DIY Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe: Cook Like An Italian Chef

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Pizzaiola sauce Recipe , an Italian classic, elevates any dish. Made with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and olive oil, it enhances flavors effortlessly. Sauté garlic, add tomatoes and oregano, and simmer for a rich, aromatic sauce. Use it with pasta, meats, or veggies—it’s versatile. Customize with your favorite herbs and spices for a unique twist.

Pizzaiola Sauce, with its enticing aroma and rich flavor, brings back memories of my travels through Europe and the Middle East. Despite trying various local cuisines, the simplicity and robustness of this Italian delight always stand out.

Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

Inspired by a friend’s recipe from Italy—made with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and olive oil—our homemade pizza topped with Pizzaiola Sauce became an instant hit, even with our picky eaters.

Recreating this sauce can be challenging, but with the right ingredients and patience, you can achieve an authentic Italian taste. Customize it with your preferred herbs and spices to suit your palate. 

Pizzaiola Sauce’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for pasta, meats, and veggies, making it a kitchen essential for culinary exploration.

What Is Pizzaiola Sauce?

Pizzaiola Sauce is a traditional Italian sauce with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. It enhances the flavors of meat dishes, pasta, and even vegetables. The process involves sautéing garlic in olive oil, then adding tomatoes and oregano. 

The mixture is then simmered until it thickens into a rich and aromatic sauce. My best advice is to use fresh ingredients to ensure a full-flavored result.

When in doubt, don’t forget that it is better to let the sauce simmer for a longer time to develop its flavors. 

History Of Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

The origins of Pizzaiola Sauce date back to Southern Italy, where Neapolitan cooks created it. According to tradition, the sauce was invented to add flavor to lesser cuts of meat, transforming them into delicious and savory dishes. 

The name “Pizzaiola” comes from the Italian word for pizza maker, “pizzaiolo,” and the sauce was named as such because its ingredients are similar to those used on pizza. Tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and olive oil are common toppings on Italian pizzas. 

Over time, the sauce has evolved and is now used as a topping for various foods, including pasta and vegetables. It has become a beloved staple in Italian cuisine, enjoyed by people worldwide.

Interesting Facts About Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

Pizzaiola sauce, a robust and aromatic concoction, originates from Italian cuisine, marrying the essence of pizza flavors with a rich, tomato-based sauce.

This culinary gem has been a staple in Italian cooking, bringing a burst of herby, tangy, and savory notes to a variety of dishes.

Italian Roots

Pizzaiola sauce originates from Naples, Italy, reflecting the rich culinary traditions of the region.

Tomato Base

This savory sauce is centered around tomatoes, often fresh or canned, providing a vibrant and robust flavor

Simplicity Is Key

Authentic Pizzaiola sauce celebrates simplicity, with a handful of quality ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs.

Versatile Pairing

Originally crafted for pizzas, Pizzaiola sauce has evolved into a versatile companion, enhancing the flavors of pasta, meat, and even seafood.

Herbal Symphony

Oregano and basil play a starring role, contributing to the sauce’s aromatic profile and adding depth to each spoonful.

Garlic Infusion

A characteristic garlic infusion adds a savory punch, elevating the sauce’s overall complexity.

Slow Simmer

The best Pizzaiola sauces are often the result of slow simmering, allowing flavors to meld and intensify.

Jar And Ingredients

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

Pizzaiola Sauce has seen various regional adaptations since its inception. In some parts of Italy, chefs add anchovies or capers to the sauce for an extra flavor. Whereas in other regions, they might include bell peppers or onions for a touch of sweetness

Some even use different herbs, such as basil or rosemary, instead of oregano, tailoring the sauce to local tastes. It is a good idea to experiment with these regional adaptations to discover new flavors and combinations. 

When in doubt, you don’t have to stick to the traditional recipe; feel free to add or omit ingredients according to your preferences. My best advice is to have fun with it and make the sauce your own.

What Will Make You Love This Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe?

You will love this Pizzaiola Sauce recipe for its simplicity and rich flavor. Made with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and olive oil, it is an excellent addition to various dishes, from pasta to meat to vegetables. The sauce is versatile and can be customized to suit your taste by adding your favorite herbs and spices. 

Bowl And Spoon

When in doubt about what sauce to use, Pizzaiola is always a good idea. It’s also great for those experimenting with new flavors, as the ingredients can be easily adjusted to create something unique. 

Yet, don’t forget that it is better to use fresh ingredients, as this will ensure a full-flavored result. Once you try this sauce, you won’t want to return to store-bought versions. My best advice is to give it a try and see for yourself how delicious it can be.

Ingredients List

Olive oil2 tablespoons
Onion, diced1
Garlic, minced or pressed2 cloves
Red bell pepper, sliced1
Green bell pepper, sliced1
Dried oregano1 teaspoon
Dried basil1 teaspoon
Red pepper flakes1/4 teaspoon
Fresh parsley, chopped2 tablespoons
Crushed tomatoes28-ounce can
Fresh parsley, for garnishas desired

Ingredient Tips 

  • Use high-quality olive oil for the best flavor.
  • When in doubt, choose a sweet variety of onion.
  • Fresh garlic is a good idea, as it will provide a more robust flavor compared to pre-minced versions.
  • Select bell peppers that are firm and glossy.
  • It is better to use fresh oregano and basil if possible, as they will provide a more vibrant taste.
  • Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your preferred spice level.
  • Fresh parsley should be bright green and free from any yellow spots.
  • Opt for crushed tomatoes that have no added salt or preservatives.
  • Don’t forget to rinse and chop the parsley finely for a better texture.

What Are The Variations Of Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe?

There are several variations of Pizzaiola Sauce recipe to suit different tastes and preferences. One popular version includes the addition of capers and anchovies, which add a rich, umami flavor to the sauce. 

Another variation is to add different vegetables, such as mushrooms or zucchini, for added texture and nutrition. Some chefs also like to include a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar for a touch of acidity and depth of flavor. 

It’s a good idea to experiment with different herbs and spices, such as rosemary, thyme, or chili powder, to create your unique version of the sauce. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to tweak the recipe and make it your own.


Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Cook the onions, garlic, and red and green peppers until the onions begin to turn translucent, and the peppers begin to soften, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the chopped parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, and oregano.
  • Crushed tomatoes should be added.
  • On a moderate flame, bring the mixture to a boil. After that, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with cooked pork, chicken, or steaks.
  • Add some freshly cut parsley as a garnish and serve.

Savor the essence of Italy with Pizzaiola sauce, where ripe tomatoes, aromatic herbs, and a touch of magic create culinary harmony.

Scaling The Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

When scaling the Pizzaiola Sauce recipe, it’s essential to maintain the balance of flavors. If you’re doubling the recipe, double each ingredient accurately. Conversely, if you’re halving the recipe, reduce each ingredient by half. 

It is better to use a kitchen scale for precise measurements. When in doubt, you don’t have to be exact with the herbs and spices, as these can be adjusted according to taste. Yet, don’t forget to taste the sauce as you go and adjust the seasonings accordingly. 

My best advice is to make a larger batch, as the sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for a longer shelf life. This way, you’ll always have a delicious homemade sauce for your meals.

Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

Yes, Pizzaiola Sauce can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, or salad dressing. As a marinade, it adds a rich and robust flavor to meats, enhancing their taste. When used as a dipping sauce, it pairs well with breadsticks, cheese, or fried foods. 

As a dressing, it adds a tangy and flavorful kick to salads. Its versatility makes it great for various dishes. Yet, don’t forget that it is better to adjust the consistency and seasoning of the sauce according to its intended use. 

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe?

Pizzaiola Pizza

Elevate your pizza game by using Pizzaiola sauce as the base, adding a burst of authentic Italian flavor to your homemade pizza.

Pasta Pizzaiola

Toss al dente pasta in Pizzaiola sauce for a quick and delicious meal, combining the richness of the sauce with the simplicity of pasta.

Eggplant Parmesan

Layered with Pizzaiola sauce, eggplant Parmesan becomes a mouthwatering vegetarian dish with layers of cheesy goodness.

Pizzaiola Steak

Coat your favorite cut of steak in Pizzaiola sauce for a hearty and flavorful twist on a classic steak dinner.

Pizzaiola Meatballs

nfuse your meatballs with the flavors of Italy by simmering them in Pizzaiola sauce, creating a savory and satisfying dish.

Pizzaiola Calzone

Fill a calzone with Pizzaiola sauce, mozzarella, and your favorite toppings for a handheld delight bursting with Italian flavors.

Pizzaiola Bruschetta

Top crispy bruschetta with Pizzaiola sauce and fresh herbs for a delightful appetizer or snack.

Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe?

Pizzaiola Sauce is a classic Italian sauce featured in many traditional dishes. One of the most popular is “Carne alla Pizzaiola,” a dish with beef or pork cooked in the sauce until tender and flavorful. 

Another classic dish is “Pesce alla Pizzaiola,” where fish filets are simmered in the sauce, absorbing its rich flavors. It is also commonly used as a topping for pasta, pizza, or grilled vegetables. 

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe Offers? 

Pizzaiola Sauce offers a rich and robust flavor profile that is a hallmark of traditional Italian cuisine. The tomatoes provide a sweet and tangy base, while the garlic adds a pungent and aromatic quality. 

The oregano and basil contribute a herby and earthy note, and the red pepper flakes give the sauce a slight heat. The olive oil rounds out the flavors, adding a fruity and peppery taste. 

Together, these ingredients create a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and spicy sensations that dance on the palate. The sauce is so delicious that you won’t be able to resist going back for seconds! 

Jar And Spoon

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

Yes, Pizzaiola Sauce can be stored and preserved for future use. It is better to let the sauce cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container.

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you want to preserve it longer, it is a good idea to freeze the sauce. 

When freezing, it is recommended to portion the sauce into small, manageable servings. This way, you can thaw and use only what you need. The frozen sauce will have a shelf life of up to three months. 

Yet, don’t forget to label the container with the date to ensure it is used within the recommended time frame. My best advice is to always check the sauce for signs of spoilage before using it.

What Are The Substitutes For Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe?

If you don’t have Pizzaiola Sauce, there are several substitutes you can use. Marinara Sauce or Tomato Sauce are good alternatives, as they have a similar tomato base. You can also use Bolognese Sauce or Puttanesca Sauce, which are rich and flavorful. 

These sauces can be enhanced with additional herbs and spices to mimic the taste of Pizzaiola Sauce. When in doubt, you can also make a simple tomato sauce by simmering crushed tomatoes with garlic, onions, and your choice of herbs and spices. 

Yet, don’t forget that the substitutions may not provide the same flavor profile as Pizzaiola Sauce. My best advice is to experiment with different sauces and find the one that suits your palate.

Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

If the Pizzaiola Sauce is too thick, it is a good idea to add a little water or broth until the desired consistency is reached. Conversely, if the sauce is too thin, you can simmer it for a longer time to allow it to reduce and thicken. 

When in doubt, it is better to add liquids in small increments and simmer until the sauce has reached the perfect consistency. Yet, don’t forget that the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. 

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

Pizzaiola Sauce is typically served warm, as this helps to enhance its flavors and makes it more enjoyable to eat. When serving the sauce with meats, pasta, or vegetables, it is a good idea to heat it until it is hot but not boiling. 

Yet, don’t forget that the sauce can also be used as a marinade or salad dressing, in which case it can be served at room temperature or cold.

If you’re not sure, my best advice is to consider the dish you are serving and choose the temperature that will complement it the best.

Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

Nutritional Values

Pizzaiola Sauce is low in calories and fat yet packed with vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and herbs. It adds flavor to dishes without extra calories, making it a healthy choice for any meal.

What Are The Total Calories In Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe?

The total calories in the Pizzaiola Sauce recipe largely depend on the ingredients used and their quantities.

However, a rough estimate for the entire recipe would be approximately 300 to 400 calories. This estimate includes the olive oil, vegetables, and canned tomatoes. 

When divided into ten servings, each serving would be around 75 to 100 calories. Yet, it is essential to note that these are approximate values, and the actual caloric content may vary. 

Pizzaiola sauce, the heart of Italian culinary art, infuses the soul of pizza into every dish, transforming the ordinary into extraordinary.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

Pizzaiola Sauce is suitable for a variety of dietary restrictions, yet some considerations include:

  • Vegetarian: The sauce is typically vegetarian, made with vegetables, herbs, and spices.
  • Vegan: The sauce is also vegan, as it contains no animal products.
  • Gluten-Free: The sauce is naturally gluten-free, making it a good option for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.
  • Nut-Free: The sauce does not contain nuts, making it suitable for those with nut allergies.
  • Dairy-Free: The sauce does not contain dairy, making it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy.
  • Low-Calorie: The sauce is low in calories, making it a healthy option for those watching their calorie intake.
  • Low-Fat: The sauce is low in fat, making it a good option for those on a low-fat diet.
  • Low-Sugar: The sauce is low in sugar, making it a good option for those watching their sugar intake.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overcooking the garlic: Garlic can burn quickly and become bitter, so it is important to cook it for just a minute until it becomes aromatic.
  • Not cooking the vegetables enough: The vegetables should be cooked until they are soft and tender, as this helps to develop their flavors.
  • Using low-quality tomatoes: The tomatoes are the base of the sauce, so it is important to use high-quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor.
  • Skimping on herbs and spices: The herbs and spices give the sauce its characteristic flavor, so don’t be afraid to use them generously.
  • Not simmering the sauce long enough: The sauce should be simmered for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Not tasting and adjusting the seasonings: Always taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your liking before serving.
  • Forgetting to garnish: A sprinkle of fresh parsley adds a bright and fresh flavor to the sauce, so don’t forget to garnish before serving.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Pizza topping: Use the sauce as a base for homemade pizza.
  • Marinade: Marinate meats such as chicken, beef, or pork in the sauce before grilling or roasting.
  • Sandwich spread: Use the sauce as a flavorful spread for sandwiches or wraps.
  • Dip: Serve the sauce as a dipping sauce for breadsticks, mozzarella sticks, or other appetizers.
  • Stew base: Use the sauce for a hearty stew with vegetables and meat.
  • Pasta bake: Mix the sauce with cooked pasta and cheese for a delicious pasta bake.
  • Shakshuka: Use the sauce as a base for shakshuka, a North African dish of poached eggs in tomato sauce.
  • Omelet filling: Add the sauce to an omelet for a flavorful filling.
  • Grilled cheese: Spread the sauce inside a grilled cheese sandwich for an Italian twist.
  • Savory pancakes: Add the sauce to the pancake batter for savory pancakes.
Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Large skillet: A large skillet is necessary for sautéing the vegetables and simmering the sauce.
  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is useful for stirring the sauce and preventing it from sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
  • Chopping board: A chopping board is needed for preparing the vegetables.
  • Sharp knife: A sharp knife is essential for chopping the vegetables.
  • Can opener: A can opener is needed to open the canned tomatoes.
  • Measuring spoons: Measuring spoons are required to measure the herbs, spices, and other seasonings.
  • Garlic press: A garlic press is useful for mincing the garlic.
  • Serving spoon: A serving spoon is needed to spoon the sauce over the dish.
  • Ladle: A ladle is useful for portioning out the sauce.
  • Airtight container: An airtight container is necessary for storing any leftover sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Make The Pizzaiola Sauce Ahead Of Time?

Yes, the sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to three months.

Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes Instead Of Canned?

Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes, but you must peel and seed them first. You must also adjust the cooking time, as fresh tomatoes will release more water than canned.

Can I Make The Sauce Spicier?

Yes, you can add more red pepper flakes or chopped chili pepper for additional heat.

Can I Use Dried Herbs Instead Of Fresh?

Yes, you can use dried herbs, but you must adjust the quantity, as dried herbs are more potent than fresh.

Can I Freeze The Sauce?

Yes, the sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months. Just be sure to let it cool completely before freezing.

DIY Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe: Cook Like An Italian Chef

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Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Sauces


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Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe is a rich and flavorful Italian sauce with crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions, and various herbs and spices. It is commonly used as a topping for meats, pasta, and vegetables. It can also be used as a marinade, sandwich spread, or dipping sauce. The sauce is low in calories and fat, making it a healthy and versatile addition to any meal.


  • 2 tablespoons 2 Olive oil

  • 1 1 Onion, diced

  • 2 2 Garlic, cloves minced or pressed

  • 1 1 Red bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 1 Green bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 Red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Fresh parsley, chopped

  • 28 ounce 28 Crushed tomatoes

  • Fresh parsley, for garnish (As Desired)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add 1 diced onion, 2 minced or pressed garlic cloves, 1 sliced red bell pepper, and 1 sliced green bell pepper. Cook until the onions turn translucent and the peppers begin to soften, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped.
  • Add 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes to the skillet.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Spoon the sauce over cooked steaks, chicken, or pork.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve.

Recipe Video


  • The sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to three months.
  • If you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth.
  • For a spicier sauce, add more red pepper flakes or a chopped chili pepper.
  • Feel free to add other vegetables, such as mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant, for additional flavor and texture.
  • If you don’t have fresh parsley, you can substitute it with dried parsley or another fresh herb such as basil or cilantro.
  • The sauce can be used as a base for other dishes such as pizza, lasagna, or pasta bake.
  • This versatile recipe can be easily adapted to suit your taste preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs, spices, and vegetables to make it your own.

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