16 February 2010

Make "Real" Pizza at Home, Part Two

Make "Real" Pizza at Home, Part Two - Pizza Sauce / www.delightfulrepast.com

On the day you plan to make the pizzas, remove the dough from the refrigerator 3 hours before you want the first one to go into the oven. Place a 14-inch-long piece of 12-inch-wide unbleached natural parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet--that's what I use for a peel--and dust lightly with flour. 

Place a second piece of parchment on the counter and dust lightly with flour. Place the two balls of dough on the two pieces of parchment and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into rounds about 9 inches in diameter; sprinkle with flour and cover loosely with oil-sprayed plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 3/4 hours. 

In Part Three, the final episode, I'll give you my detailed timeline for getting two pizzas on the table in a timely fashion. (If you haven't already, read Part One.)

In the meantime, make your sauce. You only need about 2/3 cup of a fairly thick sauce for each pizza. My recipe makes just the right amount for two 13-inch pizzas.

Pizza Sauce

(Makes about 1 1/3 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
14.5-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

(That's right, no garlic. I want you to taste the tomatoes. If you must have garlic, use just 1/8 teaspoon of finely minced fresh garlic. No garlic powder, no garlic salt, no chopped garlic from a jar. But do try it without garlic. I think you'll be surprised.)

In 1-quart saucepan, heat oil and cook onion for a few minutes until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, loosely covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature. If the crushed tomatoes are quite chunky, you can use an immersion blender to quickly smooth out the sauce.

Then get the cheeses and other toppings ready. I think where most home cooks go wrong with pizza is in using too much sauce and too much in the way of toppings. To avoid having a soggy pizza, use much less of everything than you think you need.

For each pizza, add these ingredients, in order, to just-sauced crust:

1/4 cup shredded parmesan
4 ounces shredded mozzarella or mozzarella-provolone combination
1/2 3.5-ounce package pepperoni, microwaved in single layer between paper towels for 30 seconds1/2 2.25-ounce can sliced black olives, drained and patted dry
3 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely julienned red bell pepper, squeezed dry with paper towel

Of course, you can use any toppings you like. These are just our favorites, and this gives you some idea of the quantities to be used--the more toppings, the less of each.

I'll be back tomorrow with the third and final episode of Make "Real" Pizza at Home.

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