Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pizza Sauce – Let’s Play ‘Hide the Little Fish’

I can assure you that the anchovies in this pizza sauce recipe are there for the subtle saltiness and unique savoriness they provide, and not just so you can tell your friend (the one who really hates anchovies) that they just ate some. Could it be for both? Sure.

This pizza sauce recipe represents a new and improved version of the one we posted way back in 2007. We snuck in some of the aforementioned fish, and we’re also using both fresh and dried oregano. I love this sauce. If there’s a tastier, all-purpose pizza sauce recipe out there, I haven’t tried it.

Convention wisdom says that great pizza is all about the crust. Which is certainly a huge factor, but if you were given the choice between a great crust topped with a bad sauce, and a grocery store crust made with a delicious, world-class sauce, which would you prefer?

Texture aside, no mater how they're combined, flour, water, and yeast can only taste so bad. But, a terrible sauce can actually make a slice of pizza inedible. I can’t remember ever not eating a piece of pizza because the crust was so awful, but I've given up after biting into an inferior sauce before.

Of course, around these parts the argument is completely academic since we’ve not only provided you with a plan for perfect sauce, but given you several great pizza dough recipes, like our famous no-knead pizza dough, as well as the venerable Wolfgang Puck California-style dough recipe. I hope you make pizza soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients (makes about 3 cups):
3 tbsp olive oil
2 anchovy filets
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 can (28 oz) whole peeled “San Marzano” tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
very small pinch baking soda

81 comments:

Allaboutnoms said...

Now it is no longer a secret! MUAHAHAHAHHA!

Monica said...

the sauce looks great will try but I never liked the pizza in Italy so mine will be fully loaded.

etamar said...

chef john, this looks awsome!
problem is im the only one in my family that isnt a veggeterian...
is there anything else i can use instead of the fish? or could i just leave it out?

M in Mex. said...

High octane sense of humor in this video Chef; great job!

Matt said...

Can I can this stuff up? If so, how long will it last in the fridge?

Chef John said...

I don't do shelf-life's (never lasts that long) but u can freeze.

Food Junkie said...

etamar, there are no exact substitutes for anchovies. That said, a substitute search yielded the following ideas, kalmata olives, capers or miso paste. The capers and olives are known to go with tomatoes if you try miso experiment with caution as I have no idea how the two combine. In a pinch a shot of MSG will do somewhat the same job and as long as you are not sensitive to MSG it can be a useful seasoning in the kitchen if used within reason.

Chef John said...

Thanks FJ, you took the words right out of my mouth ;)

Poirot said...

I attempted to make the remix version of the No Knead Pizza Dough -- can you please verify the ratio of water to flour on the recipe -- 16 oz (almost 4 cups) to 1 1/2 cups water. The previous recipe was 2 1/2 cups to 1 1/2 cups water. Both had about 1/2 cup of other flour. The first came out way to dry for me, and the second was soup.
And I will definitely try the new and improved pizza sauce ... I made the original and froze some in little containers ... worked great.

Unknown said...

Chef John,
I watched your video (I think it was from a couple years ago) about two ingredient cooking. Last night I made chicken and mushrooms. O M G! So purely chicken and mushrooms! I had thighs and legs (no breasts) but a bunch of mushrooms. I sauteed the chicken in butter/oo reallllly well so there was lots of fond, took out the chicken and threw in the thickly sliced 'shrooms. I like my 'shrooms very well cooked (almost leathery) it makes it soooo mushroom-y, then water and S&P. Do you have any other combo's for that kind of cooking? I am going to do a boring pork loin, thickly squared with all the peppers I can find for tonight.
I can't emphasize the wonder of two ingredients cooking. Who knew? I'll let you know about the pork-n-peppers. Maybe I'll do beef and garlic for tomorrow. I think I've found my new addiction. Thanks John! Yvonne

Vincent said...

I know tastier pizza sauce. This, but with 10 cloves of garlic.
There.

Mary F said...

chef john, i hate anchovies and don't like cheese or vinegar. what else can i use?

Chef John said...

Poirot, If you weight the flour, the new no-knead recipe will work as seen! Enjoy!

M in Mex. said...

If you don't mind Chef; I'll take care of this, just sit back and relax. Mary F: how about a piece of fried chicken!

Anonymous said...

This sauce looks great! I can't wait to try it.

For the flour to water ration, I've made a whole lot of no-knead bread. One thing I know, is it never comes out the same twice... I weigh all my flour. I've come to 17 oz of AP flour, and 12 oz of liquid as my old favorite ration. Of course, the new No-knead-in-a-day has a different ratio and it's pretty darn good! In Florida, the 17 to 12 ratio seems to make a pretty sticky gluteny dough. So your flower may vary.

-Pyrofish

Maureen said...

Call me a convert!

Chris K. said...

Fun pizza party idea: par-bake a bunch of small pizza crusts, lay out an assortment of sauces and toppings. Let your guests make their own pizzas, and finish them in the oven and/or on the grill.

I'm totally snagging this sauce recipe.

Steve said...

Chef:

Any suggestion on substitution of anchovy paste, just in case I have that and no anchovies? I'm figuring about a quarter teaspoon.

Chef John said...

not sure, maybe 1 1/2 tsp?

DnR's MOM said...

YAY!!! the return of the freakishly small wooden spoon!!! (i thought the anchovies were the size of sturgeons!) thanks, chef john

raquel@eRecipe.com said...

I love pizza!!! =) This recipe will help me cook a delicious one.

Lucia said...

Would this freeze well? It seems like it would be handy to make a big batch and then freeze it for later use.

Anonymous said...

Have been experimenting with my new wood fired pizza oven. This sauce is a MUST TRY!
Thanks chef for all your inspiring recipes. Hubbys fave is spaghetti with red clam sauce:)

Food Junkie said...

This sounds wonderful Chef John. Fresh made sauce with top ingredients makes a huge improvement in Italian dishes. For all those who are wary of the anchovies and didn't listen to Chef John's remarks - remember that you are not eating anchovies by themselves and your sauce WON'T TASTE LIKE ANCHOVIES. Anchovies in cooking are a marvelous flavour enhancer (natural MSG if you like) that can add a wonderful depth of flavour to sauces and dressings without imparting a fishy taste unless you use too many of course. Give it a try and kick up the umami of your dishes.

Robert said...

Love the anchovies

Robert said...

Love the anchovies

Rob Pitingolo said...

I like the idea of this sauce, but how many pizzas will the yield make? Following your "don't over sauce" the pizza advice, I have a feeling a batch of this sauce will be good for several pizzas. I guess I can always freeze...

Nadine said...

hahahaAHAHAHA! "You have an immune system, use it!" I laughed so hard at this!!! Indeed! A friend of mine (convert to germaphobia, after all her hotel restaurant college classes on sanitation) freaked out one day when I popped a piece of bread in my mouth that fell onto my counter top. She was extremely disturbed. I responded, "hey builds my immunity" she, completely sickened, then says, "that's just your excuse to be dirty"...LOL! Maybe!

Chef John said...

rob, depends on the size, of course! It makes 3 cups so...you tell me ;)

Donna Gonzales-Vera said...

Thanks. This sounds great.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Chef John! Your recipes are always awesome ... that's probably because you are awesome too!

That's a really nice pizza sauce recipe .. I already tried and it's simply delicious... do you have any recipe for pomodoro sauce (fresh tomatoes sauce) to use with italian pasta ?

Huge fan.
Thnx.

Anonymous said...

Apart from a couple of ingredients this is like a Puttanesca sauce .

For the really lazy in the UK , try Loyd Grossman's version (with added concentrated tomato paste to thicken it) .
Great as a pizza sauce . Very tasty .

Araxjan said...

I have a stupid question:
Is this sauce just for pizza? I'm looking for a good marinara sauce recipe to use when I make your Chicken Parmesan recipe tonight. I want to make my own sauce instead of using jarred. ew.

Chef John said...

It's great on anything! Enjoy!

Unknown said...

Chef John Sir
I've been trying the two ingredient combos starting with your idea for chicken and mushrooms (excellent) and last night did pork and peppers (anaheim, jalapeno (red and green) and poblano but I added a third ingredient of onions just cuz. The peppers I used were too mild, I think, but it will kick us up to the next level (or more) flavor adventure wise. I very much like this idea. It doesn't cost much to cook two or three ingredients, each well cooked, and combine for a meal such as it would if you were planning a company dinner but because you don't know how it will turn out the anxiety quotient won't allow for the experiment. You have brilliantly suggested boldness where average cooks have thought beyond their talent. Bring on some more two/three ingredient combos big boy! Yvonne

docstrangelove1 said...

Chef John,

I thought you might find this article interesting. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/01/the-cast-iron-secret-to-serious-pizza/34068/

It details cooking pizza on a cast iron skillet. Essentially you allow the skillet to get blistering hot on the stove top, chuck the pizza on it for a few minutes to get a really nice char on the bottom of the crust, then finish the top under the broiler of the oven.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chief John, how do you feel about perforated pizza pans?

Yummy said...

Looks delicious!

Pam F said...

Made this last night. Outstanding! The first time I've ever bought anchovies. As I smelled it cooking I recognized it from good restaurants. When they cook down they turn into something totally different then the leathery, fishy things I thought I didn't like. Thanks for teaching me something and the best pizza sauce I ever made.

R_Menafra said...

Hey Chef, any particular reason for not using onions? Thanks!

Chef John said...

not really, sometimes i do, sometimes i dont.

Czech-chick said...

<3 As always, well enjoyed!!! ...It freezes very well, I use (silicone) muffin pans. One muffin full makes perfect serving for 1/4 of the pizza dough from this site (Wolfgang Puck's by Chef John). Thanks Chef John, keep those recipes coming!!

Alan said...

What is it with these anti-fish people ? Good grief, anchovies are great, especially as pizza topping.

That being said, i LOVE this sauce. Thank you Chef John.

I will make this sauce again and again. And the first time i tried it, i forgot to add the sugar. But it was still great.

And i forgot to add the dried oregano until after i had added the tomatoes. But it was still great!

Great! Great! Great!

and i still have 3 pieces of dough in the fridge and a lot of sauce!

next stop, anchovy and portebello mushroom pizza with jalapenos!

Alan said...

Oh yeah, sorry Chef John, i forgot until after i read one of the other reviews.

I did not use the San Marazano tomatoes but i had a 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes of the local grocery store brand, and used it instead, so i had to add a small can of Contadina Tomato Paste to bring the sauce to the right consistency.

Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

can you use this sauce for lasagna??

Anonymous said...

can you use this sauce on lasagna??

Nancy Sokoloski said...

Wanna say 'thank ya verah much', for the suggestion on the San Marzano tomatoes. Did homework on it and finally found some at a local supermkt. Am trying to learn to make chicago-style pizza, and this peeled tomatoe is great. Have fine-tuned it to pepperoni, baby portabella, a spanish-type mozarella. Fleishmann makes a special pizza dough yeast that is faster than regular bread yeast. Th-that's all..thanks again.
Nancy

Ray Mullings said...

Chef John -

You magnificent bastard !!!!

It took me a long time to perfect my pizza recipe but I never had a good sauce. You have helped me master one of my favorite foods of all time.

Thanks.

Ray Mullings said...

Chef John-

You magnificent bastard !!

Thank you for helping me perfect one of all my time favorite foods.

cookinmom said...

Excellent, excellent,excellent!!! You say "enjoy"!??! I say "enjoyed"!!!!!

cookinmom said...

One more thing coach, I mean "chef". My can of Nina tomatoes say that they are packed from san marzano region and produced/packed in Italy exclusively for Joseph..South Plainfield, NJ. True/real marzano tomatoes?????

Chef John said...

Sounds like it!

cookinmom said...

TKS...:0)

Anonymous said...

I only use this sauce now for my pizzas - it is so tasty! I do prefer using anchovy paste instead of the whole anchovies.

Anonymous said...

Ah! This sauce is so delicious. Especially improved with the San Marzanos. The baking soda trick gets rid of any traces of "tin" or "canned" taste.

1Bigg_ER said...

Chef John, what's the best way to store oil packed anchovies and for how long?
Better yet, how about an episode on storage of herbs and such?

Chef John said...

I juts keep in the fridge. They last FOREVER! :)

shtank said...

Hi Chef John. I love your recipes. I was wondering why in the original sauce recipe you say to get rid of the seeds (and you make a point of how important that is) and in this one you don't bother.
Thanks a lot. looking forward to this sauce.

Chef John said...

I've "evolved." Actually, if you use San Marzano, there are very few seeds and they aren't very bitter. I think I showed that step back then since I assumed most would just use regular canned tomatoes. Not a huge deal.

geikogecko said...

Chef John, what would be the taste difference between a sauce like this and a sauce started with a mirepoix?

geikogecko said...

I went with your sauce and made a portabello mushroom + caramelized onions + goat cheese pizza. http://i.imgur.com/MN4UTtd.jpg Delicious! I might just have to stop buying frozen pizzas...

Wing Wing said...

Your source is really good! I don't like anchovy at all but it gives such a good highlight! Thank you very much for your video and recipe. I really enjoy it!

rain.drop said...

I've made this sauce to go with your Wolfgang Puck's pizza and it turned out excellent. Thanks!

Sarah said...

Believe it or not, Ive just improved your pizza sauce!!! I thought it was perfect, but today a little voice in my head told me to add a little balsamic vinegar in the end. And let me tell u, that was the best sauce ever! this little addition made the whole thing literaly sing, it woke up the natural taste of tomatos and herbs, pure heaven! I used about a teaspoon of high quality balsamic vinegar at the very end. U might need to adjust sugar, mine dint need it. Do try this guys, u can thank me later :-)

Simon Adair said...

This reminds me of some good pizza in Scottsdale that I had a few years back. I'll need to try this sauce again soon!

Hutli said...

Thank you again Chef John for such a delicious and easy recipe! I didn't have any fresh oregano so I used fresh basil and dried oregano - delicious!!!

McShine said...

Hi Chef John!
I have a question about the anchovies. Here in Germany most stores sell two different kinds of anchovies: "regular" anchovies, that are extremely salty and not meant to be eaten by themselves, and "mild" anchovies, often made from sprats, that are a lot less salty and actually edible. I'm assuming you're using the regular kind?
Thanks! :)

Chef John said...

yes, reg! enjoy!

Mia Hart said...

Yum!!! There used to be this really good restaurant for pizza in Calgary that I would go to when I had a hankering for pizza.

Needspace said...

This sauce is great! The only thing I added was some white pepper along with the black pepper.
For folks wondering, the difference is where on your tongue you experience the pepper taste, so white actually adds another dynamic to this fabulous recipe!

NeonAera said...

Hello, Chef John!

I'm going to give this pizza sauce a shot! I have some questions! What aisle would I find anchovies? And if I can't find an san marzano's tomatoes in cans or whole peeled tomatoes, how would I substitute it with just tomato puree and how much?

Thanks, Chef John! Been cooking a lot using your recipes and making a lot of awesome dishes for a while now! I'm a big cooking fan of yours!

-William

jsawicki8354 said...

I have made about 8 pizzas with this sauce. It is absolutely fabulous. I believe it even brings out something primal in my wife. She has 8 times grunted "Oh my Gawwd!" when she smells the aroma. Now that's a good sauce!

illimanisnow said...

Chef John, in this and other recipes you call for canned tomatoes. Where I live, La Paz, Bolivia, canned tomatoes are expensive, while fresh tomatoes are really cheap. How do I replicate the canned tomato with fresh tomatoes? I tried boiling them for a couple of minutes and then removing the peel, but the result is not the same, the sauce is too acidic.

Chef John said...

Sorry, you can't! Sauce tomatoes are not the same as fresh eating tomatoes. You have to use the canned.

olie said...

This is the best tomato sauce I have ever tasted. Thank you!

ChefJohnsBiggestFan said...

well, although shivering in fear as i peeled the little pungent, hairy, scary lookin' critter named Manchovy out of his olive Oil Trough and dropping him in his sizzling oil bath i was PLEASANTLY surprised!! I'M TELLIN YOU WHAT THAT SAUCE WAS THE KILL! I'm proud of myself for not skipping that part. It truly did impart a quality depth of flavor in the sauce. YUM. Thank you!

Maria Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Byers said...

Hi John, Watched some of your videos because I have wanted to make a great pizza sauce for a while, I see you are using the San Marzanos I haven't been able to find them locally canned but am growing that heirloom variety in my garden will I be able to replicate this recipe with them and will I need to can them first and then use them or can they be used fresh? thx

Chef John said...

Yes, you can plant the seed, but unfortunately it's more of the weather and soil that makes the canned SM what they are! If you get a good crop, you should be able to use fresh, but would need to cook down to reduce the water content. You should get a can of the Italian stuff online and compare!

Mike Young said...

Hey Chef John,

I've been following your blog for a while now and I noticed you made revisions to your pizza sauce recipe. Was there a reason you removed the basil, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram, and added the fresh oregano and anchovies? It seems like a huge change and the other recipe was terrific!

shane said...

Thank you much for this and all of the amazing recipes you share.

I've make this pizza sauce regularly and it never disappoints. There is nothing quite like the smell of olive oil, garlic, anchovy, and oregano all together.

This and Wolfgang's dough recipe...so good!

Thanks and cheers.