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Old Forge-style Pizza Sauce

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 FreshRedPack 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.

15 minutes 

830 millilitres tomato sauce, suitable for 10 pizzas

immersion blender or food mill
mixing bowl 

2 x 400-gram cans 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
Old Forge-style Pizza Sauce ingredientsMethod
Put the tomatoes, chopped onions, garlic, sugar and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl.Old Forge-style Pizza Sauce Blend with an immersion blender until the sauce is fairly smooth the and onion and garlic are blended in.Old Forge-style Pizza Sauce Add olive oil, Pecorino Romano, oregano and basil, and stir thoroughly.
Old Forge-style Pizza SauceThe sauce is ready to be used at this point, but the flavour improves if it’s covered and refrigerated overnight.


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