I love pizza and for those that don’t know, I grew up on pizza. My father made the most amazing pizzas when he ran his pizza stores. His dough was made from scratch and all the pizzas were hand tossed and prepared as soon as the order was made. I have made pizza from scratch before, but usually the sauce is prepared. But this time I was craving something else, sauce made from scratch and a topping of mozzarella and Kalamata olives. The dough I prepared was a focaccia dough and refrigerated it for two nights (reason being a lot of stuff came up in between making the dough and assembling the pizza).
For the dough:
I followed an adaptation of an adaptation of Batali’s focaccia dough and then made it my own.
- 3 cups of flour + 1/2 cup left over
- 4 T of olive oil
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup of warm water
- 2 T of salt
- 3 tsp of sugar
- 1 package of yeast
Mix yeast and 1 cup of warm water in a small bowl and allow to sit for about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and mix in, you will not get clumps but rather it will look like you didn’t add anything to the flour. After which add the yeast mixture and mix together, add water as you see fit. If you have too much flour, add some water to allo w it all to combine. Knead for about 10 minutes and then allow it to rise for a good hour. I actually coat my bowl with olive oil, and cover it with a damp, warm towel and put it in a dark place (and I left mine to rise for 2 hours instead of 1 hour, by accident because I was distracted with other things).
For the sauce:
For this part I chose to use canned diced tomatoes because there were no fresh tomatoes available at the moment.
- 2 cans of Diced Tomatoes
- 1/2 small onion
- 1/2 can of tomato sauce
- 4 cloves of garlic
- pinch of brown sugar
- rosemary, tarragon, basil, salt, black pepper and oregano (for flavor)
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
Place a saucepan on the stove on a medium setting, pour in the diced tomatoes, olive oil, and sauce. Allow it to start boiling and then add coarsely chopped onions and garlic. Once it comes to a regular boil, add in all the spices and brown sugar. I choose not to add a lot of salt because I find when making pizza that the cheese contains a lot of sodium to start off with and I prefer that the sauce not be salty–but rather more tomato based. Lower the heat setting to medium-low, and stir regularly for a good 30 minutes to an hour to allow it to reduce. Turn off the heat and puree.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For this part, it’s pretty much touch and go. I floured my surface, worked out the dough, spread the sauce, added cheese and hand opened kalamata olives. The dough was initially rolled out with a rolling pin and then I used my finger tips to create a bumpy surface. My dad was going to teach me to hand toss but he wasn’t feeling well and asleep so I skipped out on that this time around.
Once the pizza was assembled on a pizza screen, I popped it into the oven for about 30 minutes, until the cheese had melted and the cheese had browned.
According to my siblings, the pizza was on point. But then again…they eat anything =).
Thanks to my mom for putting up with me in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon and thanks to my dad for giving me the love of a fresh REAL pizza.