Some people like a rich sauce with herbs and garlic, some like an ultra simple sauce with nothing but tomato – the DOC standard (which dictates how traditional Italian pizza is made) is to use nothing but crushed tinned San Marzano tomatoes. There’s a lot of opinions about what makes a good pizza sauce and of course no one recipe to rule them all – if it tastes good to you, then it’s ‘right’ (unless you simply must have a DOC pizza of course…). For me a fairly simple sauce with just a hint of extra herbs is best, a good burst of tomato acidity and sweetness that still lets the other ingredients shine through.
- 1 Tin of good tomatoes, preferably skinned whole tomatoes. San Marzano are traditional but there’s good and bad brands like everything else. A good tin of generic plum tomatoes is much nicer than a bad tin of San Marzanos. If you make pasta or pizza sauce regularly it is worth buying a few different brands that are easy to find in your area and comparing them to find the nicest.
- 1 generous pinch of dried oregano – the good stuff is sometimes sold as ‘Mediterranean oregano’, an olive/tan colour with a pungent aroma from the dried flowers.
- 1 generous pinch of salt
Tip all ingredients into a bowl and use a stick blender to briefly pulse and break up the whole tomatoes. Don’t overdo the blending – a little texture in the sauce is nice. If you don’t want to use a blender, use kitchen scissors to snip the whole tomatoes into pieces or just squish them with a spatula or even with bare hands. Good tinned tomatoes shouldn’t taste bitter but if yours do, add a little pinch of sugar to the sauce for balance. You might also find that the taste of some tinned tomatoes is a little dull or flat – in this case 1 tsp of lemon juice can give a lift.