Basic Tomato Sauce and Tomato Pie

Basic tomato sauce and tomato pie
Basic tomato sauce and tomato pie

Tomato Sauce:

This tomato sauce is really not much more than pulped tomatoes. Nevertheless, in all its simplicity, it is an ideal foundation for many pizzas because the toppings that will go over it and blend with it bring a bouquet of flavors to the pie. I don’t want the sauce and toppings fighting each other. Harmony: That’s my mantra.

Makes 620 to 800 grams (depending on whether you use fresh or canned tomatoes, which yield a greater volume); or enough for about 8 pizzas


700 grams (1 1/2 pounds) ripe plum tomatoes or 1 794-gram (28-ounce) can peeled Italian plum tomatoes
20 grams (about 2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
2 grams (1/4 teaspoon) fine sea salt


1. If using fresh tomatoes, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pot.

2. Cut away the dry stem area of the tomatoes, leaving the core intact. Place 2 or 3 tomatoes at a time in the boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and put on a rack to cool. Peel the tomatoes with a paring knife.

3. Whether using fresh or canned, cut each tomato into several wedges and run them through a food mill over a medium bowl to create a pulp (not a fine puree; you want to retain some texture). If you don’t have a food mill, just squish them with your hands—it’s messy but fun.

4. Stir in the olive oil and salt. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Tomato Pie

It may be a good idea to make this elemental tomato pizza first, before moving on to anything else. I know that at first blush it seems too simple to be good, mostly just sauce and bread. But even if you doubt me now, I don’t think you will later. This pie is great practice for preparing the dough and learning my cooking method. And as you try one pie after another, you’ll also begin to get the idea of how I construct a pizza. If I start by thinking about this unadorned tomato version, for instance, I know that with a simple addition of flavorings it can easily be transformed. I might use cheese and arugula or olives and anchovy. It’s all a matter of imagination, something like architecture; you build a base and go from there. 

Makes one 10- to 12-inch pizza.


1 ball of Pizza Dough, shaped and waiting on a floured peel
70 grams (1/4 cup) Basic Tomato Sauce (see above)
Generous pinch of fine sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


1. Put the pizza stone on a rack in a gas oven about 8 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven on bake at 500F for 30 minutes. Switch to broil for 10 minutes.

2. With the dough on the peel, spoon the tomato sauce over the surface and spread it evenly, leaving about an inch of the rim untouched. Sprinkle with salt. Drizzle oil over the pie.

3. With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3 minutes under gas (somewhat longer with an electric oven), until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt.

4. Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a tray or serving platter before slicing it into wedges. Serve immediately.

My Pizza

Excerpted from My Pizza The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home by Jim Lahey and Rick Flaste, published by Clarkson Potter.



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