Pizza!

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I was recently in an Italian bakery in the next town over buying some cookies and happened to notice they also sold pizza dough. I’ve actually never made pizza at home using real pizza dough. I’ve used Pillsbury pizza dough once or twice at it’s good for what it is, but never really tasted like your local pizza joint. So I bought a big ball of some pizza dough from the bakery and decided to try it out for the first time. I wanted to make a basic pizza and keep it simple so I bought a jar of Cento San Marzano crushed tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella from my local farmer’s market.

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To start, I whipped up a quick sauce using the crushed tomatoes. I prefer to use San Marzano tomatoes any time I make a red sauce, a.k.a. gravy. I started with finely dicing up a 1/4 of an onion and one large garlic clove and sauteing in some good quality extra virgin olive oil. Once that was golden and fragrant, I added the tomatoes, sea salt, garlic powder, some sugar (to help the acidity), and some fresh basil from my garden.

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Once the sauce had time to develop its flavors, I started rolling out the dough. That took about three times to get it right! I’ve never worked with pizza dough before so I had some difficulty rolling it out. Once I finally got the shape and size I desired I laid it on my pizza stone and added my sauce. Next I topped it with some of the wonderful fresh mozzarella. I then added some thinly sliced red onion to half of the pizza for my husband. I topped it off with some more basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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I baked it in the oven at about 375 degrees for a good 25 minutes. I think it stayed in about five minutes too long. Although it was tasty, the crust was extra crispy and the cheese was a little too hard. It was very quick to make and I actually prefer it to any pizzeria around us. I’d also not use my stone next time as I think that’s what caused it to overcook too quickly. One minute it didn’t looked nearly done, two minutes later, the cheese was browning. But overall it had nice flavors and we enjoyed it!

Overall rating – 4 stars

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9 Comments »

  1. Abemore said

    That’s interesting. I have a feeling that home made pizza is more expensive than pizzeria pizza. Not to mention time is money. But if it tastes better homemade, you cant really argue with that 😉

    I’d like to invite you to check out my Pizza Value Calculator webpage. It basically calculates the area of up to 5 pizzas and gives you reletive size comparisons. Also if you add the cost it will tell you how many square inches of pizza per dollar you are getting. Have a look, and happy blogging 😉

    http://abemore.blogspot.com/2007/07/pizza-value-calculator.html

  2. Paul said

    Your pizza looks GREAT! I make pizza all the time – I get the dough from our supermarket bakery (their Italian Bread Dough). I use a metal pan to bake the pizza with some Crisco on the bottom – sometimes sprinkled with corn meal. Also, when rolling out the dough, spread it out with your hands first at the edges – then roll out with a rolling pin FROM THE CENTER TO THE EDGES. This will help immensely. Also, I bake mine on the center rack of the oven at 400 for appx 20 min. Experiment with the toppings also. Again- it looks great…

  3. foodiedani said

    Thanks Abemore. I checked out your calculator. You are right though, homemade is more expensive! The cost of the mozzarella alone is almost the cost of a pie near me!

    Thanks for the tips and compliments Paul! I think next time I’ll have to use some corn meal as you suggest. And will take your suggestions on rolling out the dough! Boy, did I get a workout!

  4. Homemade pizza is great! We do pizza every Friday at our house. If you decide to try doing homemade pizza again a few tips –

    (1) I cook my pizza at the highest temperature my oven will go to (550 degrees) because that’s at least up near the temperature of a pizza oven in a restaurant. I think it helps keep the crust at the right consistency and helps prevent the toppings from overcooking.

    (2) preheat your pizza stone while the oven is preheating. If you preheat the stone your pizza will start cooking immediately when you place it on the stone. Since we don’t have a pizza peel we build the pizza on parchment paper and then transfer the paper to the stone.

    Because we cook ours at such a high temperature the pizza is fully cooked in under 10 minutes.

  5. foodiedani said

    Thanks Home Cook! I should have looked at all of your Pizza Friday posts before I started!

  6. Susan said

    Hi, Dani. I’ve never seen crushed San Marzano in bottles like that. I’m w/ you. San Marzano is THE best tomato ever. Yes, it’s pricier, but I think worth every penny. Did you get it at the supermarket or an Italian specialty grocer? I get mine in cans fr/ the supermarket; they’re Cento brand, too.

  7. foodiedani said

    Hey Susan, This was the first time I saw the San Marzano tomatoes in a jar myself. I got them at my local Shoprite. Usually, I buy them in the can as well. My favorite is some organic brand that is slipping my mind right now, but it’s a white label with green, blue or purple borders. San Marzano is sooo good, you almost don’t have to add anything!

  8. Shelly said

    Saturday night is our homemade pizza night. Been working with a whole wheat crust. Lots of trial and error. Every now and then everything aligns and it turns out pretty darn good.

    I want to learn how they make the kind of pizza you can get in those little walk-up joints around Rome. Thicker crust all the way through, but airy in the middle. Pizza Bianca is the best… no sauce, no cheese. Just some rosemary, salt, and olive oil.

  9. foodiedani said

    Hey Shelly, I just made my second pizza over the weekend. Lots of trial and error here too. Tried a different dough, didn’t like it too much. Pizza Bianca sounds like a great alternative to traditional red sauce and cheese. Thanks for the suggestion!

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