Thursday, January 27, 2011


"When the Moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that's amore"...dadadadadaadaadada!

I always sing this song when I make pizza. Nothing beats homemade. It doesn't take that much effort but it makes all the difference. This is such a fun thing to make if you have kids or are a kid at heart (like me). It's nice to make this at home as you can be as creative as you please with your toppings. There are literally infinite possibilities. You can top your pizza with cured meats, sausages, pickled veggies, tuna (in oil), anchovies, tomatoes, arugula tossed in oil and lemon juice as a final flourish and so on and so forth... I made two pizzas tonight- the first was a classic margarita in a pizza dish  and the second pizza was more of a free-style anchovy/no cheese which I cooked on a baking stone.... after eating both, my husband and I agreed that the baking stone gives the best results!

But what stole the show was the fresh cherry tomato sauce. It brought a little taste of summer into this druid January.

Pizza dough:
4 cups AP flour
2 packets dry active yeast
1.5 cups lukewarm water (105-115F)
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Coat a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil and set aside. Mix water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. In the meantime, place 3 cups of flour and salt in a bowl. Place the remaining cup on a clean work surface. I LOVE this pastry mat from crate and barrel as it ensures a clean and cling free work area:

When the yeast activates add the extra virgin olive oil and mix. Add it to the bowl of flour and stir together until it's all incorporated. Place on work surface and knead with well floured hands for 8-10 minutes until you have a soft dough that forms into a smooth round ball.

Transfer to the awaiting oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place like above the fridge or in the oven for 1 hour. It will double during this time. "Punch" the dough, basically deflate it with your fist. Transfer to a clean work surface and divide in half (makes two pizza doughs). Roll out your dough (make sure to flour your rolling pin so it doesn't stick) and place on a tray. Fold over the edges for a crust and brush it with extra virgin olive oil. Or roll it out however you like- just make sure to oil the edges!

Now you're free to top it as you please! Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 min.

Amaaaazing Pizza Sauce Ingredients:
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 handful of basil chopped
a good amount of salt (I used half a tablespoon)
a good amount of extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup)
pepper to taste
and a pinch of sugar 1/2 a teaspoon or so to bring out its natural sweetness

Chop tomatoes until they're quite runny.. but not too much as you still want to see some pieces. If they're not too ripe (like mine were) transfer to a mortar and pestle and give it a good thrashing. Add a clove of garlic (you will fish it out before topping the pizza), olive oil, salt, sugar, pepper and basil. This will result in the most beautiful summery tomato sauce that you can put on a pizza or toss with pasta and parm cheese...

Tip: If you are making margarita pizza, don't add the cheese until the final 5 minutes. This way it's nice and runny and not overcooked. 

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