Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pizza, pizza, everywhere

We love pizza night. Once every two months or so, we will have a pizza night at home. It is just an easy recipe and so simple to make at home. We have never order out for pizza ever since mom and dad got this recipe from mom's brother years ago.

We may not live in Italy but pizza is huge in the States. We love our version of pizza here, thin crust, extra sauce, extra cheese, with or without toppings, white sauce, barbecue sauce. In fact, the only limitation to pizza's topping is your imagination.

I was debating earlier on if I should post the pizza dough recipe on this blog. See, the dough recipe is a very touchy, family guarded secret recipe that is being handed down from one generation to the next. Every Italian grandmother will have their family's recipe and the matriarch will always tell you not to divulge the family's secret recipe to anyone.

Not that we have an Italian grandma in our family, (sometimes I wish we do. Think of all the secret recipes to be had), but we obtained the recipe from mom's brother who in turn obtained the recipe from his friend when they were in the service together. Rumor has it that the friend of my uncle is from an Italian family which runs a pizza joint in New York City. He was sworn to secrecy on the pizza dough recipe and mom had promised that the recipe will only stay in the family.

Needless to say, after much deliberation, I have decided not to share that secret recipe we are using, out of respect to the generous Italian gentleman from New York. However, I did find a pizza dough recipe online, which is close enough to the one we are using. I have given that recipe a try before and the result is pretty good, I must say.

The next criteria for a good pizza is the sauce. Red being the primary favorite, I am referring to tomato sauce, of course is another issue which sparks arguments everywhere. There are two general school of thoughts here. Cooked sauce or uncooked sauce.

Cooked sauce refer to a tomato sauce cooked slowly on the stove top and refrigerate overnight for the base topping of the pizza. Uncooked sauce is the one that you open a can and add dried herbs into it. Voila, that's your sauce. We usually go for the uncooked sauce as we find it has a fresh tomato taste. Our favorite brand is Pastene - Kitchen Ready, followed by Hunt's.

Go ahead! Make your own pizza today. You will not believe the amount of money you can save by making your own. Throw a pizza party for your kids next time. You will be one cool mama for serving pizza at your child's next birthday party.

Adapted from Anna Maria Volpi 

Basic Pizza Dough


Her blog will include a step-by-step guide on how to prepare the pizza dough by hand, which I find just as effective compared to using a stand mixer.

Sauce for pizza
I 28oz can Pastene-Kitchen Ready Tomato Sauce or Hunt's Tomato Sauce (Not to be mistaken with ketchup) 
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of onion powder or 1/2 a small white onion (chopped)
2 tablespoon of sugar
*Alternately, use any barbecue sauce, store bought white sauce of your choice. Just omit the herbs and seasoning

1lb mozzarella cheese, grated and separate into two portions (preferably block mozzarella cheese)
any meat topping, pre-cooked, diced
any vegetable topping, diced
*Alternate to mozzarella cheese, you can also use grated cheddar from a block. Please do not use the Kraft singles cheese. It doesn't work that way.

1. Preheat oven to 450F or 230C.
2. Roll out pizza dough onto a pan. We love to roll out our pizza dough to fit a baking sheet.
3. Put enough sauce to cover the pizza. We usually cover two whole 12'x18' pizza sheets with one 28oz can of tomato sauce. If you are making 3 12-inch pizza, I reckon you will only need 1/3 cup of sauce to cover each pizza
4.  Top with meat and vegetable topping of your choice. Remember, less is more. Do not overload your pizza. For a 12-inch pizza, 1/4 cup of topping will suffice. For 12'x18' pizza, I will recommend 1/2 cup of toppings.
5. Top with grated cheese. 
6. For 12'x18' pizza, bake for 16 minutes, total, rotating the pan halfway through baking. For 12' pizza, the baking time will decrease to about 12 minutes.
7. Remove from oven, slice and serve.

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