Let's get sauced....
June 24, 2014 3:55 PM   Subscribe

How do you make your pizza sauce at home? Looking for recipes and tips! Especially for white sauce or non-standard "sauces" for pizza.

I had an amazing pizza with an egg on top at a local eatery (Sunshine Tavern in Portland) and the sauce was this amazingly creamy white sauce with some herbs. Very simply. Deceptively simple? I must have!

Bonus: tell me your go-to home pizza-making toppings.
posted by amanda to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 77 users marked this as a favorite
We usually go lazy with the sauce but we've done pear, ham, and Gorgonzola, Mediterranean with feta, olives, and onion, and chicken and artichoke. I can't wait to hear about sauces!
posted by brilliantine at 4:02 PM on June 24, 2014

Take a few cups of red wine, maybe two? Reduce to a thick reduction, you want about 2oz and you want it thick. Add 1/2 cup creme fraiche. Use that mixture as your red sauce with gruyere and caramelized onion topping.
posted by fshgrl at 4:05 PM on June 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

You want something super simple? This might sound vile, but all I do when I want a white sauce for a homemade pizza is take a big glob of mayonnaise, and thin it out a little bit with a splash or two of liquid from a jar of dill pickles.. mix until you get the consistency you want.

It does the job. I like to top it with smoked salmon, red onions, capers, mozza, and fresh herbs.
posted by wats at 4:10 PM on June 24, 2014

Here's simple: straight olive oil. I use a thin layer, then top with different types of cheese, fresh sliced tomatoes, basil, and a lot of black pepper.
posted by jabes at 4:12 PM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've worked for a place that did pesto sauce, and made my own sort of low-fat version with this recipe that uses edamame in place of the pine nuts and really cuts down on the oil.

Looking at Sunshine's menu, is it possible the sauce you had was mostly just melted parmesan? I can see using some kind of herbed bechamel or alfredo with the right toppings though.
posted by LionIndex at 4:12 PM on June 24, 2014

Okay, I read a recipe for the simplest sauce ever, and I use it for a lot of stuff. It's just a can of good peeled tomatoes, a few tablespoons of butter, and an onion, which you cook for awhile (I do for an hour and a half) and then remove the onion. I then blitz it with a stick blender. For pizza, I throw oregano in the sauce.
posted by xingcat at 4:15 PM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I took an o-fficial pizza making course while on vacation in Italy, a course run by a cooking school in Florence at a restaurant near the Duomo, and what we used for the pizza sauce in this certified, honest-to-god Italian class was...just a can of puréed tomatoes, simmered down to thicken a teensy bit, with a touch of salt. That's it. Mind you, they were really GOOD ones, but it was indeed just the tomatoes and that's it.

For a white pizza I'd go with olive oil with a little garlic sautéed in it, like you were making the sauce for aglio et olio.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:21 PM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

In this thread I recommended roasted, pureed butternut squash as a sauce, with goat cheese, dried cranberries, and caramelized onions as toppings.

Less upscale, but I also love BBQ sauce, preferably with red onions and cilantro, and also with pineapple if you want to get craaaaazy.
posted by rebekah at 4:51 PM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Also on the maybe-vile front, using blue cheese dressing (the good kind, with the chunks) is absolutely delicious with some buffalo chicken. Yum!
posted by fermezporte at 4:52 PM on June 24, 2014

This recipe for a broccoli pesto pizza sauce is a big hit with my family.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:57 PM on June 24, 2014

If you use BBQ sauce, go half BBQ and half regular pizza sauce, it's so much better.
posted by VTX at 5:00 PM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

It sounds like xingcat might be talking about this recipe from smitten kitchen.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:04 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Handfuls of Turkish smoked pepper flakes ("isot") thyme and olive oil top flatbreads in south Turkey. You could try subbing crushed mild Mexican peppers.

Remember: with sauces and toppings you want thick and dry-ish ingredients. Fresh tomato, squash, and eggplant will all give off a lot of water if you are not baking them in a real super hot pizza oven, and you wind up with a bowl of soup in the middle of your pizza.
posted by zaelic at 5:09 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've done mango chutney and tandoori spiced chicken and appropriate vegetables and occasionally cheese on pizza.
posted by jeather at 5:26 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

For convenience we've been using canned pizza sauce, but when I'm less lazy...
  • Canned crushed tomato alone (extra crushed)
  • Canned crushed tomatoes, fried on high heat with olive oil, minced garlic and herbs (fresh or dried oregano, fresh thyme) added after the tomatoes
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes, pureed, a pinch or two of smoked paprika or chipotle powder, not further cooked
  • Marcella Hazan's simple tomato sauce (oops, mentioned above multiple times), perhaps with some chopped basil
  • One part tomato sauce/puree, one part adobo sauce from a can of chipotles en adobo. If you can take more heat, finely chop or puree a chipotle or two from the can and mix in.
If you don't want a red sauce...
  • Roasted garlic, smashed into warm olive oil with coarse salt and red pepper flakes
  • Simple bechamel (cook flour+oil, add milk, stir and simmer until thickened) with crushed garlic and lots of pecorino romano or parmigiano in it
  • Long-cooked caramelized onions, onion confit, or melted leeks
  • Basically any kind of pesto, homemade or jarred

posted by WasabiFlux at 5:34 PM on June 24, 2014

Best answer: I live in Brooklyn. The One True Pizza Sauce at the good places here is canned DOP San Marzano tomatoes, without the juice, smushed enough to distribute over the dough.

For homemade toppings I like white pizza (no red sauce) with ricotta or fresh mozarella, olive oil over the whole crust before you cook it, sprinkled with fresh herbs before serving.
posted by Lycaste at 5:41 PM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mix some curry powder with olive oil, then soak a couple of handfuls if raisins in the mixture for a few hours (or while you're a work). When you're ready to make your pizza, throw some green peppers, onions, garlic, chickpeas, jalapeños, and mozzarella on your crust. Then sprinkle on the raisins and drizzle the oil over the whole thing. Sounds weird but it's AMAZING.
posted by itsamermaid at 5:51 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you want THE BEST WHITE PIE, take heed....

This place near me does a White Pie w/ a garlicky cream sauce + ricotta + fresh mozzarella.

It's such a rock star combo, I crave it all the time.

I said this before in another recent pizza thread, I lived in Little Italy in NYC, among other pizza cred. I'm super snobby about pizza.

Certain things are revelation to me, and Garlicky Cream Sauce as a base for White Pie is one of those culinary life changing revelations that makes the pursuit of gastronomic excellence worthwhile. Garlicky Cream Sauce is the Holy Grail of White Pie toppings.

posted by jbenben at 6:06 PM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I had an amazing pizza with a savory pumpkin cream sauce, iberico ham, and creamy goat cheese when I was in Spain.
posted by Night_owl at 7:53 PM on June 24, 2014

Best answer: So here's a little revelation I found out in a cooking class. Those creamy restaurant sauces? Those are heavy cream simmered until it reduces way down. That's it. You can add whatever seasonings you like to it, garlic, cheese, etc. But that's what most places use. There is even a seafood bar in San Francisco that uses this as a base for their chowder, which is delicious and makes me question the strength of my arteries every time I eat it.

Here's my slightly less heart-clogging recipe for alfredo sauce that is good on pasta or pizza:

1 stick butter (less heart-clogging, I said, not non-heart-clogging)
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
1 cup finely grated fresh parmesan (fresh grated stuff melts waaaay better)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
pinch of nutmeg

Melt the butter in a skillet, add the milk, and bring to a soft simmer on medium heat. Add the cheese and whisk to combine, then add the seasonings off the heat once all the cheese is melted. The evaporated milk keeps it from separating much better than cream does, because science. Or something.

Alternatively you can just go olive oil and garlic.
posted by ananci at 9:50 PM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do you want to stand over the stove and stir for like 3-6 hours? Then get a slow cooker.

You need to cook the hell outta that sauce so it tastes like sauce and not like smashed tomatoes.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:02 AM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Paper-thin slices of potato, olive oil. On top of this there are several opportunities:
- just some rosemary or oregano
- rosemary and pancetta
- rosemary mozzarella and pancetta
- blue cheese
- eggs and bacon
….. you decide
posted by mumimor at 12:28 AM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

BBQ sauce, crisp bacon, sharp cheddar and white corn simmered with garlic and Bermuda onion then drained.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:13 AM on June 25, 2014

Best answer: summer squash and zucchini pizza

puréed garlic paste (I prefer the toothpaste-like tubes of garlic slurried with olive oil they sell next to the herbs; my major supermarket has both a corporate organic brand and a store brand)

2 summer squash, 2 zucchini

Olive oil

Pizza crust (I love this recipe,)

Clean the squash and zuke up; wash them, lop the ends off, and peel them if they're old/tough/waxy. I usually just peel off blemishes, pockmarks, and scars.

Slice them into thin coins. Mandolin recommended but not required. I usually cut at a diagonal just to save time with larger pieces later when I'm arranging.

In a small bowl, mix about equal parts olive oil and garlic paste. You can also add red pepper flake, dried italian herbs, or chopped basil if you have it. Spread this on your crust like a sauce, reserving a few tablespoons.

Arrange the slices of summer squash and zuke on the pizza. You can go all "alternating yellow and green slices, I was inspired by photos of tarte tatin on Pinterest" here, or just make sure they're in a fairly even layer.

Dot/spread/drip the rest of the garlic+oil over the summer squash. This is where you can add cheese with a light hand if you do dairy; I like a sprinkle of parm or asiago, or crumbles of goat cheese.

I bake at 500 F degrees for about 10 minutes on a pizza stone, and before I had a pizza stone I baked it at 400 F for five minutes in a pizza pan and then slid it directly onto the rack for 5-7 more minutes.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:17 AM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

A popular "white pizza" in the Alsace is Flammkuchen. The base of the "sauce" is simply crème fraîche. Top with sliced onion and bacon and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Very nice with a good German wheat beer (please, no fruit in the beer, ever.)
posted by monospace at 1:01 PM on June 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: OMG! These answers are wonderful! I'm excited to try some garlicky cream sauces! And take fresh go at red sauces, too. Yum!
posted by amanda at 10:55 AM on June 26, 2014

Best answer: I have used Trader Joe’s Many Clove Garlic Cooking and Simmer Sauce on top of focaccia and it turned out well.
posted by soelo at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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