Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 15th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
Homemade pizza is far superior to anything you could buy…
My family loves pizza! But really though, who doesn’t? I read somewhere once, that pizza is the most consumed food in the World, and I believe it! I can name ten pizza places right off the top of my head – all locally! I really think that pizza places are the new Starbucks. It seems there’s one popping up on every corner. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve tried most of them – ok, all of them, and none of them are as delicious as pizza you could make at home! Sure there’s more cleanup involved, and a few more dishes, but so what? Make the time to really learn what goes into your pizza. When you control the ingredients, you know exactly what you’re eating! It’s healthier and it’s a lot more fun making your own pizza, and creating memories in your kitchen, than swinging by and picking up or ordering a pizza. Make this with your husband, your wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandparents, grandkids… Create a memory with them to share.
I wanted to create a recipe that could be made time and time again, not just because of the ease of the recipe, but because it was flavorful and crowd-pleasing. I really believe this recipe does that. With this recipe, there’s no waiting for the dough to rise, and no messing with leavening agents that some recipes are notorious for. If you have a pizza stone, I highly recommend using it with this recipe. I haven’t used anything but a pizza stone in several years, and I find it’s well worth the investment. Every time I serve this, people rave about not only the chewy crust, but the well bodied flavor of the homemade sauce.
Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce
This recipe is super versatile! Top with any combination of toppings you like – pineapple, ground beef, ground sausage, mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Munster cheese, pickles, zucchini, ham, bacon, and so forth. Let your imagination fly! It’s very important to use bread flour for this recipe. Keep it on hand – stored in an air tight container – for when you want to make this recipe again. This recipe can easily be doubled. This particular recipe makes enough for one standard medium/large pizza. If you find the pizza sticking to the pizza pan, sprinkle a little cornmeal on before stretching the dough. In place of the cranberry juice, feel free to use grape juice, pomegranate juice or for a richer flavor, red wine.
For the pizza dough…
1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons white granulated sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 ½ cups bread flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
For the tomato sauce…
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup cranberry juice
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Start by making the tomato sauce. In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the garlic for about 90 seconds. Add the cranberry juice and simmer with the garlic for about 2 minutes. Next, add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white granulated sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Stir everything together well and simmer mixture over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes.
After the mixture has thickened slightly, keep under low heat stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, make the pizza dough. Start by preheating your oven to 450-degrees F and lightly spraying your pizza pan or stone with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and white granulated sugar into the warm water. Swish this mixture around with your fingertips and allow to stand about 10 minutes.
Next, stir in the bread flour, olive oil and salt. Stir vigorously until combined and then allow the mixture to rest about 5 minutes.
Finally, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and pat into a round shape. Transfer the ball of dough to the prepared pizza pan and spread out gently with your hands, being careful not to pull or stretch the dough.
Once the dough is formed onto the pizza pan, spread with the warm tomato sauce and finish with desired toppings.
Place in preheated oven for 16-21 minutes or until golden brown.
Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before cutting.