Basic Red Sauce

My basic red sauce is a sauce of crushed up San Marzano* variety tomatoes with just a little bit of kosher salt mixed in.  (NOTE – you don’t need San Marzano variety tomatoes to make a great sauce, but I would get the highest quality canned tomatoes possible).

* True San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the San Marzano area of Italy around the base of Mt. Vesuvias.  Much of what is labeled “San Marzano” in the U.S. actually comes from San Marzano variety seeds, but is grown domestically or somewhere other than Italy.

Makes about 1.5 cups of sauce or enough for one pie.


  • One 28 oz. can of high quality whole peeled tomatoes (I like Fontanella if I can find them or Cento San Marzano Organic)
  • Sea salt or coarse kosher salt to taste
  • A few shakes of dried oregano if you want


I make the sauce by first squeezing the excess water out of the canned tomatoes and getting out as many of the seeds as possible.  I then mix the tomatoes with a little of the puree that comes in the can and blend it all together with an immersion blender until it reaches the desired consistency.  I then put the sauce in a very fine mesh strainer for about 10 minutes to get out some more of the tomato water .*  I then mix in the salt (if you mix it in before straining the tomatoes, it may be too salty, as the tomatoes become more concentrated after straining).  That’s all it takes!

* A tip here – put the strainer over the (now empty) tomato can to capture the tomato water.  If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can cook this tomato water in a small sauce pan over low/med. low heat until it reduces to the consistency of tomato puree.  This really concentrates the tomato flavor and, if you add it to the finished sauce, it’ll really punch things up.

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2 Responses to Basic Red Sauce

  1. Pingback: Sopressata & Mizuna Pie | Pies in the Sky (a Pizza Blog)

  2. Pingback: CSA Week 2 (Parma Parma) | Pies in the Sky (a Pizza Blog)

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