I hardly make pizza at home. Not because it’s a hard task; it actually just takes a few minutes (in a mixer), one hour to rise, really short baking time, and you’ve got yourself an incredible pizza. The reason I don’t make pizza often is because fresh yeast has a short shelf-life in the fridge, and so I usually don’t keep yeast around. So when I get the craving to make homemade pizza- I end up ordering instead of running to the supermarket. Danya recently told me that she always makes double the amount of dough that she needs; half goes to the oven and the other half is divided into balls, wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen. The frozen balls of dough defrost in no-time, and are the perfect size for a personal pizza. Love that idea! So in honor of Danya’s fabulous patent, and pregnant Deanna who has been craving pizza for the past month, and for all the pizza lovers, here is a great recipe for pizza made with homemade tomato sauce.
I like my sauce to be coarse in texture so I cut the tomatoes to a ¾-inch dice, but you can cut them smaller for a smoother sauce. This same sauce can also be used as a base for pasta and for shakshuka (without the oregano). It’s really important that the oven is preheated and is really hot when you start to bake your pizza, and if you have an oven stone, now is the time to use it! When the pizza came out of the oven we placed a small bunch of rocket leaves to give it some freshness.
Ingredients for one large family sized pizza or 4 individual pizzas:
For the dough:
1 tablespoon fresh yeast, crumbled
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ cup warm water
2 cups all purpose flour (or Italian ’00’ flour)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ripe tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch dice
1-2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and fresh ground pepper
For the topping:
2 fresh mozzarella balls cut into ¼-inch slices or 1¼ cup of coarsely shredded mozzarella
Tomato slices, pitted olives, onions, etc. (according to preference)
1. Prepare the dough: place the yeast, sugar and water in a mixer bowl and then add the remaining ingredients. Using a mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the ingredients for 10 minutes on medium speed until the dough is soft. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour- until it has doubled in size.
2. In the meantime, make the sauce: heat a large skillet on medium heat and add all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes while constantly stirring. Taste and season accordingly. Allow to chill to room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
4. Construct the pizza: roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch diameter and 4 millimeters thick (or four small pizzas 3½-inch pizzas), and place on baking sheet. Spread tomato sauce evenly over pizza and put on cheese and toppings.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pizza is golden around the edges and the cheese is melted.