Pizza Sauce

Time saver: whip up a fresh-tasting pizza sauce in no time.

I’ve been making a lot of pizza recently, and as a result I’ve been running out of the tomato paste I’d normally use for the pizza sauce. So, to save a trip to the supermarket I figured I’d make my own. It takes a little longer (not too much longer once you know what you’re doing), but tastes great and is definitely worth it.

This works really well on the New York Style Pepperoni and Mushroom, Blue Cheese and Pesto pizzas. I make this in a large saucepan since the bigger surface area leads to faster reduction.

Pizza Sauce (makes enough for two 12-14″ pizzas)

  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove or ½ tsp crushed/finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • (optional) freshly cracked black pepper to taste (crack over sauce once it’s spread on the pizza base)
  • (optional) 1 small onion, peeled, cut in half along equator OR 2 celery stalks cut in half lengthwise, chopped into 10cm lengths – these are used to imbue a bit of flavour, but are removed from the sauce before it’s used
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan, then add garlic and onion/celery if using. Saute briefly, then add tomatoes, sugar, oregano and salt.
  2. Stir frequently to prevent the sauce from catching, and keeping on a high heat, reduce down to about a quarter of the starting volume.
  3. Remove saucepand from heat, and then remove onion/celery from sauce and discard.
  4. The sauce may still have a few bigger chunks of tomato in it – I like these, but you could mash/blend/stick-mix them out.
  5. Spread 3-4 Tbsp over each pizza base, then season evenly with freshly cracked black pepper.
  6. If you’re only making one pizza you can freeze the leftover sauce, or keep it in the fridge for a couple of days.
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Mushroom, blue cheese and pesto pizza redux

Time saver: Phil repeats himself, cat still isn’t interested.

Cooked pizzaMy wife’s back, so I told her about this pizza and then tried to impress her by making it. This time around I used home-made pizza dough, and rolled it out to a 12″ base, then scaled the recipe up to fit. I think this size is probably more practical (well, it fed two hungry people, the 9″ base wouldn’t) and the home-made dough gives a much better pizza. I’m planning on writing a post to fill you in on the wonders of five minute artisan bread, but basically, it’s a dough you can make really quickly, then keep in the fridge for when you need it. Unlike most other bread doughs, it requires no kneading whatsoever, you literally pull a lump of dough out of the bowl/container you’re keeping it in, shape it, let it rise a little, then bake it. One of the other wonders of this dough is that you can grab a lump of it, roll it out and use it as a pizza base immediately, and it delivers a great result. That’s what I did this time around. Conveniently awesome.

Pizza baseI took a few photos this time, so you can check out the end result. One small note, we didn’t have any pesto this time around, so I used a few pine nuts instead and I’ve updated the recipe to include those. (I think the pesto is better, but we make do.)

Mushroom, blue cheese and pesto pizza – 12″

  • 12″ pizza base (preferably hand-made – I recommend 5 minute artisan bread)
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove or ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 1-2 c grated cheese (125g is roughly 1 cup when grated) (this time around I used 2 cups, but for a more stylish contemporary pizza you could use less. As before, I used Edam cheese, if you’ve got mozarella by all means use it)
  • 125g mushrooms, sliced (could use more if you can fit them on)
  • 30-40g blue vein cheese (I used Kapiti Kikorangi if the cheese is not very strong you could use more)
  • 3 Tbsp basil pesto or 10g pine nuts
  1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C (about 450°F). If you’ve got a pizza stone, use it, otherwise just put one of your trays in to heat.
  2. Roll out pizza base to a 12″ circle, then place on a sheet of baking paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, olive oil and garlic, mix well.
  4. Spread tomato paste over pizza base, going right to the edges.
  5. Crack some black pepper and salt over the base, then cover with cheese.
  6. Spread mushrooms over the cheese – they’ll shrink a lot, so cover the whole thing.
  7. Crumble the blue vein over the pizza, distributing in small pieces. If you’re a fan, feel free to use more.
  8. With a teaspoon, dollop some basil pesto around in a stylish fashion. Alternatively, sprinkle pine nuts over pizza.
  9. Put the pizza in the oven (with baking paper) on your pre-heated tray/pizza stone. Cook for 14 minutes or so, until the base is cooked and the cheese is melted and golden.

Pizza slice

Mushroom, blue cheese and pesto pizza

Time saver: Phil comes up with a pizza topping combo no self-respecting kid would ever think of eating – so you can have it all to yourself. (Not that I have any kids, but the cat definitely wasn’t interested.)

It’s funny how what I intend to write about doesn’t get written, yet I can somehow find time to write about a pizza most people won’t like. My wife’s been away for a couple of days, and I’ve been living off leftovers and the kindness of friends, so I haven’t done much in the way of cooking. That all changed tonight though, when I finally succumbed to my hunger and whipped up this pizza. No photos unfortunately, I destroyed the evidence rather quickly. (I intend to fix that some time soon, but no promises.)

Just a quick word about pizza bases: tonight I cheated and used a bought one, if you want to do a home made base it’ll be 10 times better. Just remember that the area of a circle = Pi * r² and adjust the topping quantity appropriately. Piece of cake.

Mushroom, blue cheese and pesto pizza

Since pizzas are pretty robust, the quantities here are really just a guide. You’re free to increase/decrease the amount of any of the ingredients according to your taste and judgement, and I’m sure the result will still be good. For most of you, just the title itself is probably all the recipe you need.

  • 9″ pizza base (for a 12″ pizza you’ll need to almost double the quantity of topping, and for an 18″ pizza you’ll need four times the quantity)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ clove or ½ tsp crushed garlic (could use whole clove if it’s small)
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 1¼ c grated cheese (125g is roughly 1 cup when grated) (I used Edam, if you’ve got mozarella by all means use it)
  • 75g mushrooms, sliced
  • 20-30g blue vein cheese
  • 2-3 Tbsp basil pesto
  1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C (about 450°F). If you’ve got a pizza stone, use it, otherwise just put one of your trays in to heat.
  2. Put pizza base on a sheet of baking paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, olive oil and garlic, mix well.
  4. Spread tomato paste over pizza base, going right to the edges. (If the base doesn’t look saucy enough, just add a bit more tomato paste and olive oil, if it’s too saucy, just spoon some off.)
  5. Crack some black pepper and salt over the base, then cover with cheese.
  6. Spread mushrooms over the cheese – they’ll shrink a lot, so cover the whole thing.
  7. Crumble the blue vein over the pizza, distributing in small pieces. If you’re a fan, feel free to use more.
  8. With a teaspoon, dollop some basil pesto around in a stylish fashion.
  9. Put the pizza in the oven (with baking paper) on your pre-heated tray/pizza stone. Cook for 15 minutes or so, until the base is cooked and the cheese is melted and golden.