|A quick, easy and delicious no-cook pizza sauce made with a tomato paste base and a nice blend of seasonings and herbs.|
Easy Homemade Pizza SauceWe had homemade pizza Friday and of course I used my favorite thin and crispy crust recipe. I have nothing against home delivery of pizza, and even deli or frozen pizza - not one iota. We enjoy them all ourselves at one time or another, but this dough comes together so quick and easy that you can literally be eating pizza faster than you can run to the store, or call and get one delivered to your door y'all. It's a just-right dough too and hands-down the best thin crust to suit my needs. I hope you'll try it sometime!
In the past, I've used both a store-bought sauce and a favorite cooked pizza sauce with that dough, but a couple months back I found a new sauce I just love, and to simplify things further, it's a no-cook sauce that's both quick and easy, and delicious. It came from a cookbook I received last Christmas from Santa, along with a Ninja brand blender to replace a duct taped blender I had been using. I kid you not.
I had dropped the glass pitcher to my blender, breaking the handle and leaving exposed sharp edges at the top and bottom of where the handle once was. But the motor was fine, so I literally wrapped duct tape on the edges of the broken glass and continued using it. Even for me, that might be carrying the "use it up, wear it out" thing a little too far, but I'll be honest with you here. There's duct tape holding the handle of my old KitchenAid food processor together too.
And, yes, I am absolutely the kind of woman who not only loves to receive kitchen appliances for Christmas, but who actually asks for them. I told my husband the other day that I'd much rather he bring me home a basket of fresh veggies from a roadside stand, than flowers or some trinket - including jewelry I don't wear. 99.9% of the time I don't even wear my wedding rings because I'm in the kitchen cooking so much, that often on those rare occasions that I leave the house, I don't even remember to put them on then either.
This sauce is so crazy easy to throw together using that machine, that it's downright ridiculous, and actually, I now make both the dough and sauce in the Ninja. Of course, any food processor, or other strong blender, or even a bit of elbow grease would work just as fine. Like my dough recipe, this recipe makes enough for two large pizzas, though the sauce can also be tossed with pasta and sprinkled with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or even spooned over fried chicken cutlets or cube steaks and topped with a little mozzarella for another couple of quick supper ideas too. Double the recipe and freeze the extra.
Here's how easy it is. Put everything all together into your food processor or blender, pour in one cup of warm water and whirl it all together. Voila! That is it. Easy pizza sauce. And it's a very tasty one too!
I know I'm a windy writer, but if you don't mind reading on a bit more, here's a bit of interesting local pizza history. Many, if not most of us here in South Mississippi, eat our pizza topped with French dressing. Yep. We sure do! Though it's evolved to include the darker, more reddish Catalina version these days, it started off with a homemade creamy version of the classic, bright orange style of French dressing pictured below.
I've tried both and still prefer the creamy classic myself.
It's believed that, at least locally, topping pizza with French dressing started sometime back in the very early 60s, at a little lounge and restaurant owned back in the day by Hugo Rungo, called Hugo's Ristorante Italiano, more commonly Hugo's Pizza - or just simply Hugo's. Located on Division Street in Biloxi, near both of the east gates of Keesler Air Force base, and not very far away from the football stadium, it was a favorite hang-out among the young airmen and civilians working at the base, as well as the high school football after-crowd. Hugo's, opened in the early 50s and now long gone, became quite famous for their brick oven pizzas and folks came from all over the coast to get one.
My earliest memory of Mama working was at Hugo's, which I distinctly remember smelling as much of beer as it did food, even though the bar was on one side and the restaurant seating on the other. Seems to me there was a big potted plant they pulled in between the open doorway between the two areas to indicate whether the bar was open or closed - the same spot where this picture appears to have been taken.
Looking at that picture is like stepping back in time for me because I can distinctly remember that long bar and those tables like it was only yesterday that I was sitting right there at one of them. Back when I was still an only child and we lived on Back Bay, Mama didn't own a car or even drive, so with Daddy a little tight with the wallet and Hugo's within walking distance from where we lived, she took a job there. I doubt my Daddy even knew to be honest. He was pretty old school, and didn't agree much with women working outside of the home, but my Mama was rather independent minded and stubborn. I can remember sitting in a stool at that very bar as a young child when apparently Mama had to drag me along with her to work for whatever reason at least this once.
Though it wasn't all that unusual for a child to be seated on a bar stool with a parent back then (think Fisherman's Hangout for you locals) I guess the bar area wasn't open until later in the day, so best I can recall, I was planted over there while Mama worked through the rush. On the bar sat one of those little bar birds that rocked back and forth, dipping it's beak into a shot glass, and I can remember distinctly tapping it over and over to keep it going and keep my boredom at bay. I can also point you to tables in this picture where I actually sat many years later, while eating or waiting on a pizza for take out, though by then I believe it was actually under new ownership.
The tale on how the French dressing on pizza trend actually started at Hugo's has a few variations as tends to happen over the telling of a story, but a fella using the name "JBeaugez" over on the Chowhound boards, claims to be a living eye witness along with his wife, a then student at d'Iberville High School. He says, a friend and fellow student of his wife started it quite accidentally back in 1964, when some of the French dressing from his side salad made its way onto his pizza slice. He tasted it, liked the way it tasted, folks with him tried it on their slices, and also liked it. From then on, it took on a life of its own, as folks began asking for French dressing with their Hugo's pizza orders.
Didn't take long for squeeze bottles of French dressing to become prominent condiments on the tables of other pizza joints in Biloxi, or for it to travel up to USM campus in Hattiesburg with graduating students, where it just expanded across the coast from there.
Don't you just love food with history? Try it - you might just like it. Sprinkle a little bit of red pepper flakes on your pizza too while you're at, because like French dressing and grated cheese on pizza, that's pretty much a tradition here too. I never did care for the grated cheese myself. And try this sauce on your next homemade pizza too - I think you'll love it! Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min | Yield: About 1-3/4 cups
- 1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
- 1 cup of warm water
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes, optional
Add everything to a food processor or blender and mix well. Freezes well.
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Note: The photos of Hugos were sent to me by a reader in a collection that someone had passed on to them and that someone had passed on to them. I have no idea the original source, but if you know, please let me know so that I can give proper attribution.