Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's okay to eat paste (pizza concluded)

I usually cannot stress the importance of eating fresh, local, organic ingredients enough, but when making pizza sauce, tomato paste and canned roasted whole tomatoes are absolutely the way to go.  
These are the best:
San Marzano Cento Italian Peeled Tomatoes, DOP Certified Case of 5 /28 oz

For your sauce you will want:

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 sweet onion finely diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine (whatever you have in your refrigerator)
2-3tbsp balsamic vinegar
16 oz canned peeled tomato
6-7 large fresh basil leaves finely chopped
a pinch (or more) cayenne pepper
fresh ground pepper to taste
salt to taste

Sweat onions on medium heat in your olive oil. Add garlic -- don't let it burn! pour in your white wine and balsamic vinegar and reduce to almost dry. Add canned tomato, basil leaves and seasonings. Bring your sauce to a boil then reduce to a simmer and wait.You may want to invest in a splatter screen. They look like this:
Lodge 13-Inch Splatter ScreenTrust me, you will be glad you used it. Unless you are throwing a Halloween party tonight and want your kitchen looking like Dexter Morgan's latest kill-room.

You will know when the sauce is ready when it's thick and delicious. Very simple.

In the previous post I gave you my favorite pizza dough recipe and here I have given a delicious and simple sauce. Now it's time to assemble.

Your dough should rest 20 minutes after you toss it or roll it out. Be sure to use a liberal sprinkle of semolina flour on the bottom of your dough to keep it from sticking to your counter/pizza paddle/pizza tile and any other surface it may and will try to adhere to (I have made the mistake in the past of not doing so and my dough clung to the wooden paddle like a toddler to it's mother on the first day of pre-school. It was a disgrace). Lightly brush the top of your dough with olive oil and spread a thin (or liberal if you like messy pie) layer of sauce in the center of the dough. Leave about an inch around the edge free of sauce to ensure proper rise and to give you sauce-free grip while eating. Add your toppings. Let me rephrase: add few toppings. I find that the best pizzas have 1-2 toppings; don't over-complicate it. And please use fresh mozzarella. Bake in a 450 degree (Fahrenheit) oven until the cheese is browning and the smell is driving you mad with hunger. Your nose can usually tell you when a pizza is ready. It's like a sixth sense.

Last, but not least. EAT IT! But maybe let it cool a bit first. I don't want to pay the bogus emergency room fee when you get third degree burns in your mouth.


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