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Yup, me again … just about anything can be an ‘okay & acceptable tomato pizza sauce’ even some crushed tomatoes with some salt and olive oil and maybe some pepper because simple is really nice too.

But how great can that pizza ‘sauce’ be (and I say ‘sauce’ as opposed to a crushed tomato spread) when you don’t combine it with a multitude of toppings that will compete with each other ?

We’re gonna make a pizza sauce that is as good ‘on its own’ (and all alone) and a sauce that can ‘hold its own’ when competing with a variety of attention-seeking toppings : cheeses, meat and sliced sausages and other vegetable toppings.

It has to be fresh and subtle (crushed fennel seeds are helpful and fresh tomato plant leaves in summertime are great additions), not too spicy (but that’s up to you) and also not too herby (I prefer a lot of dried oregano but I use bay leaves, parsley and some basil too) so it can be harmonious with most toppings. It must be very smooth (like a purée) so that you don’t end up ripping apart the dough as you’re spreading a thin layer of sauce onto it.

I admit that this pizza tomato sauce recipe that I experimented with (and in which I used a large variety of small quantities of spices) is just like how I remember it because it reminds me of pizza in MONTREAL, which is where I grew up …

And so next week it’s part 3 of the pizza series : authentic MONTREAL-STYLE ALL-DRESSED PIZZA with my own techniques for making it at home in a regular domestic oven but as tasty & crispy & chewy as an authentic pizzeria version (whether eaten in the restaurant or delivered straight to your door) !

pizza sauce : part 2 (of 4) of the 'pizza series'


480 grams - 2 cups


  • 400 grams (1 can) crushed tomatoes
  • 70 grams (1 small can) tomato paste
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil + 15 ml (1 tbsp) extra if necessary
  • 30 grams (½) shallot (or ½ small onion) sliced in half or quartered
  • 7 grams (1 large clove) garlic (sliced in half)
  • 3 grams (1) anchovy (crushed) or ¼ tsp anchovy paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2,5 ml (½ tsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 gram (2 tsp) dried oregano
  • 7,5 grams (1¾ tsp) sea salt
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) ground pepper
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) allspice
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) crushed fennel seeds (or anis seeds)
  • 0,25 gram (1 pinch) chili flakes or 1/8 tsp hot Tabasco sauce
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) sweet paprika
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) smoked paprika
  • 3 grams (1-2 stalks) fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 grams (1 stalk) fresh basil
  • optional : 4 grams (1 small handful) fresh tomato plant leaves


  • heat up the olive oil in a small pot with half a shallot (left whole), 1 garlic clove (sliced in half) and the anchovy and cook at medium heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant
  • add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, crushed or ground spices and salt and balsamic vinegar and let simmer at medium or medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stir occasionally 
  • add the fresh herbs (leaves on stalks) and let cook an additional 5 minutes, then turn off, cover and let cool down
  • when cooled, remove the bay leaves, cooked herb stalks and leaves and then taste, remove the onion and the garlic if the sauce is strong enough in flavor and if not, leave the cooked onion and garlic in the sauce (which you will purée all together) and adjust to your taste with more spices if necessary
  • place the cooled sauce in a food-processor and purée/pulse until smooth and then store in individual portions* in the refrigerator (for up to several days) or freeze or reheat and sterilize in jars for larger quantities

*note : 100-120 grams (1/2 cup) of pizza tomato sauce is enough for one 30 cm pizza and 200-240 grams (1 cup) is enough for two 30 cm pizzas or one larger 45-50 cm pizza.