Mmmm Pizza. I come from a home where we have pizza at least once a week, if not 2-3 times. We would have homemade pizza, partially homemade pizza, frozen pizza, and delivery pizza (this of course doesn’t include of the different brands of pizza). To say the least, we were pepperoni pizza connoisseurs, with occasional ventures into other pizza varieties.
When I was younger, my least favorite pizza was homemade pizza. It just … wasn’t yummy. I preferred Ellios pizza: it was one of our after school snacks, and a major treat. Ironically, my favorite pizza now is homemade and my least favorite: delivery.
So follows is a recipe for pizza, including pizza sauce and dough.
I’m not very consistent with my pizza sauce. Some days I just take a couple cans of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste and toss spices in. Other times I add minced onions and celery, or parmesan cheese. Here is a link to one of my favorite sauce recipes: http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Ultimate-Pizza-Sauce-114392 . The recipe that follows is a variation of it.
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small- medium onion, minced
- 2 stalks celery, minced
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz)
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
- 1-2 tsp basil
- 1-2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp rosemary
- couple dashes of salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- generous dash of onion powder
- generous dash of garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf
A note about the spices, I usually don’t measure and just trust my instincts and taste.
- If you chose to use the first four optional ingredients: heat oil, then add onion, celery and garlic powder. Saute until transparent.
- Add sauce and tomato paste, stir until smooth. You may need to add half a can of water to smooth the tomato paste into it.
- Add remaining ingredients (spices) and simmer. After 10 minutes I usually transfer it to a small crock pot and cook on high while I prep the dough.
Note: The sauce really tastes best the next day, just stick it in the fridge to let the flavors meld. Or have it cooking in a crock pot all day.
This is a recipe I got from my mom, with my own comments and twists.
- 2 cups warm water
- 4 tsp yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 5 cups of bread flour: I usually don’t have bread flour on hand, all purpose works excellent. If you have gluten on hand you can mix your own bread flour by adding I believe a tsp of gluten for every cup of flour. I have also done a combination with 1 cup wheat flour and 3 3/4 cup all purpose flour.
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Mix water, yeast and sugar in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Put remaining ingredients into a bowl then add yeast mixture. Note: If you like you can even season the bread dough with parmesan cheese, basil, garlic etc. This would be a good step to add it.
- Stir together until it is to hard to stir anymore. Then knead until one big blob, and the texture is slightly smooth to the touch.
- Let rise 1/2 hour.
Making the Pizza:
What’s so great about making your own pizza is that you can control the ingredients, decide what toppings to add, and make it a generally more healthy meal. The pizza dough and sauce recipes above are sufficient to make two pizza with a regular crust (though the dough can make 3 thinner crusts if you want to fight with it).
- pizza dough
- pizza sauce
In coming up with toppings, be sure to raid your fridge and pantry. Use left over meat or vegetables from a previous meal. You don’t always need to go out especially to buy ingredients.
- cheese: An Italian cheese mix, mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, or even a mexican 4 cheese mix can all be delightful. There’s no need to just stick with ordinary mozzarella–experiment with whatever you have on hand. You can use shredded or crumbled cheese. I have even seen sliced cheese.
- meat: pepperoni, browned ground beef, chicken, sausage, shredded pork, ham, even shredded lunch meat are all good options.
- vegetables: sliced or sauteed onions, bell pepper, fresh diced tomato, spinach leaves, green onion, celery, olives, artichoke hearts are all possible additions. You could also use pineapple which I know isn’t a vegetable.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza pan. You can use a round pizza pan, a 9X13 baking dish, cookie sheet, etc.
- Form dough into two pizzas. This can sometimes be difficult because the dough will try to contract. If anyone has a brilliant way of forming the pizza crust I’d love the advice. I usually just fight with it and try to speak kind words ;).
- At this point add your toppings. Sometimes I put the cheese on first, other times I put it on top, and still other i put it on first and then sprinkle some of after putting the other ingredients.
- Bake the pizza. It usually takes me about 30 minutes. Check the dough in the center to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Keep an eyes on the pizza. If it seems like the cheese is starting to burn put some aluminum foil over it loosely. Another option is to actually prebake your pizza crust for about 10-15 minutes. It will cut back on final bake time and give a crisper crust.
- Eat and enjoy!