When you’re planning to have your friends and family over for homemade pizza, you might feel like creating your own topping sauce from scratch is too much work.
However, making pizza sauce requires very little effort or expertise, and often the result is far healthier, tastier, and more satisfying than anything you’ll find in a store-bought jar.
There are two simple ways to cook your own sauce, and neither requires expensive, exotic ingredients or a complex prepping process. Before delving into a step-by-step walkthrough of these cooking methods, you should understand why it’s so beneficial to make your own pizza sauce.
1. Why Should You Make Pizza Sauce from Scratch?
You might wonder why you should bother learning how to make pizza sauce from scratch, when it’s so easy to pick some up at the grocery store. However, there are a few excellent reasons why you should try making your own pizza sauce at home.
It’s healthier than store-bought pizza sauce
Many store-bought pizza and pasta sauces are incredibly unhealthy, filled with a high amount of saturated fat, salt and sugar.
When you make your own pizza sauce, you’re using natural sugar sources like tomatoes and fibrous foods like garlic and raw onion. You also have complete control over any salt added to the mix, so you can create a sauce that’s nutritious and tasty.
It’s tastier than store-bought options
Home-cooked food tastes fresher and has more character than most store-bought options. Studies show that people are more likely to enjoy something they made themselves over a seemingly identical commercial option. That’s because we enjoy the process of physically preparing and engaging with the food.
Cooking is great for your mental health
Cooking is a great way to boost your mental wellbeing, giving you a sense of achievement and control over your physical health and body. It can also be an effective de-stressing tool, allowing you to be creative and take your mind off the pressures of everyday life for 30-60 minutes.
2. How Do You Make Pizza Sauce from Scratch?
There are a couple of ways to make pizza sauce from scratch. You can either use a blender to create the topping in a few minutes, or you can cook the sauce in a pan over a low, consistent heat until it thickens naturally.
Here’s a step-by-step rundown of how to make pizza sauce from scratch.
Method 1: Blending your sauce
This is the simplest way to make a tasty and fresh pizza sauce. Make sure you have a 14.5 oz. can of whole tomatoes, a few fresh cloves of garlic, some balsamic vinegar, a drop of olive oil, some sugar, and salt and pepper.
Peel four cloves of garlic and pop them into the blender. Use the pulse setting to mince the garlic, then add your 14.5 oz can of tomatoes to the mix. It’s best to use whole tomatoes rather than diced ones when you’re making sauces, as they’re more likely to break down fully.
After you’ve added the tomatoes, splash 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of sugar, ¾ teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar into the blender. Season with some black pepper. Then blend the whole mixture until you’re satisfied with the consistency. Some people prefer a chunkier topping, while others like a much smoother blend of sauce on their margherita or pepperoni pizza.
If you’d rather use fresh tomatoes than canned ones, peel them beforehand, otherwise you’ll find bits of tomato skin in your sauce. You may also need to pat down the tomatoes with a paper towel to remove surplus moisture and avoid making your pizza sauce too watery and thin.
Method 2: Cooking your sauce in a pot
This method may take longer than the blending option, but you’ll create a deliciously thick and flavorful sauce.
Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron or heat proof saucepan over a low heat. Once the oil’s hot, add 1 finely chopped onion and a pinch of salt.
After 15 minutes, when the onion is beginning to turn golden, crush a single garlic clove into the pan and add two 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes. You’re not using an electronic blender with this method, so use diced tomatoes. If you add whole tomatoes, you may have difficulty breaking down the sauce into a smoother blend manually.
You should also add around 3 tablespoons of tomato puree to your saucepan at this point, to help thicken your sauce and give it an intense, fresh flavor. Pop a bay leaf in as well. The reserved and slightly bitter taste of this herb brings a lighter edge to the sauce. Finally, add a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar and season with dried oregano. If you’ve got fresh oregano on hand, remember to add more to compensate for the intensity difference between dried and fresh herbs.
Bring the sauce to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until you’re happy with the thickness. For most people, this will take between 30 and 40 minutes.
Add some fresh basil to the sauce before topping your pizza dough.
The best way to enjoy a nutritious and tasty home-made pizza with friends and family is to take the time to prepare and cook your own sauce. Whether you use the blending or simmering method, you’ll create a flavorful and healthy topping that elevates the overall taste of your meal.