Pizza from Scratch–starting with the sauce
While we’re waiting for the pasta maker to arrive, let’s talk Italian. Pizza, to be more specific. Pizza crust and pizza sauce, to be very, very specific.
When I go to the store and see the Boboli shells and other pre-made pizza crusts, I can only think of one thing to say. Why?
I mean, I know why. It was a rhetorical question, actually.
But making your own crust is SO easy! And, while it is slow, it’s not as slow as driving to the store and spending too much money on mediocre pre-made crusts!
Pizza crust is basic. And if you make an easy one, it’s very basic. Remember, just because something takes time doesn’t mean it’s complicated.
So, for the next couple of days, we’re going to make very uncomplicated but delicious pizzas. Beginning, of course, with the sauce.
The sauce, you say? Doesn’t the pizza start with the crust? Why, sure it does. But the sauce takes longer to cook down, and it’s essential that it’s fully cooked down and cooled before you begin, so, we’ll begin with that.
Now, if we were going to start from scratch, we’d begin with our own tomatoes and fresh basil, but since not everyone has access to their own tomatoes, we’ll begin with regular, whole canned tomatoes and make accomodations for the fresh basil. Then we’ll go from there.
This batch of sauce will make four 14″ pizzas or 2 deep dish pizzas. You can use it right away, refrigerate it for a couple of days, or even freeze it. This is a variation of a recipe from Pizza by Diane Morgan.
Delicious Pizza Sauce
4 cans whole tomatoes or home-canned tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons dried oregano
lots and lots of fresh garlic
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped, or three teaspoons dried basil
In a big saucepan, dump all four cans of tomatoes, the onion, the kosher salt and the oregano. Here’s the fun part: take a potato masher and squish each of the tomatoes, releasing all of their juice into the pan. Turn the pan on medium-low heat and bring it to a simmer. Simmer it like this, uncovered, until all of the liquid is gone. This can take up to an hour-and-a-half, so start this early and be patient. Stir the sauce every once in a while to make sure it’s not burning on the bottom.
After all of the liquid has cooked off, take the sauce from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
When it has cooled off, add lots and lots of fresh, crushed garlic (six cloves or so, more or less depending on your preferences) and your basil.
While the sauce is cooking, start your pizza crust.