Something new to try: a from-scratch pizza crust and no-cook sauce.
We’ll admit we tend to run from the peevishness of dough-making. All that waiting, rising, kneading, proofing. But we stumbled across an entirely reasonable recipe for pizza dough that’s opened a whole new world of culinary gratification.
Topping it off is an insanely easy pizza sauce that involves just a smallish bowl, whisk, and a few hours for flavors to marry. The thick, slightly sweet sauce is also fabulous on pasta or anywhere else you desire a drizzle. Purists can keep the pizza simple with mozzarella and fresh basil, or flirt with our latest Italian crush: smoky provolone, Genoa salami and crisp/sweet caramelized onions. Now that’s amore!
Entirely Reasonable From-Scratch Pizza Pie
Makes 2 (10- to 12-inch) pizzas
- 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup best quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 1/4-ounce package dry active yeast
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling
- 2 cups grated, smoked provolone, or more to taste
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced and caramelized
- Sliced Genoa salami, to taste
- Grated mozzarella, to taste
- 20 or so fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon whole dried oregano, crushed between your palms
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, to taste
To make sauce, combine tomato paste, water, oil, garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl, stirring until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.
To make the dough, mix pinch of sugar into warm water; sprinkle with yeast. Wait 10 minutes or until water is foamy, and pour into a large bowl. Add flour, salt, olive oil and combine. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes until the dough is moderately stiff, smooth and elastic, adding more flour if needed. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle dough with cornmeal and divide into 2 equal balls. Stretch by hand or lightly flour and use a rolling pin to form 2 crusts. (Crusts need not be perfectly round.)
Place crust on a heated pizza stone or baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and top with sauce, to taste, provolone, onions, salami, mozzarella, basil, oregano, pepper flakes and cheese. Bake at 450°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
Diva confession: Here’s a quickie good-girl salad: Toss 14-ounce can chickpeas with 2 chopped Roma tomatoes, 1 peeled and diced cucumber, 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives, 3 quartered hard-cooked eggs with coarse salt, cracked black pepper and red wine vinegar, to taste. Add minced fresh parsley or fresh torn basil if you have it. You might add canned tuna or leftover grilled salmon. Makes 2 generous servings.