Simple Pomodoro Sauce for pizza, pasta & more! There was a huge pot of this go-to tomato sauce (perfect for pasta, pizza, and soup!) simmering away on the stove almost every weekend when I was growing up. I use this sauce as a base for an essential cheese pizza that my kids love – join us for a bite!
In the last installment of our homemade pizza extravaganza, we make a Tomato Pie aka Pomodoro (cheeseless!) Pizza inspired by one of my all-time favorite slices at Gjelina in Los Angeles. The key to their extra tomatoe-ey pie is Tomato Confit — a method of long-simmering fresh tomatoes in olive oil and garlic until only their sweetest tomato essence remains. We’re also going to compare my Breville Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven to a regular oven with a pizza stone – you know I love a good carb comparative study.
And if you weren’t planning on making pizza this weekend… plans have changed — enjoy!
Makes one 10-12 inch pizza
1 recipe pizza dough (makes 2 pies)
Tomato Confit (beautifully jammy, evoo tomatoes!, makes 2 ½ cups):
2 1/2 pounds roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes or a mix! (if you are using cherry tomatoes, no need to concasse)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled smashed
Large pinch fresh thyme sprigs
3 to 4 sprigs fresh basil
Pinch red chili flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Rustic Pomodoro Sauce (makes about 4 cups):
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup grated yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-pounds roma tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes (if tomatoes aren’t in season, use 2 (28-ounce cans whole, peeled san Marzano tomatoes), cored and quartered
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ cup fresh basil leaves
Flaky sea salt, to garnish
Red chili flakes, to garnish
Dried oregano, to garnish
•Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Concasse the tomatoes (removing the skin and seeds): Cut an X gently into the bottom of the roma tomatoes. Set a bowl of ice water next to the stove. Place the tomatoes into the boiling water and allow to simmer for 20 to 30 seconds until you start to see the skin loosen and crack. Remove the tomatoes to the bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process using a slotted spoon. Allow the tomatoes to cool for 5 minutes or so until cool to the touch.
•Remove the tomatoes and begin peeling the skin and discarding. Discard the core of the tomato as well. Cut the tomatoes in half and using your finger or a small spoon, discard the seeds – the seeds can be bitter so we are ensuring we get the richest, sweetest confit here.
•Place the tomatoes into a roasting pan or large baking dish with the salt, garlic, thyme, basil, red chili flakes, and olive oil. Place into the oven uncovered and allow to slowly roast for 3 hours, rotating every hour, until the tomatoes have broken down, and are thickened and jammy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store the tomatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator, be sure the tomatoes are completely covered in the olive oil to allow these tomatoes to be safely stored for a couple of weeks.
•In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium-low. Add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant but still translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and sugar. Bring to a simmer of medium-low heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and thickened slightly – the sauce will coat the back of a spoon nicely. I like to use a potato masher to help the tomatoes break down about halfway through cooking if needed. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender until as smooth as desired. Stir in the basil during the last 5 minutes of cooking and taste for seasoning again, adding more salt or sugar as needed depending on the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.
•Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, then place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to 2 months!
•Preheat the oven to 450ºF and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven. Dust a pizza peel with semolina flour so the dough doesn’t stick.
•Gently stretch the dough using your hands and forearms carefully into a 10 to 12-inch round. Place onto the pizza peel. Brush the crust with olive oil. Top with a scant cup of Pomodoro sauce –you can do this to your liking, but don’t put too much sauce, we don’t want the crust to be soggy! Top with ¼ cup or so of tomato confit.
•Place the pie onto the pizza stone and bake for 14 to 18 minutes, rotating halfway through until the crust is golden brown and sauce is slightly more set. Remove from the oven and garnish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, chili flakes, dried oregano, whatever you like! Slice and serve.