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Pizza: it's what's for supper

When you take your supper out of the oven then snap a picture of it, you know there's a post about it in your future. That's what happened last week when we had homemade pizza. I seem to have a cooking blog this week. I've considered starting one - and even have a folder of photos put together for making a header - but I think it will wait until later. Melissa and I were talking yesterday and she encouraged me to post my pizza ideas.

Step 1: The Crust

For years I made a homemade crust from fresh-ground wheat flour. It was very healthy, but unfortunately involved a lot of prep and rising time. I found this quick and easy crust recipe at Full Bellies, Happy Kids; although not nearly so healthy as my former recipe, it is a real time-saver and enables me to make pizza much quicker (which means more often).
Quick Pizza Dough

1 pkg. Quick Rise dry yeast (I use 2 tsp. instant yeast)
1 c. lukewarm water
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. honey
2 1/2 c. flour

Mix yeast in water, then add other ingredients. Mix well by hand. Cover with dishtowel and let sit in bowl for 5-10 minutes. Flatten on greased pan. Add your own toppings. Bake at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes.
Step 2: The Sauce

Years ago, when first experiementing with homemade pizza, I bought ready-made pizza sauce. Unfortunately, we were never satisfied with the taste. I almost gave up on making pizza altogether until I found this sauce recipe in my cooking bible, The New Basics Cookbook:

Basic Tomato Sauce for Pizza

1 can (28 oz.) Italian-style tomato purée
1 large clove garlic, minced (fresh, not jarred!)
1 tsp. dried oregano or marjoram
4 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp. dried
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a 3-qt. saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
3 cups (enough for two 12-inch pizzas)
Note: This sauce may be made ahead and frozen.
With sauce, a little preparation goes a long way. It takes very little extra effort to multiply this recipe, just buy a bigger can of tomatoes and add more of the ingredients. I usually quadruple and freeze it, then thaw what I need the next time I make pizza.

Step 3: The Cheese

The simplest thing for me is keep pre-grated Kraft Pizza Cheese in the freezer. If you use straight-up Mozzarella, you may want to wait and add it to your pizza during the last five minutes of cooking, since it is a very soft cheese and over-browns easily. I also use Parmigiano Reggiano, located in the deli/specialty cheese section of the grocery store. It has a very distinct taste and smell, not to be confused with the much milder pre-grated Parmesan cheese. This is a very hard cheese, which seems to store almost indefinitely. I only use a small chunk of it at a time, which I grate with my Pampered Chef deluxe cheese grater (it makes me feel like a server at The Olive Garden). I store the rest in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

Step 4: The Toppings

Obviously, this is very much a matter of personal taste and ingredients on-hand. I use lots of fresh garlic. The pizza below is from last week, and was topped with a fresh, sliced tomato from our garden (oh, I dread it when they run out!). We even like a "white pizza" with lots of cheese, herbs, and garlic (maybe a little drizzled olive oil), and no tomato sauce.

Hopefully I've given you a little "food for thought," pizza-wise!

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Blogger Barb said...

It looks so good! What I appreciate it you giving us your recipe for the crust. The crust makes or breaks it I think. I'm going to have to try this. Homemade has got to be better than anything the guy can bring to my front door. And cheaper, too!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so thrilled that you used my pizza dough recipe, isn't that just the greatest....it makes it so fluffy and just wonderful :)

Love the picture of your pizza, it looks absolutely divine :)

Have a wonderful day.

Blogger Mama Lily said...

how many pizzas do you have to make for your family? That is what stops me. I have 3 teenagers and two more that eat like them. I'd be in the kitchen all day to make enough??

Blogger Melissa Mae said...

YUM-O!! I think even I can do that, Dawn!

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