Don’t listen to them.
So the internet has a million and one recipes for pizza sauce. So what. They’re all wrong and I’m right, so listen carefully. I’m going to keep this simple, as it should be.
You don’t need sugar, you don’t need herbs. You don’t need vinegar either. Pizza is a simple pleasure, the sauce should reflect that ideology.
There’s one thing to consider very seriously when making simple food, which is quality of ingredients. That is the factor which will make this fantastic.
How to make great pizza sauce.
Tomatoes. This is the important one. Get the best, most expensive tomatoes you can find. Look for San Marzano, these are the best of the best. If not, buy the most expensive, organic ones you can find. Good tomatoes taste amazing and you don’t need to mess with that fact, so just start out on the right foot. Cheap tomatoes taste awful and explain why people feel the need to augment this sauce with endless unnecessary additions.
All you need after that is garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Both of these should be good quality, but they’re not going to have the same detrimental effect as cheap, thin, watery, super-value tomatoes. Good tomatoes = good pizza sauce.
Now, treat these ingredients carefully.
You’re going to tease the flavour out of the garlic, you’re going to gently entice it to dance and pirouette across the sauce, leaving a tantalising trail of tangy enrichment within those tomatoes. To do this, the garlic must be gently coaxed to impart it’s flavour in the sauce. You’re not even going to eat it, you’re going to remove the garlic before it has a chance to pass the threshold of anyone’s palate, but they’ll all know it’s been there.
The technique is simple in it’s elegance. It requires a single clove of garlic to be gently, softly infused with some olive oil over the lowest of low heats. The soft warmth of the oil elicits the gentlest of garlic essence to depart the from the garlic’s body and manifest itself totally within the oil. After this dance of flavours, this exchange of essences has taken place, you can remove the garlic clove from the oil, for it’s work here is now done. It’s future consigned to spreading itself within the compost bin, so that it can further give itself for others to live. Oh! Noble garlic.
Once you’ve done that, you can add the tomatoes, briefly simmer it through and then you’re ready to rock and roll.
By Gavin Wren
Serves 4 medium pizzas
Uses 1 saucepan
400g tin of the best quality chopped tomatoes you can find, ideally San Marzano.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, bashed once under a knife and peeled.
Remove the garlic clove from the oil and add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and either use as it is, lumpy, or blend with a stick blender to create a smooth sauce. I prefer lumpy.