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Pizza Sauce at Home

  • Author: Chef Leo Spizzirri


This recipe will provide enough sauce for 10-12 individual pizzas (9” – 10”) or 5-6 pan pizzas (9”x13”size). The recipe recommends letting your sauce remain overnight in the refrigerator and bringing to room temperature before using on a pizza.  You never want to use cold sauce on your dough.   Use within 24 hours or freeze for later.


  • 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes (called “pelati” in Italian) or 24-ounce bottle of tomato puree with or without chunk tomatoes (Mutti Brand is recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (about 7 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (about 14 grams)
  • 12 leaves basil (depending on size and how much you like basil), hand torn
  • 1 clove garlic


  • If using whole peeled tomatoes, you want to remove some of the water that is inside the tomato.  Take each tomato one at a time and squeeze to allow the water to drip out into a bowl where it will be discarded.  Hold the tomato close to the bowl so you don’t get water sprayed on your clothes.  When done, place the tomato into a bowl where you will mix it later.   Repeat this with all the tomatoes. 
  • Next you want to remove the “stringy bit” in each tomato and discard it.   This is at the top of the tomato where it attached to the stem. These can be bitter and you don’t want them in your sauce. 

  • Pour the remaining puree from the can into the bowl with the tomatoes.  Then hand crush the tomatoes.  They don’t need to be pulverized but just broken up into smaller pieces. 
  • Add fine sea salt.  This is an important ingredient to keep track of and adjust according to your tastes or those you are making pizza for.   If people say “this is too salty” or “this is bland” then you want to be able to adjust the quantity next time. 
  • Add extra virgin olive oil.  
  • Add the garlic.  There are several ways to do this.  It depends on how much you like garlic and how soon you plan to use the sauce. 

If you like garlic and are using the sauce today, you can cut it very finely and add it directly to the sauce.  In the video, you can see the method that Chef Leo recommends.  First cut the garlic in half and remove the “germ” in the middle.  This is where the garlic has begun to sprout and this piece is bitter.  If your garlic is “young” this is not as important but if the garlic is older, it’s good to remove this center piece. 

If you want just a light amount of garlic OR if you won’t be using the sauce for 1-2 days, then another approach is to simply flatten the garlic clove with the palm of your hand and put the entire piece in the sauce.  The garlic will intensify the longer it is in the sauce, so if you are making sauce for tomorrow, you might want to hold off on adding the garlic until you are ready to use the sauce.   You can also just remove the garlic clove after 8-10 hours.  

  • Our last ingredient is the fresh basil.  Take the basil leaves and squeeze them in your hand.  This will release the oils more readily into the sauce.  Then hand tear them into the bowl.  Cutting with a knife can cause the basil leaves to turn black, so you don’t want to do that. 
  • Mix the sauce with a spoon so that it is well mixed.  You can tell when this is mixed enough because you won’t see streaks of olive oil and the salt will be dissolved. 

If you are using the sauce today, you can just let it rest on the counter, covered.  Stir it occasionally.   Otherwise, put the sauce in the refrigerator.  I recommend letting the sauce rest for 8-10 hours, up to 24 hours maximum.  

Good luck and if you post your pizzas on social media, please tag me #AskChefLeo so I can see your work!  Ciao amici!




  • Mixing bowl
  • Paring knife
  • Container with lid