Monday, January 10, 2011

The Classic Pepperoni Pizza and my EASY Winter Tomato Pizza Sauce

Who doesn't like the fresh from the oven, spicy, meaty, cheesy classic pepperoni pizza?  Possibly the most popular pizza in America; and for good reason.  Simple (only one ingredient other than the cheese, sauce and spices), yet filled with the classic flavors we all expect from a pizza.

But before we get to the pizza and today's tip, I am going to share my simple winter pizza sauce.  I say winter because without spending a fortune for organic hot house tomatoes, canned tomatoes are the freshest and tastiest tomatoes in the super market.  Those red things in the market have a vague tomato taste, but they have been chemically enhanced in order to look that good after their thousands of mile journey.  Fresh, local and best the are not.

Yea, canned tomatoes are my secret.  Cost effective (look for the sale, I get my cans for about 50 cents each.  When i find them that cheap, I will buy a dozen.  I personally like a thick chunky tomato sauce.  However, if you prefer, run them through a blender or food processor to get a pureed texture.

But, like I said, I use the can of petite diced as is.

Just dump into a sauce pan.  I do a small amount of doctoring as the tomatoes cook down.

I add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the tomatoes as the cook.  This adds a sweetness to the tomatoes.  It also helps the tomatoes break down so the sauce is chunky, but still spreadable liquid.

The liquid does need to thicken just a bit.  

When the tomatoes are cooked down to a chunky sauce (if you want a pureed sauce, now is the time to break out the hand blender), there is about a quarter cup of watery liquid in the pan.  I add a tablespoon of flour and stir to thicken that water up to sauce consistency.

Now is also the time to add spices.  Of course oregano is the classic ingredient in sauces, but I prefer the more complex (and easy) "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Mediterranean spice mix.  It's a formula I mix up myself every month or so.  I always have some on hand to add to several dishes.

And that's my super easy winter sauce.  You can certainly make it more complex by adding minced mushrooms, onions, olives, red wine or different spices.  You can vary the texture from a puree to chunky, you can even add Blue Cheese to the tomatoes for an extra little kick.

But, a classic, single ingredient pizza like this pepperoni demands the basic... Tomato sauce sweetened just a bit with spices added.  That's all you need.

So, here's my pizza making tip of the week...

Pizza Tip #2... 
Make your own sauce.  It's cheaper, and will have a fresher taste.  Even canned tomatoes will make a wonderful spicy, tomato filled tasting sauce.

OK... Here's how to make a 

Classic Pepperoni Pizza...

Crust of choice, premade or homemade 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Pizza sauce of choice
Mozzarella Cheese (freshly grated of course)
Pepperoni, sliced thin

  • Preheat oven and pizza stone (or heavy baking sheet) to 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll your crust out on parchment paper to your likeness... Thin, Chewy or thick like a bread.
  • Brush Olive oil around the edges to get a beautiful Golden Brown and Delicious looking crust.
  • Salt and pepper the crust at this time
  • Layer the pizza sauce to within 1/2 inch of the edge
  • Top with Mozzarella..
  • add LOTS of pepperoni
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble and get that baked color.



  1. I could go for a slice right now.

  2. I LOVE EASY!!! and this sounds EASY!!! and your PIZZA looks AWESOME!!! There's nothing like homemade pizza.

  3. That looks really good. I am craving for a slice or two or three now... yum.

  4. Wonderful, Dave! I mentioned this post in my weekly Mystery Lovers Kitchen blog post (to go live at midnight tonight). Cook with joy!

    ~ Cleo
    Mystery Lovers' Kitchen
    “Mystery writers cooking up crime…and recipes.”

  5. Pepperoni is my favorite pizza, with onions and green peppers, and yours looks scrumptious! And the homemade sauce looks wonderful and I'll be trying it, soon! Merci for the great recipe, cher!

  6. I am seriously drooling just looking at this pizza! Oh the pepperoni. I want.

  7. Canned tomatoes can make a great sauce! Thanks for reminding us. You
    are right Winter tomatoes in the store are not fresh, local and best!


  8. I need to learn to make a pizza sauce.

  9. What a coincidence! We just made tomato sauce tonight (after buying a year's worth of canned whole tomatoes from the "can can" sale). We used oregano, hot pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. To make an easy meat sauce, we'll add leftover beef, and/or ground meat (like turkey).

  10. Pizza is one of the things on my list to make for this year. Your post has just reminded me. I use loads of canned tomatoes too and will try to make my own pizza sauce when I do get around to making pizza.

  11. Yeah, the tomatoes in the market look a bit "odd" don't they. Flavorless too. Like you, I have no problem settling for canned tomatoes this time of year. I wish I had the time and harvest to can my own.