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A very approximate version of Bruce’s pizza sauce

There are a few ways to make pizza sauce, depending on how lazy you are. Our favourite sauce is cooked down from good tomatoes for a moderate amount of time, and my fastest sauce comes from a tin of crushed tomatoes or sauce (thickened with paste). For pizza sauce, better tomatoes make a difference, as cheaper ones are less sweet and flavourful.

This is loosely based on Serious Eat’s New York Style pizza sauce, and one I’ve made for more than 20 years now.

Main ingredients

  • 1 (820ml/28oz) tin of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp of tomato paste (to add some punch + thicken things up faster)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 small yellow onion (and/or shallot)
  • 1-2 tsp of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • (Bonus) 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter

Alternative ingredients

  • 1 jar (or medium tin) of crushed tomatoes or
  • 1 jar (or tin) of tomato sauce and 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, honey, or sugar (depending on how bland your tomatoes are)

I don’t add chilis or paprika anymore, leaving these spices for toppings instead. Paprika, especially smoked paprika can make a sauce taste heavy (muddling the fine and sweet notes of the tomatoes).

Directions

  1. Dice onions, garlic, and shallot and set aside.
  2. Optional: crush tomatoes by hand or with a pastry cutter (or with a hand blender). Even more optionally, process the tomatoes in a food mill or by forcing through a fine mesh strainer with a spatula.
  3. Sweat the onion, garlic, and herbs in 2-3 tbsp of olive oil until aromatic (but not browned) for something like 2-3 minutes.
    Reduce heat and add tomatoes and oregano.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste. I always do this 2-3 times (tasting between), so that I don’t oversalt.
  5. Simmer at the lowest heat that will just barely bubble for 20-30 minutes. You can go longer, but not much shorter than 20 minutes. Tinned tomatoes mellow out nicely only after some simmering (otherwise can taste a bit “tinny” or harsh).

If you find the sauce tastes a bit bitter:

  • Filter it through a fine mesh strainer (removing seeds),
  • Add some balsamic, honey, or sugar (or some of all 3)
  • Add a bit more salt