Pizza Sauce Hack! Skip the marinara and use THIS instead!

Could this title be any more of a cliche click bait? I know, I know. But it really fits. I hate making marinara/pizza sauce and I hate buying it even more.

First, the kind you buy is WAY too sweet to use for anything else but pizza. And if you don’t already have a half opened marinara jar, there is seriously no way you need that much for your one pizza night.

But you still need something under all that cheese and toppings. Many times I make my own garlic, herb, and oil mix. But last night I looked in the fridge and it practically jumped at me singing “Put me in coach!”

Toum, you are perfect.

What is it? The garlic sauce from Zankou Chicken! Known as Toum, this Lebanese garlic sauce is the perfect consistency and flavor for pizza. To be fair, it is perfect for a lot of things and I’m currently obsessing about it.

As the creepy best friend from Love, Actually said so well: “Toum, you are perfect.”

It is garlicky without being too pungent, and it has a smooth mayonnaise consistency. We had some from our local Greek restaurant, but it only has three ingredients (lemon, garlic, and oil) and looks really easy to make.

So, I’ll try to make it soon.

I make homemade pizzas pretty regularly. We’ve even hosted make your own party nights, which are really a blast. I have a fairly specific method for pizza, developed through trial and error. I think my version works because it keeps the pizza from sticking to the cooking surface, and makes transferring the raw pizza slightly more error proof. I can’t wait to have Toum as a topping option at the next one!

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Make pizza dough. I’m not going to lie to you and say I use my own pizza dough recipe. I use Bobby Flay’s dough recipe, which I chose because it makes sense and is fairly easy to pull together, even the night before you want to make the pizzas. Just let it sit in the fridge covered over night and take it out about 1/2 hour before you are ready to turn on the oven. Otherwise, follow the instructions in the link.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. I often use grilling mats because they resist sticking. Shape the dough into a round ball and sprinkle the top with more flour. Then cover with a clean tea towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Gather your toppings. For this pizza I used Toum, mozzarella, parmesan, mushrooms, and jarred roasted red peppers.
  4. Turn the oven on to 425F (I use a pizza stone– if you do too, be sure the stone is in the oven to preheat as well.) A very hot oven and cooking surface is important to pizza— preheating is crucial.
  5. Uncover the dough and start to push and stretch it into a roundish, flat shape. Mine usually end up being rather square-like.
  6. If you have a pizza tray or board you can transfer the dough (with a grilling mat or parchment paper underneath the dough) to that before you start adding the toppings. If not, a clean cutting board works. This makes it easier to move the pizza to the oven later.
  7. Add your toppings, starting with Toum. Using the back of a spoon, spread the sauce around the dough, from edge to edge. Follow with a thin layer of cheese, any other toppings, and another thin layer of cheese.
  8. Transfer the pizza to the oven with the grilling mat or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Check out my masterful (snerk) pizza slide video:

9. Let the pizza cook for about 20 minutes, checking in after about 15 minutes. Try not to open the oven for the first 10 minutes.

Here are some glamor shots before and after:

10. Eat pizza.

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