When I first started cooking pizza’s in my newly built wood-fired pizza oven, I was in search of the best pizza sauce recipe, to go along with the best pizza dough! While trying many from tomato paste and tomato sauce to fresh garden tomatoes, I simply got the most compliments from using just San Marzano tomatoes. Adding salt, pepper and some basil, this is simply the freshest tasting sauce around, and it takes no time at all to prepare.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to find these locally. Otherwise, Amazon stocks a variety of San Marzano whole tomatoes in various sizes. If I’m doing a large pizza party, I will try to find the really large 5 lb cans, or a 6-12 pack 28oz cans.
Using these tomatoes, not only is the sauce really easy to make, but tastes great with the rest of the fresh ingredients used to make your pizzas. Even when using fresh tomatoes from the garden, there is something about these types of tomatoes that taste better.
San Marzano Tomatoes – what makes them different?
Some will argue where they are grown near Naples, Italy, in the volcanic soil, which makes the tomatoes sweeter and less acidic than other varieties.
Which brand of San Marzano tomatoes are best?
This is totally a personal taste and preference question. As you’ll see from the reviews on Amazon, there are opinions on both sides of certain brands and even tomatoes that are not labeled “San Marzano” but Italian style tomatoes. It’s really up to you. Unless I’m looking for a specific brand or really large containers for a better price, I will stick with a brand that I’ve been happy with. I also prefer the whole tomatoes vs. crushed.
I have tried Cento, Dellalo, Carmelina and Italbrand and think they are just fine, however, others reviewed and people really have different opinions. You never know what the motivation is for reviewing items on Amazon. It’s really up to personal preference and your budget .
Preparing the best pizza sauce
The way I prepare this sauce is really very simple. In the morning I open the cans and drain the tomatoes (reserve the liquid for other uses, like pasta sauce or soups). Then use a potato masher or large fork and mash the tomatoes so they are a bit broken up. I then leave the tomatoes in a strainer to continue draining for awhile. Put tomatoes in a bowl and add your favorite sea salt, pepper, basil and oregano to your liking. Keep tasting every hour or so and adjust the spices.
Spreading the sauce on the pizza
Use a slotted spoon when prepping your pizza as the tomatoes will continue to drain. If you’re making really thin pizzas you’ll want to be sure to get your pizzas in the oven right after putting the toppings on. That’s so the dough won’t get soggy and stick to the pizza peel. You can also experiment with partially cooking your pizza dough and then putting the sauce and toppings on. If you make thicker, Chicago style pizzas you probably won’t have an issue.
Here are a few other reviewers opinions:
We have tried numerous brands of San Marzano tomatoes and found this one to be the best flavor. (Italbrand)
DOP San Marzano canned tomatoes are the finest canned tomatoes on the planet
I bought these for our weekly grilled pizza night. We just smash up the tomatoes and use them for our sauce, no spices or anything! My toddler and preschooler can’t get enough, and I’ve given cans as parts of pizza kits to friends and family. They are a huge hit around here. (Carmelina)
Negatives and cautions about the tomatoes
One reviewer thought it was important that the tomatoes were labeled “D.O.P.” vs. “Certified” when purchasing tomatoes that were labeled San Marzano’s. Selecting tomatoes that are packed in puree vs. water will generally give a better flavor.
One of the most common complaints is the cost for shipping the tomatoes because of the weight, which is understandable. If you have a local specialty store that carries these, you might be able to beat the price. However, some communities might not be so lucky. I was able to beat a price with shipping buying in bulk on Amazon, over a local Italian/Pasta store that only carried smaller cans – so it really depends.
One reviewer said that by having Amazon Prime shipping, she was able to be competitive with Cento tomatoes.
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