Monday, August 4, 2014

The Ultimate Grilled Pizza:

Part 1: The Sauce

One of my fondest memories comes from eating one of the worst pizzas ever made. I remember as a child, my parents use to take me the drive-in movies. I'd get my blanket, my pillow, put on my jammies and off we'd go. I guess the idea was that, since it was going to be a late night, I could just crash in the back seat whenever I got tired. But it never worked out that way. I was always wide awake through both movies. In between movies, we'd play on the swings and the monkey bars. Then we'd run to the snack bar and get sodas and a pizza. Paper thin, greasy, floppy, cardboard tasting pizza. It was exquisite. This was back before those little plastic three pronged things were invented (patented in 1985, in case you were wondering) that they now put in the center of the pizza to keep the cardboard lid from sagging into the pizza cheese, thereby lifting half the cheese off the pizza when you opened the box. 

Pizza in my house is a two day project. Let me tell you, I take this stuff very seriously. A pizza pie is very simple in nature, but man, it's easy to crap it up. And, dammit, I don't do crappy.....well at least I try not to. So if it's gonna take two days, so be it. I usually make my sauce and get the dough started on day one. Then, on day two, it's just a matter prepping the toppings and baking it. And really, I make it sound like a huge endeavor but it isn't.   

We usually make pizzas when we have people over for an actual pizza party, so I like to get as much done the day before so I'm not spending too much time in the kitchen when everyone shows up. The dough recipe (next week's post) will make six personal sized pizzas, about 10" in diameter. But that's just a guess-timation because ours never turn out round. They're usually oblong, kidney shaped, or triangular and that's okay though because I think those odd shapes give the pizza character. And when it's time to start making the pizzas, I can get the guests involved in the process. Everyone has a different idea of their perfect pizza and this way they can pick exactly what they want on it. 

This sauce is a bit on the thicker side. It's not too thick but it's not runny either. I like it better that way because it doesn't run on your pizza and it helps to keep your crust crispy. You have to keep in mind that homemade pizzas don't cook quite the same way as pizzeria pizzas for the simple fact that your oven or grill can't really achieve the high temperature it takes to properly cook the pizza. But fret not, we're gonna get as close as we can with what we have. In the next post, we'll make the crust dough and finish the pizzas off. 

This recipe was inspired by this here

Pizza Sauce


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, 1/4 inch dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves


1. Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium high heat. Once shimmering, add the onion and saute for about two minutes. Now add the garlic and continue to saute for about 1 more minute until the onions are translucent and the garlic just begins to brown. Remove from heat 

2. In a medium sauce pan add the remaining ingredients. Place over a medium heat and add the onion and garlic mixture

3. Bring the sauce to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Cover and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes or so make sure the sauce doesn't scorch at the bottom.

Serves 6-8

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