Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Favorite Pizza Sauce

As mentioned in the Spanish-Themed Cauliflower Soup recipe, I'm going to post my all-time favorite pizza sauce recipe from Patricia Wells. I haven't made homemade pizza since before Elspeth was born, which is a real shame, especially now that I want to try adding a layer of ground greens. (Taking inspiration from a Pegasus Pizza concoction, we have been putting spinach, frizzled chorizo and pine nuts on our pizza for years).

Funnily enough, Wells doesn't use the sauce for pizza at all, but for penne with zucchini. She calls it pizza sauce because the tomato/garlic/oregano combination is traditional for pizza.

I've modified her recipe over time to reduce the oil somewhat and streamline it since I'm not using the zucchini. I also use an immersion blender on it to ensure that the sauce is well integrated. I like some chunkiness but I want to avoid any wateriness or separation. Using canned ground tomatoes (like Muir Glen makes) is also a good option.

This sauce freezes very well and could be used over pasta if you don't want to make pizza.

3-4 TBSP olive oil
2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (we used to make it spicier in pre-Elspeth days)
6-8 plump garlic cloves, slivered
28 oz can of tomatoes (whole, ground, or chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar to taste (optional)

  1. In an unheated medium skillet or pot, combine the olive oil, rosemary, oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic. Stir to coat thoroughly with oil
  2. Cook over medium heat until the garlic is golden but not at all browned (2-5 minutes)
  3. Add the tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, put them through a food mill or food processor before adding to sauce
  4. Bring sauce to boil then reduce to simmer
  5. Let the sauce simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken, 15-25 minutes
  6. If you haven't used ground tomatoes or whole tomatoes that you've processed, you may wish to use an immersion blender on the sauce now. If the sauce still isn't the texture you prefer, you might wish to add a squirt or two of double-concentrated tomato paste (Cook's Illustrated chose Amore tomato paste in a tube as their winner)
  7. Taste an adjust seasonings. Add balsamic vinegar if desired
  8. Remove from heat and use as a pizza sauce or pasta topping

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