You may have been asking yourself: “I wonder what Kate did with that second ball of delicious pizza dough…”
Wonder no more!
Since we already covered the dough portion of delicious pizza, it’s time to talk sauce. I like my pizza sauce garlicky, with a punch of oregano and bit of spice. I also want it to have some texture, so it features prominently on the pizza and doesn’t just seem like an obligatory condiment.
The great part of this recipe is that it’s pretty fast. It’s a quick cooking sauce that goes from mise en place to cooling on your counter in about 20 minutes.
You can make this sauce any time of year. Fresh, tasty tomatoes not in season? No problem! Good quality canned tomatoes can be found at any supermarket year round (and San Marzano tomatoes are excellent if you can find them). You can also substitute the fresh basil for 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil. Just add it in with the other dried herbs in stead of at the end of cooking.
Makes enough for 2 to 4 12-inch pizzas… depending on how much you like sauce.
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Small handful fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pour the can of whole tomatoes into a large bowl (liquid, too). Crush the tomatoes with your hands until no large pieces remain. This will take a few minutes.
- In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent, 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic to the sauce pan and saute 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Add oregano, thyme, pepper flakes, and salt. Saute 30 seconds more.
- Add tomatoes and stir well. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes until desired sauciness. (It will thicken up a bit.)
- Remove from the heat, add basil and stir well. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.
- Pour sauce into a bowl and allow to cool before spreading on pizza.
When it comes to topping a saucy pizza, the sky’s pretty much the limit. You can use whatever vegetables, vegan cheezes, and veggie meats you like. For our pizza, we went with daiya mozzarella style shreds, yellow pepper strips, and a couple sliced up Italian Field Roast sausages. We had some of the Fresh VeganMozz leftover, so we put that on top, too.
Then, it’s the same baking method as outlined in Monday’s Vegan Pizza Margherita post. In short: Preheat your oven as hot as it gets with your pizza stone 4 to 5 inches from the broiler element. Bake the pizza on the stone for 10 to 12 minutes, until it just starts to brown. Broil for 2-5 minutes until the top is as browned to your preference.
Like I said, you can be as creative as you like with toppings (Read: use up whatever’s in your fridge). And here are some tips for pizza topping success:
- Lightly brush your crust with olive oil before putting sauce on the raw dough, it keeps the crust from getting soggy when baked.
- Don’t put too much sauce on the pizza, it can weigh it down and the crust won’t cook correctly.
- There is –unfortunately– such a thing as too many toppings. Subtle flavors get lost when there are too many to pay attention to. I like to keep it down to 5 or less (usually less), not counting the vegan cheese(s).
- Be sure to brown veggie meats in a pan with some olive oil before putting them on the pizza. The final product will look and taste much more delicious.
- If you’re going for a veggie pizza, roast your cut up veggies (except spinach) in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes before putting them on the pizza. This way most of the water gets cooked out of the vegetables, and your pizza is less likely to get soggy.
- Any leafy greens (except spinach), or delicate fresh herbs should go on after the pizza comes out of the oven. (Protip: Arugula lightly dressed with olive oil and salt is SPECTACULAR when heaped on piping hot pizza.)