Family Kitchen: Fresh pizza doesn't have to be a splurge
Updated 13h 12m ago
The Tax Man cometh — and did he taketh away, too? Whether or not you owe the IRS on April 18, your eyes are probably glazed over from balance-sheet tallying and financial pie-charting.
At numbers-crunching times like these, I like to ease the pain with a pie of pizza proportions delivered steaming hot to the front door within minutes. But with that flight of fancy, I also hear the sound of nickels (not dollars) rubbing together, a DIY wake-up call if there ever was one.
For less than 5 bucks, you can make your own pizza dough, which yields two pies that will fill at least four bellies. Shell out another 5 or 6 bucks for toppings, and you've got the makings of a veritable pizza par-tay without a delivery tip to worry about.
You'll see firsthand just how doable DIY dough is. You'll get the kids involved, or maybe you'll invite the neighbors to bring their own toppings, and it'll be the cheapest thrill you've had in a good long time.
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Good ole marinara and mozzarella
-- 2 cups tomato puree
-- 1 clove garlic, smashed
-- 1 tsp. dried oregano
-- 1 tsp. tomato paste
-- 1/2 tsp. salt
-- Ground black pepper
-- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
-- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (You may also use fresh mozzarella balls or bigger pieces that you slice yourself. Estimate about 1 pound in water for both pies)
-- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
-- Optional but really good add-ons: 1/2 bunch (about 2 cups) arugula, cleaned and dried; 1/2 lemon; a drizzle of olive oil
Pour the tomato puree into a medium-size saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic, oregano, and tomato paste. Stir to make sure the paste has been absorbed into the puree.
Bring to a simmer (this helps sauce reduce a bit), then lower the heat and stir to make sure the sauce is not sticking. The sauce can be ready in 15 minutes or can simmer for longer, up to 1/2 hour. It will reduce by about one-fourth, which gives you at least 3/4 cup of puree per pizza.
Taste for salt and season accordingly, and add the black pepper and/or red pepper flakes. Remove the garlic clove.
Ladle the sauce into middle of dough circle, and with a rubber spatula, spread until the surface is completely covered. Place the mozzarella (1 cup per 12-inch pizza) on top of the sauce. Remember, the cheese will spread as it melts in the oven, so don't worry if it seems as if your pizza is not amply covered with cheese.
Place in the oven and bake as directed for the pizza dough.
When the pizza is done, garnish it with Parmigiano-Reggiano and, if using, the arugula. Squeeze the lemon all over the greens and/or drizzle with olive oil if you wish.
Excerpted from The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook by Kim O'Donnel (Da Capo Lifelong, Copyright 2010.)
•1 cup water heated to 100F
•1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
•Pinch of sugar
•About 3 cups all-purpose flour
•1 tsp. salt
•1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for greasing
•Cornmeal, for dusting
Pour water into a small bowl. Add yeast, sugar and 1 tablespoon of the flour; stir until dissolved. Cover and let sit until mixture is slightly foamy, about 15 minutes.
In a wide and shallow bowl, place 1 cup of the flour, the salt, and the olive oil, and stir to combine with a heavy wooden spoon. Add yeast mixture and stir until just combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between additions. Dough will be soft and sticky and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Depending on the weather (humidity, heat), flour amounts will vary between 2 1/2 and 3 cups total.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough: Press, fold and turn 90 degrees, until it becomes a smooth, soft, springy ball, about 6 minutes.
Place dough into a lightly greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise in a draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.
Cut dough in half and work with one half at a time. Keep remaining dough covered with plastic until ready to use or refrigerate and/or freeze for future.
Preheat oven to 500F.