When I was a teenager, I spent a summer working as a prep cook at a pizza restaurant. I showed up at 7 a.m. and spent hours portioning pizza dough, then got off in time to make it to one of my other two jobs (nanny, ice cream server) in the afternoon.
You would think that after months in the kitchen of a place that turned out pizza after pizza, and little else, I would have picked up a few tips of the trade. But if that summer taught me anything at all about pizza, I’ve long since forgotten it.
I don’t even remember eating pizza much that summer and I’m not all that sure what we made was actually any good. Most of my pizza-related memories involve pizza from elsewhere: late night, pizza-by-the-slice places including a Middle Eastern restaurant that sold pies topped with falafel and another with notoriously gruff staff where someone was once shot in, as I recall, a dispute over the last slice of the night.
I don’t eat pizza much anymore but every now and then I really crave it. But I mostly consider pizza a convenience food reserved for nights when I really don’t feel like cooking, so I’m not likely to go to much trouble to make it myself.
Last week, I picked up some whole-wheat, ready-made pizza dough at the grocery store and threw together this no-cook sauce for a weeknight pizza that was ready in less time than it would have taken to wait for delivery.
I feel like pizza sauce often tastes predominately of tomato paste, but this sauce skips the paste and doesn’t cook until the pizza goes into the oven. The result is fresh, lively and astoundingly easy to make.
- 1 28-ounce can of tomatoes (whole or diced, I used the fire-roasted kind), drained
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled or minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or red-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs (the original recipe calls for dried oregano, but I ran out and used sage, thyme and basil instead)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar, optional
- pinch salt
- a few grinds of fresh black pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process for about 30 seconds until all the large pieces of tomato are broken down. The sauce will not be completely smooth but everything should be well combined with only little bits of tomato remaining.
Refrigerate until ready to use.