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This authentic Neapolitan pizza sauce recipe is the secret ingredient to a mouthwatering pizza at home. The sauce is fresh, vibrant, and a part of Italian heritage. The key to the recipe is its simplicity and the star ingredient is the tomato. Take your tastebuds to Naples with this perfect Neapolitan pizza sauce recipe.
What is Neapolitan Pizza Sauce?
Neapolitan pizza sauce is a simple yet flavorful tomato-based sauce used on authentic Neapolitan pizzas and made with minimal ingredients.
The key ingredients are San Marzano tomatoes, salt, and sometimes a touch of extra virgin olive oil.
It is important to use high-quality ingredients to achieve an authentic Neapolitan pizza sauce.
This authentic Neapolitan sauce recipe that we share is for making the perfect tomato sauce to use on your pizza.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: To make scrumptious pizza at home with your freshly made Neapolitan pizza sauce, we recommend using a high-heat oven. We recently discovered the portable Ooni pizza oven and found it the best solution to perfectly bake pizza in less than 60 seconds.
What Is the Difference Between Pizza Sauce and Marinara Sauce?
While these two sauces share similarities, they are quite different in their purpose and preparation style.
Pizza sauce is specifically designed for pizza and is often made with uncooked or lightly cooked tomatoes to preserve their freshness and bright flavor.
Marinara sauce, on the other hand, is a more general-purpose tomato sauce used in a broad range of Italian recipes. It is typically cooked for a longer period, allowing the flavors to meld and develop a richer taste.
History of Neapolitan Pizza Sauce Recipe
The history of Neapolitan pizza sauce is intertwined with the origins of Neapolitan pizza.
The Neapolitan-style pizza traces its roots back to Naples, Italy, where it emerged as a popular street food in the late 18th century.
The sauce used in Neapolitan pizza was, and still is, a crucial element in creating the distinctive flavor of this traditional pizza.
Early Neapolitan pizzas were made with basic ingredients that were easily accessible, including San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown in the volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius.
These tomatoes have a unique flavor profile and are known for their sweetness and low acidity, making them ideal for pizza sauce.
The sauce is typically made by crushing San Marzano tomatoes and combining them with a small amount of salt.
This minimalistic approach allows the flavor of the tomatoes to shine and complements the other toppings on the pizza.
Extra virgin olive oil can sometimes be used to add rich flavors and smoothness to the sauce.
Today, Neapolitan pizza sauce continues to be a fundamental component of this beloved style of pizza.
Discovering Neapolitan Pizza Sauce in Italy
While in Italy, exploring the local food specialties, we took pizza-making classes in Sicily and Tuscany.
In Florence,Tuscany, we learned how to make gelato and pizza with authentic Neapolitan pizza sauce in a fun cooking class.
What surprised us the most about the Napoli sauce recipe was its simplicity.
We combined just a few ingredients including fresh San Marzano tomatoes, salt, and a touch of olive oil and the tomato sauce was ready to make the pizza.
If you love pizza, this easy authentic Neopolitan pizza sauce recipe will transport your taste buds straight to the bustling city of Naples.
Neapolitan Pizza Sauce Recipe – How to Make Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce at Home
To make Neapolitan pizza sauce, the secret lies in simplicity and the use of high-quality ingredients.
Just three simple ingredients are necessary for this authentic Italian pizza sauce recipe.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you love simple and authentic Italian recipes, see other traditional recipes below.
Neapolitan Pizza Sauce Recipe Recipe Tips
Type of Tomatoes to Use in This Neapolitan Pizza Sauce Recipe
If possible, use Italian San Marzano tomatoes which are considered the gold standard for Neapolitan pizza sauce.
These tomatoes come from the San Marzano region between Naples and Salerno where volcanic soils are said to produce sweeter, less acidic tomatoes.
Outside of Italy, San Marzano tomatoes are sold canned. Make sure to look for the D.O.P. certification on the can to make sure you are using the real tomatoes.
The can should have a “Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese Nocerino D.O.P.” label.
Can I Use Plum Tomatoes Instead?
The San Marzano tomato is a type of plum tomato. It is longer and thinner in shape and does not have as many seeds.
If you cannot find fresh San Marzano tomatoes or certified canned tomatoes, you can use plum tomatoes as a substitute.
While we recommend fresh plum tomatoes for this pizza sauce recipe, you may also use canned plum tomatoes.
One thing to keep in mind is that the flavor will not be the same as using San Marzano tomatoes, but the texture will be similar.
How Long Will Neapolitan Pizza Sauce Last in the Fridge
Storing pizza sauce can take place in the fridge or freezer depending on your needs. You can refrigerate your homemade San Marzano pizza sauce for up to 1 week or freeze it for several months.
When you are ready to use, reheat the delicious sauce in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.
If necessary, when reheating your classic Neapolitan pizza sauce, you can also add a bit of water to thin it out.
How to Make Tomato Sauce Less Acidic
Tomatoes are acidic with fresh tomatoes having lower acid than tomato puree or tomato paste.
In this authentic Italian pizza sauce recipe, we recommend not using sugar to balance the flavors of the sauce.
Instead, we recommend adding a small amount of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda and mixing it well.
Taste the sauce to check if the acidity is balanced. If the pizza sauce tastes too acidic, add another small pinch of bicarbonate of soda.
Authentic Pizza Sauce Recipe Step by Step Instructions
Wash and Boil Tomatoes
Remove tomato stems and wash them thoroughly under running water. Place the fresh tomatoes in a bring them to boil for a few minutes.
Blanch Tomatoes and Remove Skin and Seeds
This process of bringing the tomatoes to boil in hot water is known as blanching. Let the tomatoes boil for about 10 minutes and then drain the water. Let tomatoes cool for about 10 minutes. Once cooled, remove the tomato skins and seeds.
Make and Adjust Pizza Sauce
Place tomatoes in a food mill and grind for a slightly chunky consistency. You don’t want a smooth sauce with uniform tomato puree texture. Add a small amount of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda to balance out the acidity of the pizza dipping sauce.
Neapolitan Pizza Sauce Recipe
- Wash the tomatoes thoroughly under running water. Use a knife to remove the stems, if there are any.
- Place the fresh tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to blanch them.
- Drain the tomatoes and let them cool for 10 minutes.
- Cut the tomatoes in half, peel off the skin and remove the seeds. If you're using peeled San Marzano tomatoes, you can skip this step.
- Place the tomatoes into a food mill with large holes or using the coarse disc. Turn mill to give you tomato pulp that isn't too smooth or homogeneous. Collect any leftover sauce and pulp from the bottom of the sieve and add it to the rest of the sauce.
- Adjust the acidity of the sauce by adding a pinch of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda. Taste and add more bicarbonate of soda if needed.
- Add a pinch of salt to taste.
- Your Neapolitan perfect pizza sauce is ready to use and make a true Neapolitan pizza at home.
- It’s important to note that authentic italian pizza sauce should never be cooked. If you cook it, you can use it as a sauce for pasta instead.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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