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Pizza Sauce vs Spaghetti Sauce on Pizza, and the clear winner is...


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Pizza Sauce!  But not by so much the pizza isn't good with spaghetti/pasta sauce!

I've been making 12" pizzas about once a week since I got an automatic bread maker and like a 50% whole wheat flour, 50% bread flour dough recipe I've been using (50% bread flour version of this online whole wheat recipe).

The Pasta Sauce was definitely sweeter and stronger in mild spices and it tended to overpower the flavors of the other things in the pizza, though that isn't so noticeable until you take a couple bites of pasta sauce pizza followed by pizza sauce pizza - the pizza sauce isn't very sweet and compliments instead of dominates all the other flavors.

If you think about it, there isn't a lot of flavor in pasta noodles which are made from semolina and similar flours and has a slight, nutty taste, so the pasta sauce needs to provide a major part of the flavor in pasta dishes.

The experimental procedure:

I made a pizza with the sauces below.  I also bought high-rated Contadina Pizza Sauce in cans, but decided I need a jar to clean out and reuse to store the half of the 15 oz Contadina cans I don't use when I make a 12" pizza: So I grabbed Prego Pizza Sauce since I was using that brand of Pasta Sauce.  Contadina is similar in ingredients to the Prego Pizza Sauce.

The Pizza Sauce is not cooked or lightly cooked and contains tomato puree, canola oil and less than 1%: sugar, salt, dried onion and garlic, citric acid, and spices. Some cookbooks by award winning pizzeria owners use pizza sauces that are mostly crushed or ground tomatoes and simple like that in Joe Beddia's Pizza Camp book: "Makes 3½ cups (840 ml): 1 (28-ounce / 800-g) can crushed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand or passed through a food mill, 2 cloves garlic (don’t buy the pre-peeled shit from China, for crying out loud!), 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil." Note the lack of sugar!

The Garden Chunky pasta sauce is cooked and contains: tomato puree, canola oil, diced tomatoes, onions, sugar, garlic, and less than 1%: salt, citric acid, and spices.


Three notches were put into the top, bottom, and right edges of the pizza dough (half whole wheat, half bread flours) after it was hand-stretched to a 12" diameter to identify where sauces would be.  The dough was rubbed with olive oil, baked alone at 450F for 5 minutes (so it would be a little crispy by the end), then removed.  4 oz (half my whole pizza usual) of the chunky pasta sauce was applied to the side without the side notch.  Then 3.5 oz (half of half of the 14 oz. jar of pizza sauce) was applied to the other side - the pizza sauce went on more smoothly.

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The sauce was covered with 5 oz. of mozzarella and a sprinkling of Parmesan with onion, turkey pepperoni, and cut-meatball toppings, baked and cut into 6 pieces using the opposite end notches as a guide.  The third notch ID'ing the pizza sauce side is in the middle of the middle-left piece below - moved the toppings around a little to make sure I was getting some of every topping on each piece.

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I then ate four pieces of the pizza, in pairs of two: one with pasta sauce (top piece below) and one with pizza sauce.

The taste difference was very clear.  When I sat down with the second pair, I had forgotten which piece had which sauce, but one bite of each told me the answer, confirmed by consulting the cut pizza picture above.  The pasta sauce pieces were sweeter and good, but the pizza sauce let more of the topping tastes come through and I liked that a lot more!



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