Aren’t you always hoping to discover a secret shortcut? A step that can be skipped, with zero consequences?
When it comes to cooking, shortcuts aren’t always a boon. Skip marinating your chicken long enough and you miss out on flavor and tenderness. Throw entire eggs into your waffle batter, instead of separating them and whipping the whites to fold in later, and you compromise fluffiness.
But forgo simmering pizza sauce before putting it on homemade pizza*, and nobody will be the wiser. In fact, you’ll be rewarded, not punished, with bright tomato flavor.
I learned this from Saveur, in those back-of-the-book pages where they sneak in some awfully helpful kitchen tips. Dump a 28-oz. can of whole tomatoes into a blender (diced or crushed are fine, it’s just that whole canned tomatoes retain more of that fresh flavor). Add a couple cloves of garlic and some herbs — a handful of fresh basil along with a scatter of dried oregano, perhaps. Salt and pepper the thing, and maybe sprinkle on some red pepper flakes.
That’s it. The sauce cooks when you cook your pizza, and you’ve saved yourself the cleaning of one pan along with some precious minutes you would have spent watching it simmer.
*Have a favorite dough? Tell us about it here!
If you’re not yet a homemade pizza convert, here are some dough resources to get you started:
My hands-down favorite from Peter Reinhart.
Easy with a twist, from King Arthur Flour.
Mark Bittman‘s recipe
But in the spirit of shortcuts, there’s always the ready-made dough from Trader Joe’s. It’s marvelously easy to work with, and I always keep an extra or two in my freezer for times when I’m not able to make it from scratch.