Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some Good, Old-Fashioned Pizza

Everyone loves pizza, right? Well, let me rephrase that a bit. Everyone loves good pizza, right? I always used to say that any pizza was good pizza and it was hard to find one out there that didn't taste good. But then I grew up and discovered a world that was filled with grease and cardboard. Whenever you order a pizza from the standard joint around the corner, you're pretty much guaranteed to get that nasty, greasy pizza with paper stuck to the top. If you pop in a frozen pizza, you get a result that tastes more like a box than a yummy treat. My husband and son would probably disagree with that statement, but I'm just not a fan.

In my efforts to have a healthier household, I whipped up my own homemade pizza the other day. I don't usually have yeast in my house so I used what I had on hand to create a tasty pizza crust using just a few ingredients and very little time. It was easy to put together and I found comfort in knowing what ingredients went into making it and what greasy concoctions didn't make the cut.
The best thing about making your own pizza is the control you have. You can probably get virtually any topping from a restaurant, but you can't be sure how fresh it will be and you don't know what kinds of fillers and preservatives are in that crust. And chances are, if you're making the whole thing yourself at home, you'll probably be a little more health conscious anyways. You can even vary flavors in a homemade crust with herbs or spices if you're feeling ambitious. I went with some basics this time, but I'm going to get a bit more creative with the next one.

Pizza with No-Yeast Crust

2 c flour
1 TB baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c hot water
1 TB oil
1 TB Parmesan Cheese (optional)

About 1/3 c pizza sauce (recipe follows)

1-1/2 c to 2 c desired pizza toppings (I used sliced peppers, onions, and tomatoes)
1-1/2 c shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Combine dry crust ingredients in medium-sized bowl.
3. Create well in center of flour mixture and pour in liquids.
4. Mix with a spoon until all the dough is combined and place on floured surface.
5. Knead dough about 10-12 times, adding a little flour as necessary, until the stickiness is gone and the dough is pliable.
6. Roll out dough to about a 14 inch circle. The circle should be a little over 1/4" thick. (You can also make two 10-12 inch circles by cutting the dough in half and rolling it out a little thinner.)
7. Place dough on pizza stone or foil-lined baking sheet and poke all around the dough with a fork a few times so air can circulate.
(**optional: brush whole crust with a little oil to get a nice golden brown color when cooking)
8. Bake for 5 minutes.
9. Spread sauce over dough and place desired toppings on sauce.
10. Cover with about 1-1/2 c cheese and sprinkle with additional Parmesan Cheese if desired.
11. Place pizza back in oven and cook for 18 - 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Pizza Sauce 

1/2 TB butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 c tomato sauce (about a 15 oz can)
5 TB tomato paste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook garlic in butter until soft. 
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Cook for about 5 minutes over low heat until heated through and flavors have combined. 
4. Cool slightly before using.

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