If your family is like mine, trying to agree on what kind of pizza to order is sort of like a political debate – everyone has a different opinion.
This is why I started making pizza at home.
When my two sassy gals were little, Friday night was dubbed pizza and movie night. It was a great way to end a very busy work week and it gave the Bennett Crew something to look forward to – a big treat at the end of the week. (I love it when I rhyme)
As time went by, it seemed to spiral into a major weekly event that was often the subject of conversation during Thursday night dinner; what movie would we all agree on watching (that was always another debate), and what kind of pizza should we order.
My two gals loved plain cheese pizza for the longest time, so ordering pizza was a simple task.
As they grew older, their palates expanded and unfortunately they expanded in different directions. My oldest gal loves a cheesy, pineapple and ham pizza and my youngest is a pepperoni only kind of gal. Ranger Craig prefers Italian sausage and mushroom and I dream of a loaded veggie pizza. Can you see my dilemma?
To remedy the situation I used to order two or three different pizzas; which became a little ridiculous because we always had a fridge full of leftover pizza that no one would eat. Nope, they won’t eat cold pizza warmed up. (I actually like it cold right out of the fridge)
This is when making pizza at home came into play. I’d had enough and decided that, although I had declared Friday nights as my night off from cooking, I’d make pizza at home. This new trend was met with a bit of apprehension because could Mom really make pizza as good as the pizza place in town? Ummm… let me think about that. Trained chef makes pizza at home. I think it’ll work. 😉
It was a huge success. (of course!)
Making pizza at home can be simple or it can be a simply fun project. It doesn’t take long to make pizza dough or sauce but if for some reason you just don’t have the time or energy to make the dough or the sauce, using your favorite store-bought brand is just fine too.
I’ve listed recipes for both a quick pizza dough and sauce should you decide to make your own.
As we know, the love is in the toppings! One of my favorite ways to top a pizza is with caramelized onions, wilted spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and feta cheese. I’ve listed a few more topping options in the recipe, but truly, your imagination is the limit. If only you could have seen some of the pizza’s created by the two sassy Bennett gals. 🙂
Making pizza at home is a great way to get everyone involved in making dinner and of course, it’s fun and a delicious way to end the week or begin the weekend. Buon Appetit´
There is nothing quite like fragrant, yeasty pizza dough to make a delicious pizza. This is a quick and easy pizza dough that makes a lovely thin or medium crust pizza. Adding a bit of sugar rounds out the flavors and compliments the flavor of the yeast.
Making your own pizza sauce is definitely worth the effort, but if time is of the essence, substitute this homemade sauce with your favorite jarred sauce.
The key to a great tomato sauce is the length of time the sauce simmers stovetop. The longer you cook this sauce the tastier it will be.
For the dough
¾ cups (6 ounces) lukewarm water
1 envelope active-dry yeast
2 cups (10 ounces) flour, plus more for rolling out
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
For the sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can (28 – 32 ounces) tomato puree or Passata, which is an Italian tomato puree
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (or a mixture of dried oregano, Italian parsley and basil)
Salt and black pepper to taste
To make the pizza dough
Heat the oven to 500° F. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the middle of the oven.
Mixing the pizza dough: Measure the water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it dissolve, about 30 seconds. Stir the water to dissolve the yeast.
Add the flour, salt, oil and sugar to the water and mix with a wooden spoon or bowl scraper until the dough starts to come together.
Lightly dust the counter or board with flour and move the dough to the floured space. With floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
Resting the pizza dough: With a bench knife, divide the dough into 2 pieces. Round each piece of dough and place the dough rounds on a lightly floured counter to rest for 30 minutes. (While the dough is resting, prepare your toppings.)
After 30 minutes, fold the dough by stretching each side and folding it into the middle of the dough. Gather the dough into a ball and let it rest again for 15 to 30 minutes.
Shaping the pizza dough: Handling one piece of dough at a time, gently stretch the dough with floured hands. You can also use a rolling pin, but I prefer using my hands. Once the dough is about ¼ - ½ inch thick, lay it on a piece of very lightly floured parchment. You can adjust the shape at this point, but don’t worry about it being perfectly round. Shape the second piece of dough.
Let the dough rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes.
Finishing the pizza: Spread the dough lightly with sauce and add the shredded cheese and then your choice of toppings.
Baking the pizza: Bake the pizza on the parchment in a 500°F oven either on the heated pizza stone or on a cookie sheet. The pizza is done baking when the crust is brown and crisp on the edge and bottom. This should take about 6 to 10 minutes.
Remove the pizza from the oven, cut it and eat while hot. Enjoy!
To make the sauce
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until the onion is wilted. Then add the garlic and sauté for one minute longer.
Stir in the tomato puree, tomato paste and dried herbs and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until it’s thickened a bit.
Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to cool before using. You can store the pizza sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.