If you want to win awards for best pizza, go with a a chiffonade of fresh basil. No matter what you do, DO NOT use dried basil.
Some places use dried oregano, some don't. My suggestion- don't. The star of the show should aways be the tomatoes. The minced garlic, fresh basil and salt are just enhancers to the wondrous taste of the tomato.
Cayenne/red pepper isn't bad to add a little zing, but if you do add it, make sure it's not enough to be noticed. My gut feeling is no cayenne. There's too many people that freak out with spicy foods. Offering a shaker of red pepper flakes for those who like their pizza 'caliente' is standard pizzeria fare.
Onions have no place in NY style pizza sauce. I've eat pizza from literally hundreds of pizzerias in the NY area and none of them use onions. Pasta sauce, absolutely, pizza sauce no. Pizza and pasta sauces are two completely different animals.
Olive oil, again, no place in commercial pizza sauce. NY style pizza should be a lean. fat free dough, fat free sauce and whole milk mozzarella. All the fat should come from the cheese. The layer of fat that ends up on top of the pizza is milkfat (just typing this sentence makes my mouth water!)
There's nothing wrong with these ingredients and I'm sure they make great pizzas, but if a NY style pie is your goal, don't use them. My suggestion, test drive a pizza with them and without. If you have a mental picture of what your favorite NY style pizza tastes like, the 'without' version will come closer.
Pizza sauce should never be cooked beforehand. Cooking drives off volatile flavor compounds from the tomato. The act of baking the pizza exposes the sauce to more than enough heat. This is the reason why Neapolitans use sliced raw tomatoes- the intense radiating heat from the ceilings of their wood burning ovens (1100+ deg.) would overcook a previously cooked tomato product. Your goal is to find the freshest/brightest tasting tomato puree you can find. Puree is always seedless/skinless. No paste (paste is usually cooked more), no whole tomatoes with seeds.
To sum up, this is the ideal NY style sauce:
A superb brand of canned tomato puree
Freshly minced garlic
Chiffonade of basil
A little bit of sugar (more or less depending on the naturally changing tartness of the tomatoes)
No more, no less. This is as classic as you can get.
Lisanti is a good distributor.Dough
Direct dough method:
Water, yeast, flour, salt into Hobart
Buy fresh cake yeast in 2 lb. blocks.
Use local water. The whole 'NY style pizza needs NY water' theory is a pile of garbage. Hard water helps, but it isn't essential. Great pizza comes from great flour/great tomatoes and a hot, high thermal mass oven.
Now the flour aspect gets a little complicated. A lot of pizzerias use bromated flour. Bromate is an additive that is added to flour to create the effects of aging on the gluten. The result is a flour that creates dough with superior gluten development, which, in turn, makes better breads/pizza. Unfortunately, bromate is listed as a carcinogen. The tricky part is that when bromate is exposed to sufficient heat, it is converted to a harmless compound. The intense hot environment of pizza baking is ideal for this. What complicates things even more is that you live in CA. In CA, if bromate levels are above a particular quantity, your product has to have a label declaring the health risks.
For pizza, though, bromate is both safe AND creates the best crust imaginable. If you lived anywhere other than CA, this the only flour I'd recommend:http://www.progressivebaker.com/prod...pringking.shtm
This is the ultimate in pizza flour. Since you are in CA, you're going to have comprise. Progressive baker sells an unbromated version of the spring king called spring hearth:http://www.progressivebaker.com/prod...inghearth.shtm
My advice would be to purchase both. Buy the spring hearth and age it a few months in a dry cool place (aging gives you a similar effect on gluten as bromates do). Combine the aged spring hearth 50/50 with brand new spring king. Diluting the bromated spring king should put you well below any residual bromate levels set by the state. At least I think it should. Look into the state laws and make sure.