Old Forge-style Pizza Sauce
Old Forge-style pizza is a regional favorite from a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) that loves its pizza. Dubbed “The Pizza Capital of the World” because of how many pizzerias there are per capita, this is a town that’s serious about ‘za.
Coming to us from Jim Mirabelli, the owner and chief pizza officer of the NEPA Pizza Review (a guide to all things Northeastern Pennsylvania-style pizza) this sauce is no wallflower. It’s garlicky, herby and onion-sweetened with a little dry aged cheese mixed in, and it serves as a flavorful base for the cheesy, melty, crispy pan-baked pizza that reigns supreme in Old Forge.
Because the sauce is so simple, ingredient quality matters. Jim likes to use Stanislaus Alta Cucina tomatoes, but Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes also make an excellent sauce. He notes Jersey Fresh, RedPack and Cento as suitable brands, but if none are available in your region, go with the best canned tomatoes you can find.
While this sauce is great for recreating Old Forge-style Cheese Pizza at home, it’s also delicious on lots of other types of pizzas.
This recipe appears in A Love Letter to Northeastern Pennsylvania-style Pizza by Jim Mirabelli and Old Forge-style Cheese Pizza.
Notes: This recipe calls for an immersion blender, but a food mill will also work.
830 millilitres tomato sauce, suitable for 10 pizzas
immersion blender or food mill
2 x 400-grams can of crushed tomatoes
60 grams sweet onion (about half a medium onion), chopped very fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped very fine
30 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar
5 grams (2 teaspoons) freshly ground black pepper
20 grams (4 teaspoons) extra-virgin olive oil
30 grams (⅓ cup) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
5 grams (1 tablespoon) dried oregano
5 grams (1 tablespoon) dried basil
Put the tomatoes, chopped onions, garlic, sugar and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl.Blend with an immersion blender until the sauce is fairly smooth the and onion and garlic are blended in.Add olive oil, Pecorino Romano, oregano and basil, and stir thoroughly.
The sauce is ready to be used at this point, but the flavour improves if it’s covered and refrigerated overnight.