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We're making pizza for dinner tonight, and instead of buying sauce, I'd prefer to make my own. I've never made sauce specifically for pizza before, but I often make marinara/bolognese sauces for pasta.

The base of my sauces (without any extra veggies or meat for the bolognese) is a can of tomatoes, some tomato paste, white wine, onion, garlic, chili pepper, and herbs. If I made my normal sauce and then just puréed it, would it work for my pizza? I am concerned it might not be thick enough - any suggestions?

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Just skip out on the tomato paste and white wine. Experiment with the rest. Personally, I like my pizza sauce simple -- crushed tomatoes, some herbs/spices, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. But different strokes for different folks. After a few rounds, you'll settle on something you like. –  Sean Hart Jul 20 '11 at 1:11
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There is no reason pizza sauce needs to be puréed. Unless you're going for a really thing layer, I suppose. –  derobert Jul 21 '11 at 22:03
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6 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You will need to be careful about extra liquid in your sauce. Your base recipe should be adaptable. Go ahead and use the garlic and onion, but I would omit the white wine. If you are using canned whole tomatoes, drain liquid before using them. Simmer it to reduce it down until it is "spreadable" rather than "pour-able".

We make a lot of home-made pizza sauce with canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and puree'd in blender. Salt, pepper, garlic and a few spices. My husband loves bright red color in the sauce so a bit of citric acid does the trick.

Enjoy your pizza.

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Do you mean to simmer down the liquid in the can? I usually buy whole tomatoes (which obviously have liquid in the can) and chop them up, would it be better to use crushed/etc.? –  Daniel Vandersluis Jul 18 '11 at 18:03
    
This is pretty much what I ended up doing. I carmelized my onions, strained the tomatoes and threw everything solid (garlic, herbs, tomatoes and onion) in the processor. Then I added the tomato liquid after it reduced a bit, added some tomato paste and red wine (the colour was a bit too orange beforehand) and it was perfect! Thanks :) –  Daniel Vandersluis Jul 19 '11 at 6:38
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You can absolutely do this. I tend to just use ground tomato with a little salt and pepper--sometimes cooked down, sometimes not. But really you can use any sauce that tastes good to you on a pizza.

If you're concerned about the sauce not being thick enough, I'd definitely suggest cooking it down some. Cook at a very low boil/fast simmer with the lid off. Use a wide, shallow pan if you can, as that will speed the cooking off of the water. Depending on how thick your sauce is to start, and how thick you want to end up, you may have trouble with scorching on the bottom of your pot, so watch your temperature carefully.

If you have plenty of time, you can pour your sauce on an edged tray and put it into a 225 degree F oven for a while to dehydrate/thicken. This takes quite a while, but the risk of burning/scorching is very low.

You can add thickening agents like starch, but the texture changes very significantly.

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I don't really have time to have it sit in the oven for hours; would using more tomato paste (say, a whole can or more) make it thicken nicely? I suppose that will affect the taste though. –  Daniel Vandersluis Jul 18 '11 at 18:06
    
It would definitely affect the taste. And there's nothing in tomato paste that would increase the thickness of the sauce (except that tomato paste is thick)--no effect like adding starch or something. If you don't have time to do the oven thing, then do it on the stovetop, but be wary of scorching. –  bikeboy389 Jul 18 '11 at 21:32
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Add two or three times the quantity of onion you would use for pasta sauce, and cook them thoroughly. As well as thickening the sauce when you blend it will taste a lot more like pizza sauce. The only other essential is plenty of oregano.

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Depending on the style of pizza you're going for, it might not take any effort at all.

Some pizzarias just use crushed tomatoes, and nothing more.

If I'm working from canned, I'll use whole peeled, slice then in half to remove most of the seeds, then crush them. When I'm using fresh, I just slice them and place them on the pie.

(then add garlic & herbs on top of the tomatoes, which gives you a chance to vary the amount for each person's tastes)

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If you don't have time to cook it down enough for the pizza sauce consistency, try adding 1 can of tomato paste to it while you're cooking down. That is a "quick" trick for getting it right for pizza.

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I find that crushed tomatoes work fine for pizza sauce. I dice 1 - 1.5 large Spanish onions, sautee with 3-4 cloves of garlic in olive oil until soft, then add a can of crushed tomatoes, some salt, oregano and some dried chili flakes. (I like a somewhat spicy sauce, so I often add extra garlic and/or chili flakes). Simmer off some of the extra liquid from the tomatoes, give everything a chance to break down, and you should be good to go. If you find that it's too thin for your taste, add extra onions or another vegetable like bell peppers and puree the whole thing.

Definitely avoid adding extra liquid (like your white wine).

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