pesto frozen in meal-sized portions in ziploc bags in the deep freeze. My wife is a crazy mad pesto chef–we’ll eat a large portion of that through the course of the year. I used jarred sauce this time from this place: http://www.labriolaitalianmarkets.com/products.asp?cat=13


      1. The massive amounts of frozen pesto … once upon a time, a co-worker mentioned freezing it in ice cube trays. So, when I have plenty of basil, that’s what I do. Makes for nice little chunks of pesto for later.


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