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Pizza Sauce 101 – An Introduction to Pizza Sauce

A good pizza sauce can make or break a pizza. Once you know the right ingredients, you can make your own pizza sauce that is as good as or better than what you can get at your local pizzeria. It may take a few tries to perfect it, but it will be worth it.

Tomatoes form the basis of pizza sauce. Fresh plum tomatoes are meaty and have traditionally been used for tomato sauce of all kinds. Once they are picked, they will need to be blanched, peeled, de-seeded, and chopped before cooking. If fresh tomatoes are not available, you can always use canned tomatoes. They are available year round.

How to Choose the Right Canned Tomatoes

It is easy to find canned tomatoes at your local market. You will find them whole, chopped, diced, or crushed. Tomato puree and paste is also available. They are more concentrated. Combining both types can make for a great sauce. If you have a few fresh tomatoes, you can add them in as well. All tomatoes should be a bright red in color when the can is opened. A darker color indicates that they used too much heat in the processing, and an orange hue suggests the tomatoes were under ripe.

Whatever tomato products you have chosen to use need to be cooked together. If you have chopped canned or fresh tomatoes, you will get a wonderful texture. Cook over a low heat, stirring frequently. Keep an eye on it so the sauce does not cook too long.

Other Ingredients for Your Sauce

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With a thick tomato base, all that is needed are your herbs and spices to make delicious pizza sauce recipes. Pepper, salt and some garlic are the necessary ingredients to round out your sauce. A little sugar comes in handy as well to help cut the acidity of the tomatoes. If you used fresh, low acid tomatoes, it might not be needed.

Most pizza sauces contain herbs. Oregano is the most common herb used in pizza sauce. Marjoram is very similar to oregano. It can be substituted for oregano if you prefer a milder form. Another traditional Italian herb is sweet basil. Other herbs commonly used in pizza sauce include tarragon, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. If you use bay, be sure to remove it from the sauce before putting it on the pizza.

If you like your sauce spicy, add a little cayenne, red pepper flakes or hot paprika. Remember that a little goes a long way. A little pinch adds some punch to your sauce. If some family members are not into spice, you can keep your red pepper flakes on the table to be applied as desired by your diners when they sit down to eat.

Adding a little olive oil to your sauce will give it that traditional Italian flavor. It adds some authenticity. The green olive oils will taste more of fresh olives. A little bit of your favorite wine can add more depth to your sauce and a bit of richness as well.

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