I’ve been working on homemade pizza for over 40 years. I finally got it to where I like it almost every time. I make all kinds of pizza: New York Style, Napoletano Wood Fired, California Wood Fired, Chicago Deep Dish, Thin Crust. Here at home we have a prep list for pizza that is shared between all of us. In the late summer, I rely on the fresh tomatoes roasted in the preheating wood fired oven, but the rest of the year I start with a good brand of canned tomatoes. I generally go for a petite diced tomato and then use a stick blender to puree it to the desired consistency. If I’m making a deep dish pizza, I’ll leave the tomatoes chunky. I also use this recipe for a quick tomato sauce for lasagna or baked ziti. In the past, I used both Colavita brand crushed tomatoes and Pastene brand crushed tomatoes, but those are currently hard to find here in Madison, so I’m mostly using Cento brand petite diced tomatoes. I do a taste test every 2-3 years. When I’m making a batch of Sunday Gravy that uses 4-6 cans of tomatoes, I’ll buy several different brands and taste each of them. By the way, this is how I figured out that the major national brands (Hunts and DelMonte) just don’t cut it. Neither do the store brands. The organic brand Muir Glen tomatoes are good, but more expensive than Cento. Another value brand, Red Gold, is good too, but I like the others above a little bit more.
For New York and Napoletano styles I tend to omit the fennel seed. But, I find that as the crust of the pizza gets thicker, you need to up the spice in the sauce. For that, I like to add crushed fennel seed. Same goes when making the crust with more whole wheat flour. One of my favorite none pizza uses for this sauce is spaghetti squash with Pineapple and tomato sauce. I definitely kick the fennel up to 1 teaspoon for that.
Pizza Sauce Recipe
— 28 oz can of Crushed tomatoes (1 can) or Petite Diced Tomatoes
— 1 tsp Oregano
— 1/2 tsp salt (if crushed tomatoes) or 1 tsp if Cento Petite Diced
— 1/2 tsp Crushed Pepper flakes
— 2 med cloves of garlic–crushed or minced: I like to use my microplane to grate it.
–optional– 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed: for deep dish pizza or whole wheat crusts or for the simple tomato sauce.
–Dump everything into a bowl. Blend with stick blender to desired consistency.