Yes, yes, you can absolutely use passata as pizza sauce. The only caveat is that you need to be prepared to jazz it up a little with some herbs, seasoning, or garlic. I use it all the time at home, and it’s my number one choice for any pizzas that need a tomato base. It compliments the mozzarella and the various toppings beautifully.
Passata is very similar to tomato puree. It is lightly cooked tomatoes that have been strained and sieved, removing the skins and seeds to create a thick, smooth, sauce-like consistency. Passata may contain a little bit of salt but, otherwise, no seasoning, and the original tomato passata is 100% tomato.
How to Use Passata as a Base Sauce?
Passata works well as a base sauce for most tomato-based Italian dishes giving them a rich and flavorful taste. If you find recipes that call for tomato puree, especially in the US, you can use passata instead if that’s all you have in the cupboard.
Passata or puree is not to be confused with tomato paste, which is something wholly different, a much more concentrated version of passata or tomato puree.
Italian passata is considered slightly sweeter than tomato puree. When you use passata for your pizza, add a dash of olive oil, herbs like oregano, fresh garlic or garlic salt, and a little bit of sugar or sweet sauce like bbq to cut the acidity.
I use sweet chili sauce, which adds a bit of sweetness and a lot of kick. All of this is based on personal preference and may require a little trial and error to get it exactly how you like it, but let me tell you, it’s worth the effort.
The Difference Between Tomato Passata, Puree, Paste, and Sauce
You will likely encounter one of four tomato “sauce” types in your day-to-day cooking. The first is passata, which is essentially a tomato puree. It requires some seasoning and works well for rich soups, stews, and pasta dishes. Passata is especially useful as the base for your custom pizza sauce.
Depending on where you are in the world, tomato puree is pretty much the same thing, and they are interchangeable.
On the other hand, tomato paste is a concentrated puree, and it is very thick. Tomato paste is made using industrial processes, including evaporation and extremely high temperatures. I use paste with tinned tomatoes to give it a more robust flavor in dishes.
Tomato sauce is an entirely different beast and should be considered in two different categories. The first is the equivalent of ketchup. Of the four, it is the only one you are likely to find on a hot dog unless it has been seasoned or heavily altered.
Tomato sauce in this form is a little too sweet to make a good pizza sauce unless it has been mixed with crushed tomatoes. This combination would need blending and reducing.
The other tomato sauce variation is often labeled pasta sauce and is passata or puree seasoned with herbs, like basil and other flavorings, ahead of time for your convenience. It has also usually been thickened and will work in a pinch as a pizza sauce.
How Do I Thicken Passata Sauce?
You can thicken your bottled passata sauce by placing it on the heat and reducing it by simmering it for at least 10 minutes. If you are in a hurry, you can add tomato paste or a little corn flour.
Still, it should not be necessary for pizza sauce specifically as passata is already a reasonably thick sauce. You don’t want it to have a paste-like consistency on your pizza as it is not appetizing, particularly for thin-crust bases.
At the same time, your passata must not be too watery because this will give you a soggy base. Apply the passata thinly with a pastry brush and spread it evenly over your pizza bases.
Can I Make My Own Passata for Using on Pizza?
Yes, definitely. Bottled passata sauce is convenient, but you can make your passata if you really want to, and there are recipes widely available on the web. It involves cutting up large, ripe tomatoes, deseeding them, cooking and then pureeing them, and storing them in sterilized glass containers.
If you are making passata, then make a batch of it. It is not worth the effort to make it for one dish. Making your own passata is one step away from making pizza sauce, so you can separate some to make pizza sauce.
Which Tomatoes Make the Best Homemade Passata?
Here you want a tomato that is not too watery. Ideally, the tomatoes you use need to be sweet, ripe, and red. The variety of tomato that makes the best passata is the San Marzano. These plum tomatoes are flavorful with an intense color, and unlike salad tomatoes, they are not too watery.
Can I Make Passata Using Tinned Tomatoes?
Yes, you can make passata from tinned tomatoes. A tomato is a very forgiving sort of fruit. Strain and separate the excess liquid, process it, and discard the skins and seeds by sieving them. Passata works well as a replacement in recipes that call for tinned tomatoes, and the sauce will be thicker and more flavorful.
At the same time, if you are out of your favorite passata for making pizzas, then tinned tomatoes are a good alternative if they are not too watery.
Toppings That Go Well With Passata
Passata pairs well with most traditional pizza toppings, but it is good to know that it is vegetarian and vegan friendly if you prefer vegetarian meals. A pizza base with some well-seasoned passata, your preferred mozzarella, and some garlic is an easy go-to meal designed to feed even the pickiest of eaters, even the little ones.
Passata and Pizza, a Match in Italian Food Heaven
Passata is an excellent choice for making pizza sauce. This versatile sauce offers a robust flavor that contributes to the overall deliciousness of the pizza we know and love. Passata is readily available throughout the US and the next time you are at the store, grab a bottle and experiment.