Over time, I have learnt what makes a pizza great for us – that is for the OH and me. We are not big fans of thick, doughy crusts, but like crisper ones, instead. A very flavourful sauce and lots of fresh toppings will do the trick for us. If the sauce is delicious and the toppings are great, we don’t even need cheese on our pizzas. Yes, you read that right. Cheese, for us, is one of the many optional toppings on pizzas, not an essential one.
A long time back, we greatly cut down on the number of pizzas we would order from chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s. We began making our pizzas at home, so that we could keep a tab on exactly what was going into them. We could control the amount of sugar or cheese or oil that we added to our pizzas, have relatively healthier and more flavourful pizzas, and feel less guilty after a meal, if we made them at home. Well, once in a while, we do step out for a pizza, when the craving strikes us, but most of the times, we opt for home-made ones.
Making pizzas at home has been a bit challenging, though, because we are bad with yeast and do not know how to make the crust at home. We are working on learning how to perfect a home-made pizza crust, the kind that we want, but for now, we rely on slices of bread to use as crust. That will, hopefully, change some day. We use just about anything as pizza toppings, actually – cheese, fresh tomatoes, onions, capsicum, pineapple, baby corn, mushrooms, paneer, olives, jalapenos, sundried tomatoes, and what not, depending on our mood and current craving. At the moment, we rely on a couple of bottled toppings – pickled jalapenos, cheese, paneer, de-seeded olives and sundried tomatoes, mostly, but use fresh ingredients otherwise. Once we learn how to make sundried tomatoes, paneer and cheese at home too, this too will change, I think. 🙂
We make a tangy-sweet sauce with fresh tomatoes to spread on our pizzas, at home. This is a recipe arrived at after much trial and error, and it works for us. It does contain a couple of store-bought sauces and dried herbs from a supermarket bottle, though. Again, we are working on changing the recipe to include as few processed/store-bought ingredients as we can make do with.
I am here with our recipe of home-made red pizza sauce, which also goes extremely well with pasta. If you are feeling too lazy to make either pizzas or pasta, you can just bring the sauce to room temperature, spread it on a slice of toasted bread, and gobble it – as it is or with toppings of your choice! I hope you will try it out in your kitchens, and enjoy it as much as we do.
Here is how we make the sauce. There are no specific measurements here, since we don’t really measure out the ingredients in this case. We just go by instinct, and eyeballing.
Ingredients (makes one bowl of sauce):
6 large ripe tomatoes (preferably country tomatoes, because they are tangier)
Salt, to taste
Red chilli powder, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Sugar, to taste (optional)
Tomato ketchup, to taste
Red pepper sauce, to taste
Dried Italian herbs, to taste
2 teaspoons oil
- Chop the tomatoes into quarters. Puree in a mixer. Keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Lower the flame and add the tomato puree.
- Cover and cook the puree on a medium flame, stirring intermittently, to ensure that the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once all the water has evaporated and the sauce starts thickening, add the salt, sugar (if using), red chilli powder and paprika. Be careful with the sugar (if using) because you will be adding tomato ketchup later, too, which is again sweet. Similarly, be careful with the paprika and red chilli powder because you will adding the spicy red pepper sauce later.
- Cover and cook for a while more, stirring intermittently. Cook till the sauce reaches the consistency you desire. We like ours neither too thick nor too runny.
- At this point, switch off the gas. Add the red pepper sauce, tomato sauce and dried herbs. Mix well.
- Let the sauce cool down completely before you fill it in an air-tight container. This sauce is best used fresh, but it keeps for up to a week without losing its flavour when refrigerated.
If you decide to make this at home, please do let me know how it turns out for you, will you?
Also, please do share any other pasta/pizza sauce recipes that you swear by. I would love to hear all about them!