Everyone needs a good tomato-based pizza sauce. And this one is really, really good…stupendously delicious, in fact. I think it’s the anchovy, but who knows for sure? What can I say? This is a pizza sauce. Because we don’t cook it further, it has a freshness. Use fresh herbs, if possible…I’ve used dried, in a pinch, but they lack that fresh-from-the-garden-type of taste. And if you’re going to the expense, both from a time and cost perspective, you want your pizza to taste stupendous, right? Feel free to add a bit of red pepper flakes. My preference is to sprinkle them on the pizza…but that’s up to you.
Now, about those anchovies…USE THEM! This sauce is absolutely better with them. Every time I teach a class or give a cooking demo, and I use anchovies, people tend to recoil in horror. Until they taste the finished product. And what’s the first thing they say? “This doesn’t taste fishy at all!!” Anchovies tend to enhance the umami factor and they provide some saltiness. I use the oil-packed anchovies that come in little jars; I prefer those that come from Italy or Portugal. You can also purchase anchovy paste in tubes. You may substitute 2 teaspoons of anchovy paste, for the whole ones, but I feel the oil-packed are superior. However, I have both in my fridge…so what do I know? Now, if you want to use anchovies, as a topping on your pizza, and you should. Add a few after it bakes. The minute you remove it from the oven, lay those babies on top…the heat will “bloom” them, but they don’t dry out and they won’t taste fishy.
Shocking as it may seem, you may also note there is no onion in this sauce. I used to add onions, but it waters down the sauce and I just didn’t feel the onion flavored the sauce enough…solution? Use onion slivers as a topping! Much better! Also, for pizza I always slice the onion vertically stem-to-top end, as opposed to across. The vertical slices retain their texture better.
During the summer, when those meaty, garden tomatoes are brimming with flavor, I have been known to seed them, cut them into chunks and toss those in, instead of the canned tomatoes. Talk about fresh tasting! Roma tomatoes work particularly well. You may need a little more tomato paste…it will depend on how juicy your garden tomatoes are. I use about 2 cups of chunks.
This goes together in a flash…I’m not kidding.
Put everything in the blender (I prefer to use a blender, but a food processor works, too). By the way, that’s frost on those chunks of tomato paste; I freeze an entire can at a time; then just break off what I need. Whirl it up well. I should be pretty smooth, but a few smaller chunks are okay. It will be quite thick, but you may thin it, if you prefer. Pour it into a jar and pop it in the fridge. I think this sauce is best made early in the day or the day before. For longer storage, freeze in 1/2 cup portions. Or better yet, pizza tonight and pasta tomorrow night…problem solved!
This is also an excellent pasta sauce, as well as a dipping sauce. I used it on the Grilled Eggplant Parmesan.
Stupendously Delicious Pizza Sauce
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (reserve the liquid)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (I prefer imported)
- 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 large fresh basil leaves
- 4 large-ish fresh oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (I use lots of pepper)
Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until almost smooth (some pieces are okay, but not chunks); season with salt and pepper.
NOTE: If using only vegetables on your pizza, the sauce will need more salt than if you are using pepperoni, ham or other salty ingredients. This is excellent as a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, smeared on a meatball sandwich, Grilled Eggplant Parmesan or simply tossed with pasta. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved juice, one teaspoon at a time. If the sauce is to your liking, use the reserved juice to make some soup!
Stupendously Delicious Pizza Sauce Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.