challenges Sauces

The Pizza Sauce Challenge

There are a ton of Pizza Sauce Recipes out on there and what we discovered is that many of them propose tomato paste and also that the sauce is first cooked with garlic and onions. What we do know is that you can make an awesome very flavorful sauce by just taking tomatoes or tomato sauce with garlic, olive oil, and herbs – mix together and its done!

So what is better or what is the difference? Well, we took it upon ourselves to find out: We created 3 sauces

Fresh and not cooked with no onions

If you wanna talk about the ‘real way’ to make pizza sauce , then this recipe is what you are looking for.  I vacation practically every year in Italy, and I can’t imagine the restaurants actually cooking the sauce beforehand.  A key here is to let it sit at least an hour so that the minced garlic, olive oil, and herbs become one with the tomato sauce. Lots of fresh flavor but not overdominating. This pizza sauce does not take the front seat in the theater. The other ingredients are the stars of the show with the sauce being the backbone – clean and pure with fresh aromatic taste. Once again, if you do not want your pizza sauce to be the strongest taste, then I suggest working with this recipe.

  • Don’t add sugar! Please!  It is already sweet enough but if you insist, go ahead and add a little and adjust to your likening.
  • Garlic Powder? This is really not an option, let the fresh garlic infuse and do its magic! Otherwise don’t bother and by some store brand shit.
  • Onions? – not in this recipe as we prefer to keep this one simpler and concentrated on the tomato flavor. But you can if you want that added layer of complexity to the sauce.
  • Fresh Oregano for sure! Play with the herbs – Herb de Provence or Italian Herb Mixes certainly can be added but don’t overdo it. Remember it is a simple sauce, tasty but too complex. Designed for the other ingredients to shine.

Cooked with onions but no Tomato Paste

Letting the sauce simmer for an hour or so, really enhances the flavor of this lovely sauce.

  • Sugar? Ok if you really prefer a taste that is not so tangy or the sauce is too acidic, a little sugar will can do the trick. Also for younger pizza lovers, probably preferable.
  • Garlic powder? Stop! Please go and buy some Mr Ragu or some other shelf, preservativ-stuffed concoction and not waste your time here.

This sauce is well balanced and allows the other ingredients to also shine. The pizza sauce is coming thru strong but not overbearing. Tasty!

Play with the herbs if you like? Italian Herb Mix or Herbs de Provence? How about a little fennel seeds?


Cooked with onions with Tomato Paste

A lot of Pizza Sauce recipes request Tomato Paste. Many Italians will not agree with this! The tomato paste really makes the flavor of the sauce much stronger and it can really dominate the pizza. But this doesn’t mean it is bad! On the contrary this may just be the pizza sauce you are looking for. At first, when you take a mouth watering bite, the sauce is upfront tantalizing your taste buds and the other ingredients come in behind.

  • Sugar? For this recipe it probably makes the most sense. It softens the acidity and sweetens the sauce. Add a tsp and adjust to your taste.
  • No Garlic Powder. Either use real garlic or just go to the store and get a jar of store bought crap.
  • For sure you can play with the herbs. Since this sauce is dominating the pizza, you can make it more complex by adding additional herbs!


All 3 Sauces have their distinct differences. We now look at it this way after doing the challenge:

Fresh – the easiest and the one that makes sure the Pizza Toppings dominate the flavor. You will taste the cheese, ham, mushrooms more than the sauce. The sauce is a lovely base in the background.

Fresh Pizza Sauce Recipe

Cooked no Tomato Paste – Very well balanced. The sauce is at the same level as the Pizza Toppings.

Cooked Recipe

Cooked with Tomato Paste – The tomato sauce is upfront and the driver here. Pizza Toppings are a bit in the background. Very hearty and tomatetoewee.

With Tomato Paste



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