One of my pizza pet peeves is that people use tomato sauce on pizza as if it’s a neutral flavor. Yes, tomato sauce is delicious on pizzas — but no, it doesn’t need to be on every single one! It’s bright, acidic, and full of flavors that can drown out your toppings, or even clash and conflict with them. I absolutely believe that putting tomato sauce on a pizza should be a deliberate choice, not something that’s taken for granted.
With that said, I absolutely love the use of tomato sauce on certain pizzas. There’s nothing better than a pizza with spicy San Marzano tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, garlic confit, and goat cheese. I could seriously eat that every day.
The key to making a delicious sauce from canned tomatoes is to cook the sauce long enough for the canned flavors to dissipate. This recipe involves cooking the tomatoes for about an hour, which might require adding just a little bit of water to achieve the right consistency. Also, I prefer my pizza sauce to be a little bit chunky, but feel free to blend yours more thoroughly and strain it if you want a smoother result.
Spicy San Marzano Tomato Sauce
- 1 28-ounce can of organic whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- chili powder
- 3 6" oregano sprigs
- 1 6" thyme sprig
- Finely dice the onion. Mince the 5 cloves of garlic.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot. When it’s hot, add the onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until translucent and soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Pour the juices from the can of tomatoes into the pot and deglaze it. Add the whole tomatoes.
- Put the three 6’’ oregano sprigs and the 6’’ thyme sprig into the pot along with the onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until it begins to noticeably thicken, about half an hour.
- Add chili powder and more salt to taste, along with the remaining olive oil. Note: keep in mind that the sauce will reduce further, so don’t make it too spicy or salty.
- Continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened further and the flavors are infused, about 20 minutes. If necessary, add a little water during this time to ensure it’s the right consistency.
- With an immersion blender, blend about half of the sauce, then mix together with the remaining chunkier part. (For a smoother sauce, of course you can blend more.) Taste and adjust one more time.