This is my new and improved version. And by 'new and improved,' I mean 'old and secret.' Here is my top-secret formula. The next time you're making homemade pizza, you might as well make some sauce too.

Chef John
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a saucepan; stir anchovy fillets into olive oil and cook, stirring often, until the fillets begin to sizzle, about 1 minute. Mix garlic into oil and cook just until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add fresh oregano and reduce heat to low; cook until oregano is wilted, 2 or 3 more minutes.

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  • Mix red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and tomatoes into olive oil mixture. Bring sauce to a simmer and season with salt, sugar, and black pepper. Turn heat to low; simmer sauce until thickened and oil rises to the top, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Stir baking soda into pizza sauce, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Cook's Notes:

I think San Marzano tomatoes from Italy are the world's best sauce tomatoes, without a doubt.

The baking soda is supposed to mellow out the sauce a little bit, make it less acidic, and possibly prevent heartburn.

Nutrition Facts

54 calories; 3.7 g total fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 194 mg sodium. 4.9 g carbohydrates; 1.2 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (93)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
06/19/2014
I used to go to a pizza joint in Dallas the made the best pizza ever. Their sauce made the pizza. When they closed because of the death of the owner, I asked one of the son's what made their sauce to good. He said two things that other don't use. Anchovies and caraway seeds. I made this recipe and at the last minute remembered the seeds. I added about a third teaspoon of freshly crushed Caraway seed. Man, dats some good sauce! Blender Woman, If you're that picky, cut back on the pepper, don't dog the recipe. Read More
(97)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
12/06/2014
I love spicy food, but was definitely surprised at how spicy this pizza sauce was. Maybe it well mellow out once it's on the actual pizza. One important note for you "scientist" cooks out there: that 2 to 3 minutes of cooking the fresh oregano might be too long. I would just cook the fresh oregano for maybe half a minute--in reality just until the leaves barely wilted--then add the other ingredients. I ended up with burnt oregano in my sauce. Not sure this recipe is going to stand the test of time for me. It's easy to make, and not bad, but I'm going to keep looking. Read More
(5)
122 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 108
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
06/19/2014
I used to go to a pizza joint in Dallas the made the best pizza ever. Their sauce made the pizza. When they closed because of the death of the owner, I asked one of the son's what made their sauce to good. He said two things that other don't use. Anchovies and caraway seeds. I made this recipe and at the last minute remembered the seeds. I added about a third teaspoon of freshly crushed Caraway seed. Man, dats some good sauce! Blender Woman, If you're that picky, cut back on the pepper, don't dog the recipe. Read More
(97)
Rating: 5 stars
06/19/2014
I used to go to a pizza joint in Dallas the made the best pizza ever. Their sauce made the pizza. When they closed because of the death of the owner, I asked one of the son's what made their sauce to good. He said two things that other don't use. Anchovies and caraway seeds. I made this recipe and at the last minute remembered the seeds. I added about a third teaspoon of freshly crushed Caraway seed. Man, dats some good sauce! Blender Woman, If you're that picky, cut back on the pepper, don't dog the recipe. Read More
(97)
Rating: 5 stars
03/22/2014
Yep, this is the ONE. The two oreganos are key. Read More
(36)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/04/2016
Another excellent recipe by Chef John. I use this sauce on my red sauce pizzas. I cooked my way through college (mostly flipping pizza dough) by cooking and this is the best red sauce I have tasted. Save yourself years of research and use this recipe- don't even think about skimping on the tomatoes. Read More
(33)
Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2014
Tried this recipe for the first time last night. Worked great! Followed the recipe to the letter. Why try and improve on the new improved recipe? Made enough for two 14 1/2 pizzas. I plan to make this again ahead of time and freeze. One note for those with (sheltered) children under the age of 14 or so. Don't let them see you drop in the anchovies. "What - what are those black oily things that look like slugs? Are those slugs?! Are you putting in slugs?!" After a few minutes of reassurance and promises I was not punkin' anyone in my family all calmed down and trusted their father. And they agreed that they could not taste the "slugs" and the sauce was delicious. I was granted permission to make this again. Read More
(28)
Rating: 5 stars
03/22/2014
I made this recipe a second time exactly as written with San Marzano tomatoes this time. It was perfect using San Marzano tomatoes and didn't need the addition of wine as I had added the first time. I used 1-1/2 Tbsp of anchovy paste this time, my preference. This pizza sauce recipe is my mainstay from here on. Read More
(25)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/08/2014
Absolutely delicious! Well balanced. I made exactly as written with the TINY exception of using anchovy paste in a tube. I got lucky and found 2 cans of San Marzano (Cento) tomatoes in the dent bin last week and they were half off. Perfect way to use them!! Read More
(14)
Rating: 5 stars
12/12/2016
Do not be afraid of the anchovies! I've made my own pizza sauce for decades. Tried a few recipes from this site, but always went back to my old standby. I don't like anchovies: not the look of them, the smell of them, nothing. I decided to go out on a limb and try this recipe. I even made it early enough in the day that, if we didn't like it, I would have time to make my old standby before dinner time. I thought that I would cook the anchovies then remove them from the sauce! Ha! Who knew that anchovies "dissolve" in the oil! I continued with the rest of the recipe, using 1/4 tsp of crushed red peppers instead of 1/2 tsp. OMG. This was THE best pizza sauce I have ever made! I hid the anchovy can from my husband so it wouldn't influence his opinion of the sauce. He agreed the sauce was very good. We did not taste anchovies, just a depth of flavor. This ol' Italian girl has a new go-to for pizza sauce! Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2014
Once again Chef John another excellent recipe!! Very easy to make and the taste is the best. I agree you need to use the 2 oregano's that's where most of your flavor comes from. I will try to find San Marzano tomatoes next time though my sauce was kind of watery even though it cooked for almost two hours. My boo-boo. I think everybody should try this you won't be disappointed. My hubby and kids want homemade pizzas every week now!!:) Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
08/27/2014
This was awesome sauce. I thought I would have to add more sugar but for some reason I think the baking soda really did take out that acidic taste. Amazing. I could NOT find fresh oregano...so sadly I used 2 teaspoon of dry. It was still good but I can't wait to make it with fresh. I did use anchovy fillets but I might try paste next time for convenience and see if I notice. This is now MY traditional pizza sauce. Read More
(6)
Rating: 3 stars
12/06/2014
I love spicy food, but was definitely surprised at how spicy this pizza sauce was. Maybe it well mellow out once it's on the actual pizza. One important note for you "scientist" cooks out there: that 2 to 3 minutes of cooking the fresh oregano might be too long. I would just cook the fresh oregano for maybe half a minute--in reality just until the leaves barely wilted--then add the other ingredients. I ended up with burnt oregano in my sauce. Not sure this recipe is going to stand the test of time for me. It's easy to make, and not bad, but I'm going to keep looking. Read More
(5)