I've never spent much money on pre-made snack items. I don't leave Costco with giant boxes of frozen taquitos or burritos or pizza rolls or Bagel Bites or preservative filled anything. Because of this, our kids have had to learn to cook.
"Mom, there's nothing to eat."
"There's plenty to eat. You just have to make it."
And the specialty around here over the years has become pizza. There is almost always pizza dough ready to use in our fridge. And homemade sauce and shredded mozzarella.
You know the pizza you get in those little Italian restaurants around Europe? With the really thin crust and fresh toppings? That's the kind of pizza you get at our house. We bake it on a pizza stone we keep on the bottom rack of the oven. We just leave it in there all the time. (And you don't have to spend a lot of money on a pizza stone. All you need is unglazed tiles from a home improvement store.)
This pizza dough recipe is from my neighbor Leah. We've been using it for years.
4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons oil
Mix all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Knead for fifteen minutes using a dough hook. (You can also mix and knead by hand.) At this point, you can cover it with a clean dish towel, let it rise until doubled, and then use it, or you can save it to use later. To save it, spray the inside of a plastic grocery bag with non-stick spray. Toss the ball of dough into the bag. Tie the handles closed at the top of the bag and stick it in the fridge. It will rise in there. When you want to use it, cut some off and leave the rest in the bag in the fridge. It will keep for several days.
We make a double batch and use off of it throughout the week.
I roll my crust out really thin with a rolling pin. I think the key to good homemade pizza is a very thin crust. Sprinkle cornmeal on a wooden pizza peel to keep the dough from sticking. Place rolled out crust on the cornmeal. Make sure it slides around easily.
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
maybe a tablespoon of sugar
a little salt
Mix together. Spoon sauce carefully onto dough. Avoid getting it too close to the edge. If sauce gets on the peel, the pizza won't slide. If this happens, add a little more cornmeal under the wet edge.
Top with shredded mozzarella, a little grated Parmesan, and any other cheeses you like. Add your favorite toppings and secure them with a little more cheese. However, don't overdo it with the cheese or you'll get a gooey mess.
Slide the pizza off the peel and onto the pizza stone. Bake at 450 degrees until the crust is golden and the cheese is completely melted. It doesn't take long - maybe six to eight minutes. Remove from oven using the peel. Let pizza sit for five or ten minutes before cutting it.
|fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil from the garden|