Ok, here's my basic pizza sauce. On lazy nights when I'm in a hurry, sure, I'll use a bit of jar sauce (I like Bertolli Tomato & Basil, real basic) but most times I make my own using a basic crushed tomato as a base. There are two brands for that I typically use as a base:
The Del Monte is a great place to start. It has nicely diced tomatoes of decent quality and taste. There isn't much sweetness so I tend to add a nit of sugar to cut the acidity. The Cirio is a recent favorite for when I'm looking for a more Italian taste... it has a higher sugar content the way I remember pizza sauces in Italy. I don't add sugar when I use Cirio. The box is a bit awkward to open... be careful.
1 - 16 ounce can/box of crushed or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of dried basil
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar (unless using Cirio brand)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of chopped/ground red pepper flakes (if you like heat)
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced (not chopped,or it adds too much heat)
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat for 5 minutes, then use an immersion blender to smooth our the texture to a smooth liquid. If when using the Cirio crushed tomatoes the sauce looks a bit thick, add a bit of water (2-3 tablespoons) and blend again.
For a fresher flavor, combine all the ingredients and don't heat it. Simply blend to a smooth liquid and use this directly on your pizza. Heating the sauce combines the flavors cohesively while using a cold sauce on pizza gives a brighter, fresher flavor. Try it both ways and see what you think.
If you like a chunkier sauce, use the Del Monte diced tomatoes in your recipe but don't blend it.
In summer, you can simply use tomatoes off the vine to make a sauce. Drop the whole tomatoes (San Marzano plum types are great) into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer immediately into an ice water bath. This loosens the skin. Remove from the ice water then using your hands, slip the skins off. Crush them in your hands then use in the recipe preparation above.
I use a small gravy ladle to spread the sauce on my pizza, or you can use a full sized soup ladle like the pizzerias use. Just remember... don't use too much sauce. There are some pizzas that are better with splashed of sauce here and there and the dough showing though in others... the cheese and toppings and olive oil will cover those areas.
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