The hardest part of making a great pizza at home is making and baking a great pizza dough. I found Peter Reinhart because this otherwise simple task eluded me in my home pizza making endeavors for so long. I now make what I consider to be a decent dough, or doughs as I keep trying to chase that perfect pizza experience here at home with my family.
The next thing you have to master after you have a good dough is your tomato sauce. Once again, I credit Peter with my favorite sauce. His Crushed Tomato Sauce recipe is simple and delicious. It's perfectly balanced. You make it cold and let it cook up right on the pizza. Check out the recipe *HERE if you haven't tried it. I make it so often, I don't look at the recipe anymore. I simply add the ingredients by feel - a pinch of this and a couple pinches of that.
I met Rob Dinapoli for the first time at the Pizza Expo last year before he became one of our sponsors. I was talking to a friend of his and noticed a can of their Fire-Roasted Tomatoes. The artwork on the can caught my eye. I said to him that those would make an interesting pizza sauce. His friend went on about how he uses it all the time for pastas and I wish I had taken some notes. When the show was over, Rob gave me his last #10 can to take home and try.
I finally got around to trying these out and my hunch was right! Here's what I came up with for my version of a Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce. I give credit to Peter's original Crushed Tomato Sauce that inspired where I wanted to go with this. I think you will love the results.
DiNapoli Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce:
Chopped Garlic (2 or 3 Large Cloves)
Chopped Onions (about 1/4 of an Onion)
DiNapoli Roasted Tomatoes (14.5 Oz Can)
Chop up some garlic. I used a good amount about 2-3 Large Cloves for a small batch of this sauce. Chop up the onion. I chopped mine into somewhat larger pieces to allow them to remain present in the sauce after they cooked down. I wanted to give this sauce a chunkier texture. The tomatoes are diced and also have that chunkiness to them. As you will see it all cooks down and spreads nicely on the dough, but when you scoop it out of the pot and taste it, you can almost chew it!
Saute the Garlic and Onions in the Olive Oil until translucent. *I took this a little further to where they began to brown and almost char. I felt like this would add to the texture and flavor of this sauce and accent the fire-roasting of the tomatoes even more.
Add the tomatoes and juice from the can.
Add a good pinch of the dried Basil and Oregano (about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon each to start)
Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper, to your taste.
*I love the concept of adding a "pinch"! It is different for everyone. We could do a study and have 100 people add a pinch of salt and do some math and come up with what the average pinch measurement is. Instead, the pinch allows you to make it your own and more importantly it urges you to cook by feeling or instinct. Just a thought…
Bring the mixture to boil and then let it simmer for a while (probably 10-15 minutes) to allow it to reduce a little and come together.
After it cooled down a bit I took my first taste. As I mentioned above the sauce was almost chewable. The thing that struck me was that this sauce was not only chewy, but almost meaty in flavor. I was standing there at the stove tasting the sauce to see if it needed anything and I my first thoughts were about this being a meat sauce. It was delicious! It had a roasty-meaty flavor at the base and finished with a salty sweetness.