Friday night is date night at my house. And though my husband, my son and I rotate from week to week figuring out what we’re going to do, one thing’s for certain: we have homemade pizza. As a no-dairy person, pizza has never been high on my list of priorities. But when we make it at home, the sky’s the limit. I shared my recipe with friends over the weekend and they reported that the sauce was the key to success.
For the crust:
- 1 package quick rise yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 Tbsp olive
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2-1/4 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water. Mix it with a fork (the water will be sort of cloudy, and I wait about a minute or two to add the rest of the ingredients), then add the water, oil, sugar and salt. Mix all of that in so that it looks sort of like a vinaigrette that won’t hold together. Add the 2-1/4 cups of flour and mix it together; if it seems like you can add the remaining ¼ cup, great; if not, that’s okay. I’m always able to add the full 2-1/2 cups. All of the flour won’t mix in with the fork, so you’ll need to use your hands to squeeze/knead it until all of the flour is held together (and there’s not loose flour in the bowl).
- Turn the lump of dough onto a floured surface (I use a large
cutting board because I can move it around the kitchen if I need to, but your countertop would probably work, too), and let rest for about 10 minutes. Roll into the shape of your pan … I use the jelly roll pan, so I roll it into a vague rectangle, much smaller than the actual pan. Use your basting brush to spread olive oil all around the pan, then transfer the rolled dough. I use my fingers and gently spread it to reach the edges. So far, I haven’t had a crust break yet. Brush the edges with olive oil to make it cook “pretty” and keep
from drying out.
- Add your toppings, and then bake for 15 – 18 minutes, making
sure your cheese and toppings don’t get too crispy. You may need to adjust your baking time accordingly. For example, plain cheese pizza cooks quickly; garbage pizza takes a little extra time.
For the sauce:
I’m mostly an ‘ish kind of cook, so I make my sauce a little differently each time. The basics are always the same:
- 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, with liquid (I like the
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (white wine is also good in lieu of)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp paprika (if you like it a little smoky)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix it all up in the blender; if it’s too thick, add a Tbsp
of water (or more) until it’s the right consistency for you to spread.
~ ~ ~
For the boys I use the Sargento 6 cheese Italian blend, and I use a whole package on their 2/3 of the pizza. Our typical toppings are sweet Italian turkey sausage, chopped spinach, diced sweet bell peppers, sprinkling of crispy onions, asparagus, and mushrooms (mushrooms on the mister’s 1/3). My son’s 1/3 has just cheese, the mister’s 1/3 has cheese and garbage, and mine just has garbage. Leftover diced grilled or baked chicken is also a good topping.