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Old 11-05-2019, 06:34 PM   #1
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Pizza Sauce

Several decades ago I had a day gig in the Los Feliz area of Southern California. When the session ended (late afternoon), I was scrambling to get out of there, when the producer and other engineers basically told me "NO! you're gonna come with us to get some pizza". A few blocks down the street was this whole in the wall pizza place named "Luigi's", where they ordered a couple of pies with "extra cheese and slightly extra sauce".

I immediately understood why they (almost) forced me to remain for this. This was a decidedly New York style of pizza with great, high risen crust, dripping with cheese, and heavily sauced. It was so good that the only thought that came into my head was that to put any toppings on this pizza would be an abomination. Despite the amazing crust and really good mozzarella, the star of the show was a sweet, acidic, and aromatic herb laden savory sauce that was astounding. Since then I have tried to repeat it with less than ideal results. My best to date was something like this:

3 tbsp olive oil
2 anchovy filets
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 can (28 oz) whole peeled “San Marzano” tomatoes (hand crushed)
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 tsp sugar
very small pinch baking soda

Saute anchovies in oil over medium low heat until sizzling.
Add garlic and continue heating 60 seconds.
Add fresh oregano and reduce heat to low as it goes and stir a couple minutes.
Stir in chile flakes and then dry oregano.
Stir in tomatoes and raise heat to medium.
Stir in salt, sugar and black pepper, bring to simmer.

Simmer gently for 35-40 minutes.
Stir in baking soda and your done.

And while good, it is off the mark. I think it needs onion and maybe wine/vinegar, and maybe other herbs as it just doesn't have the explosive flavor that Luigi's sauce had.

So what is your favorite New York pizza sauce recipe?

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Old 11-05-2019, 07:00 PM   #2
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Pizza sauces tend to be simpler that pasta sauces. I'd go with olive oil, onion and garlic to start. Then stir in the anchovy, oregano and tomato. Salt and pepper to taste. You don't need both sugar and baking soda. I'd skip the sugar.
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Old 11-05-2019, 09:34 PM   #3
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The herbs in pizza sauce reslly come out in the oil, as does the garlic. Heat your olive oil until fragrant, then turn the heat to simmer. Add diced onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the oregano and garlic, along with. 1/2 tsp. Dried sweet basil. Cook for 5 minutrs. Add a 6 oz can of tomato paste, then your fresh tomato and simmer for 15 minutes
Remove from heat amd place in you refrigerator
for at least 3 hours, or overnight of you can. And I would double the amount of oregano. The onion and tomato paste will ballace the acifity of the sauce and improve the textyure (thiclness). Letting it rest will allow the flavors to permeate the sauce without evaporating out from cooking. I hope this helps you find your perfect sauce.

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Old 11-06-2019, 04:12 AM   #4
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Having grown uo on New York Pizza, and having had pizza in about 25 + different states, it has been a rare day that I find somewhere else, what Im used to eating in NY ( there was this one place in St. Johnsbury Vermont , about 45 minutes from the Canadian Border, which claimed it had NY style pizza, and damn if they weren't right. Caught me by complete surprise).

For me, the perfect slice is firm crisp dough. soft enough to fold in 1/2 , but firm enough not to give ( when folded ) by the weight of the cheese and sauce, except the first inch or so of the point cheesy tip, which has to droop a little. **Crust can't be burnt on the bottom**. Cheese has to be enough to cover the slice, but not too much that when folded, half of it fall off the slice. Mozzarella the has a slight saltiness to it. No othee cheese. Cooked enough so the cheese has a little firmness to it, and almost a chewy texture, but not enough that it has burnt spots. Oregano sprinkled on top. And now the sauce. I do like more sauce than less, but not enough to drip down your arm or soggy the crust. For me , a simple sauce is better. Olive oil, salt and pepper, hint of garlic but not too much, hint of basil, but not too much. No oregano , as it will be lightly sprinkled on top of the cheese. A slight sweetness, Ideall from the tomatoes, but if the tomatoes aren't sweet enough, then a little sugar will do. And that taste that it has been sitting and cooking in the pot for a bit. Smooth with no chunks of tomatoes in it. And finally, a sprinkle of garlic powder just before I eat it. I prefer a slice that has sit for a few minutes ( not right out of the oven). Cheese is a little firmer, and less risk of burning the top of your mouth.

I agree that a tru slice shouldn't have any toppings on it, as the Crust + Sauce + Cheese is one of those perfect trifecta combinations of flavors and texture. That. doesn't mean that an added topping isn't good, just changes the dimension of the slice. Personally I like onions and mushrooms on a slice . I rarely go with more, and usually try to stick to just one topping. Back in the day when I ate everything, I ordered one of those everything pies and the toppings basically distracted from the general pizza flavor, half fell off anyway, and it changed the physical properties of the cheese and overall pizza itself.

So basically:
Olive oil
Minced garlic
( Im not opposed to putting in some minced onion, but not too much)
S & P
A few shakes of Basil
Canned tomatoes ( Ideally milled to get a good smooth consistency )
Pinch or two of sugar, depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes
Cooked down to a slightly thick consistency so not to wet to soggy the crust
A few shakes of oregano to go no into the sauce, but onto of the pizza just before cooking.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:20 PM   #5
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Somehow if you get really good Pizza the Place must be named "Luigi's"
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:42 PM   #6
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Somehow if you get really good Pizza the Place must be named "Luigi's"
We had the opposite experience with " George's "

We were up in Massachusetts, and went into a pizzeria named " George's " and we all got sick immediately afterwards. Luckily I was able to drive quickly. A few months later, we were in another state and ate at a place called " Georgia's ". Once again, within minutes of completing our meal, it was race home. Following year, we were in Pennsylvania, and went into a place called " Peter Pan's Pizzeria". Figured we were in the clear until the woman ahead of us, who was speaking to the person behind the counter said " Ok GEORGE, speak to you later", with that , me and my wife looked at each other and decided to go with the hoagies instead of pizza . Now its the running joke in the family. There was one other time where we were parked outside a pizzeria and before going in I had my wife call and ask if George was there. If they said yes, we were moving on. Luckily, no George.

One of our favorite Italian places is Luigi's in Western PA. Its one of our first ( or last ) stops on our road trip. Never had pizza there before, but their Mushroom ravioli in a cream sauce is delightful.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:01 PM   #7
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I like my sauce to be on the sweet and spicy side. That usually requires sugar and red pepper flakes. I've never found canned tomatoes to have any sweetness to them, except for stewed which I don't use for pizza sauce. I've tried San Marzano but find nothing outstanding about them.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:17 PM   #8
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My favorite is the recipe from Serious Eats. The idea of cooking whole onions ans butter in the sauce is similar to Marcella Hazan's famous tomato sauce recipe, but with a bit of spice added.


I tried it once with out of season fresh tomatoes and didn't like the texture of the sauce. The watery/mealy qualities came through. So now I always use the canned San Marzanos and the sauce is perfect. I find canned tomatoes superior to out of season fresh ones. Now in season...............



https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/...zza-sauce.html
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:19 PM   #9
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There are a lot of "San marzano" products out there that are not the real thing. Is this what you tried: https://photos.app.goo.gl/niT6BSLrc1tsMWvk6l
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:33 PM   #10
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Interesting thread. I'm lazy though and a jar of Trader Joe's pizza sauce works really well for my pizza's. The flavor is spot on, to our taste.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
I like my sauce to be on the sweet and spicy side. That usually requires sugar and red pepper flakes. I've never found canned tomatoes to have any sweetness to them, except for stewed which I don't use for pizza sauce. I've tried San Marzano but find nothing outstanding about them.
I cook the onions down for a while and that brings out their sweetness.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:42 PM   #12
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I also like a sweet, slightly spicy pizza sauce and for me, dried oregano is what distinguishes pizza sauce from other red sauces. I haven't found San Marzano tomatoes to be special, either, so I use the Kroger house brand. I don't find any benefit to crushing them by hand, and I also like a smooth pizza sauce, so I buy them already crushed.

Gotta say, the only time I actually had pizza in New York City, I was disappointed It was a divey Italian place near Times Square and I didn't really enjoy it. When I'm not up to making my own, we have a great pizza place in our neighborhood whose chef/owner is Tony from NYC; he has a pizza oven imported from New York. I love his version.

So here's my pizza sauce, as close as I can guesstimate it, since I don't measure - I add the herbs and salt to taste.

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed by hand
* 2 tsp Penzeys Frozen Pizza Seasoning
* 2 tsp salt or to taste
* pinch red pepper flakes
* 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

Sauté onion in heated olive oil till softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic and sauté till fragrant. Add herbs, spices and salt and stir for a couple of minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered on low heat till reduced slightly, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:55 PM   #13
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Interesting thread. I'm lazy though and a jar of Trader Joe's pizza sauce works really well for my pizza's. The flavor is spot on, to our taste.
Trader Joe's is either a 30-minute drive one way with tolls both ways, or a 45-minute drive the other way. Not worth it for me. I'm jealous you have one more convenient to you.
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Old 11-06-2019, 05:24 PM   #14
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Trader Joe's is either a 30-minute drive one way with tolls both ways, or a 45-minute drive the other way. Not worth it for me. I'm jealous you have one more convenient to you.

GG, I weekly go into Ventura, a 20 min. easy and pretty drive through miles of orchards, where we have not one but two TJ's there. I wish I could transplant one of them near you.
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:16 PM   #15
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I am very lucky to have two Trader Joe's within 10 minute drive from home. And one more about 15 minutes away.

There are several others not far away but I have never been to them.
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:08 PM   #16
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My brother in law used to work for a pretty popular pizzeria around here back in the day. He was given a pre made packet of herbs and spices to add to the tomatoes to make the sauce. It was pre made by the owner who wasn't willing to give the ' secret recipe ' away. I wasn't that into cooking at the time ( it was like 25 years ago), but I would love to get that packet now to disect and figure out what's in it and the ratios. Oh well, missed opportunity.
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:35 PM   #17
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I agree that sauted onion will give the necessary sweetness to the sauce. After that, you have to decide how complex, or simple you want your sauce to be. Me, I enjoy the added flavors of garlic, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, and oregano, and red pepper flakes. The oregano has to be the most pronounced flavor in my pizza sauce/ I love pepperoni, orange and red bell peppers, black olives, mushrooms, and sliced onion strips. Throw on some hot Italian, or Cudighi sausage on, with lots of mozzarella and Parmesano-Regiano, or Asiago cheese. I like double sauce with all of the other toppings there, but not so much as to overpower a good, yeasty crust.

I prefer a thick, hand tossed dough, cooked in olive oil coated pan on the Webber Kettle to give it that fire baked flavor.

I know you said you;pke your pie simple. you could probably get way with using Prego with mushrooms, and add more oregano, and red pepper flakes Prego is a mildly seet sauce with good tomato flavor. You can get it in chunky or smooth varieties.

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