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Friday, September 17, 2010

Better-than-Delivery Pizza (and Homemade Pizza Sauce)

You may have noticed that pizza shows up on my weekly menu almost every week. We used to order from one of the big chains, but it still didn't always solve the problem of getting food fast. (Our local big chain takes at least 45 minutes to deliver, and when you're on a tight schedule or out until 7pm because of soccer, 45 minutes just doesn't cut it!)

For the past few months, we've started making our own. Until recently, I would buy premade crusts and premade marinara sauce, which worked fine, but I still wanted more control over the ingredients in our pizza to make it as healthy as possible. During the summer, my husband and I picked 37 pounds (!) of sauce tomatoes from our CSA farm, and I proceeded to make a lot of lasagna and pizza sauce--47 cups of lasagna sauce and six cups of pizza sauce to be exact. I froze it all and take it out when I need it. I need to make more pizza sauce soon, but it's the easy recipe, so I'm not worried. :-)

We have also started making our own pizza dough. I made a double batch this week, separated it into individual portions and then froze them on a cookie sheet. Once they were frozen, I put them into a freezer bag. Now I have at least a couple weeks worth of fresh pizza dough!

The best part about making pizza at home is that everyone gets to choose their own toppings and arrangements. I have a four year old, and in her world, arranging your pizza is important. This week she made a cat:

When I'm prepared (with dough and sauce on hand), it takes about 25 minutes, start to finish with very little hands-on time...a lot faster and healthier than delivery!

Pizza Sauce
adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

2 lbs. tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (or one large can of whole tomatoes)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
A few fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1 tsp dried
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar
Sugar (Optional)

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, lower heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. Once it's reduced a little, add salt and pepper to taste. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, and if the sauce tastes too bitter or acidic, add a little bit of sugar (starting at about a teaspoon). If the tomatoes have not broken down enough for your liking, use a potato masher to break it down even further. Cook for a few minutes more until the sauce thickens and the flavors are to your liking.

Makes 2-3 cups. This is easily doubled or tripled and can be frozen.

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Kathy - Panini Happy September 18, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

I think you may have enough sauce to open your own pizzeria! Homemade pizza is the best. :-)

Lori September 20, 2010 at 6:22 PM  

Andrea over at Off Her Cork has the best spelt pizza dough recipe. I use it every time. Now I just need to pair it up with this sauce. Sounds great!

Chef E October 7, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

I would eat that sauce up in no time! I cannot eat bread/gluten now- it slips in now and then, but I have to pick and choose what, so this looks great, I would go for whole wheat pasta instead, with pizza flavors! Yeah, now I am hungry, lol!

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