Friday, February 24, 2006


I've wanted to make pizza for years but every recipe I've ever come across uses prepared pizza sauce. I want to make my own. I found a promising recipe on the website of Sunset Magazine. I wasn't thrilled with their recipe for the dough. The first sentence was: "Start the dough at least 1 day ahead." Yeah, right. Like that's going to happen. I have enough cookbooks that it should have been easy to find another pizza dough reciep. Surprisingly, it wasn't. I finally found one in a 1996 edition of Betty Crocker (I own several editions). It was quick and easy but I wasn't happy with the taste. Too bland.

The pizza sauce recipe was one of those that sounds delicious on paper, but in reality is just terrible. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes. Tomato sauce, tomato soup, tomato juice are all fine but not tomatoes themselves. The diced tomatoes and tomato paste used in this recipe produced a sauce that was way too "tomato-y" for me. One pound of cheese was also way too much as was the 4 ounces of meat. I ended up using half that much for two pizzas. I opted for pepperoni and mushroom.

Verdict: What were they thinking???

(Source: Betty Crocker and Sunset Magazine )

Pizza Dough

1 package regular or quick active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105F to 115F)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Olive or vegetable oil


Quick Pizza Sauce

1 can (14 oz., or 1 3/4 cups) chopped or diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

salt to taste


4 cups shredded 100% whole-milk mozzarella cheese (1 lb.)

4 ounces meat such as thinly sliced salami or pepperoni

3 to 4 cups thinly sliced vegetables such as red onions, mushrooms, bell peppers or pitted ripe olives

2 to 4 tablespoons seasonings such as chopped fresh jalapeno chilies or minced garlic (optional)

Dissolve yeast in warm water in medium bowl. Stir in flour, 2 tablespoons oil and the salt. Beat vigorously 20 strokes. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 425F. Grease 2 cookie sheets or 12-inch pizza pans with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Divide dough in half; pat each half into 11-inch cicle on cookie sheet with floured fingers. Prick dough thoroughly with fork. Bake about 10 minutes or until crust just begins to brown.

In a bowl, mix sauce ingredients. Spread 3/4 cup sauce over each crust to within 1 inch of edge. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with other ingredients. Bake at 425F about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and pizzas are bubbly.

Recycle: diced tomato can, tomato paste can, olive oil bottle

Compost: garlic skins

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