Pizza sauce

It’s easy to buy pizza sauce to use on your homemade pizza creations, but you can cut back on costs by making your own—while personalizing your sauce to exactly your liking. Homemade pizza sauce can be made from a myriad of tomato products (canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, crushed tomatoes) but save yourself the fuss and stick with the easiest—and perhaps tastiest—method: simple tomato paste. Here’s how to made instant pizza sauce starting with a base of plain old tomato paste.

Start with tomato paste. Tomato paste comes in small cans at a very low cost, and it’s a prime base layer for starting up an instant pizza sauce. While critics of tomato paste used as pizza sauce find it to be too thick and bold-tasting, I find this to be one of its virtues. You can start with pure, concentrated tomato flavor in its thick paste consistency, and tone it down to the flavor intensity and consistency you personally desire.

Add dried spices and seasonings. Dried herbs like parsley, oregano, rosemary, or parsley are perfect starters to get your tomato paste tasting like pizza. Add minced garlic or garlic flakes, salt and pepper, and perhaps crushed red pepper flakes. A pinch of sugar can also be beneficial in rounding out the tomato flavors. Add these all to taste, and start lightly—you’ll be adding more spices later once your liquid is mixed in.

Add liquid for flavor and consistency. The next step is to add liquid, which does two things for your pizza sauce: It adjusts the consistency and adds more flavor/depth. Depending on what flavor profile you’re looking for, you may choose to add any of the following liquids:

  • Balsamic vinegar, which adds depth, ripe berry flavors, and a bold flavor
  • White wine vinegar, which adds a crisp, light, tart flavor
  • Olive oil, which adds sheen, olive flavor, and helps the final sauce spread
  • Water, which adds no flavor but helps you reach your final desired consistency

Starting with a small can of tomato paste, you may end up adding anywhere from ¼ cup to 1 cup combined liquid in total before you reach your desired consistency for your sauce. How thick or thin you want it is entirely up to you. If plain tomato paste is too bold a flavor for your palate, you may end up adding more water to dilute it, and perhaps more olive oil to help it spread. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

Adjust final seasonings. Now that you’ve added your liquids, adjust the levels of spice and seasoning in the sauce. Chances are that it will taste a bit different now that you’ve added liquids, so be prepared to add more salt or pepper.

And use! Your pizza sauce is instantly ready for use. If you like, you can cover the mixture and let it hang out in the refrigerator for an hour or two to let the flavors develop, but this isn’t necessary.

Let us know how you make your own pizza sauce at home!

[Editor’s Note: Look for BPA free containers or check out this tomato paste option that comes in a glass jar.]

Image: jeffreyw