Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce

  

September 5, 2014

Often on Saturday nights we have pizza for dinner. But not just any old frozen pizza, takeaway or delivery - we make our own homemade pizzas. We do this for a number of reasons; they taste amazing, it's great fun making them, they are cheaper and to top it off (if you'll excuse the pun), they are healthier.

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • 20 mins

    10 mins

    30 mins

  • Yields: About 10 pizzas
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Ingredients

Pizza Dough

850g Tipo ’00’ flour and 150g semolina flour (alternatively use 1000g strong white bread or Tipo ’00')

2 x 7g dried yeast sachets

1tsp salt

1tbsp golden caster sugar

650 ml water (lukewarm)

3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Tomato Sauce

1 400g tin of plum tomatoes

Good handful of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and basil are great)

2 garlic cloves sliced

Salt and black pepper

Olive oil

Directions

To make the dough

Add the flours to a large mixing bowl and combine, making a well in the middle. We use Tipo ’00’ (traditional Italian flour used in pizza and pasta) or strong white bread flour as they have high gluten content which makes for a far better dough. The semolina adds a fantastic texture and flavour but is not strictly necessary.

Add the water, sugar, olive oil, salt and yeast in a separate bowl or jug and mix well. Leave for a few minutes to give the yeast a chance to start working.

Pour the water mixture into the well in the flour bowl and mix in to bring the dough together, getting all of the flour from the sides of the bowl.

Take the dough out of bowl and knead well on a floured work surface for around 10 minutes.

Make the dough into a ball and place back in the large mixing bowl (wiped out and then lightly oiled) and cover the bowl with cling film. Leave for around an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back - push out all of the air with your finger tips.

Divide the dough into 10 - 12 pieces and make into balls - we make the adults portions larger than the kids. The dough you don't need can now be wrapped and put in the freezer - we put them in individual balls wrapped in floured cling film but you could put in one large ball.

Put the balls of dough you are going to use on a floured board and cover with a tea towel until you are ready to use.

To make the pizza, pre-heat your oven to as hot as it will go - the hotter the better with pizza. Take a ball of dough and roll it out on a floured work surface, turning often an occasionally dusting with more flour to stop it sticking.

When the dough is nice and thin (thin crust pizza is so much nicer than thick crust!) transfer it to a pizza tray (the round metal ones with holes in that are available from most supermarkets are great though pizza baking stones are the best but you have to be let it heat up in the oven and then transfer the pizza to it), cover with a thin layer of the tomato sauce (see below) and then top with your favourite toppings. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil all over.

Place in the oven and cook for about 7 minutes. You should check this often and adjust cooking times to suit your oven.

To make the tomato sauce

Heat a medium sized saucepan over a medium/high heat. Add a good glug of olive oil and then add the garlic and herbs and sizzle them for a couple of minutes (don’t burn them)

Add the tin of tomatoes and, if using whole ones, break them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and let them simmer quite quickly for about 20 minutes.

Pour the sauce into a fine sieve and, with the back of the spoon, squash the tomatoes and push them through into a bowl below, scraping off any pulp from the bottom of the sieve into the bowl. If the sauce is too runny you can return it to the saucepan and boil it over a high heat for a few minutes to help thicken it.

The kids absolutely love helping make pizza. They love getting messy making the dough, ours really enjoy kneading the dough and they get involved in making the tomato sauce (with our help as it's hot). Their absolute favourite part though is making the final pizza. There are competitions to see who can make the funniest shape pizza and they have a great time decorating it with the toppings, making faces, maps of countries and even once a football.

Toppings
We try all sorts of things, cured meats, anchovies, capers, peppers, onions, pineapple, artichokes, we even sometimes crack an egg in the middle just before putting it in the oven. Recently we had left over cold roast lamb and mint sauce from the day before and topped the pizza with that and some red onion - it was delicious. We've also tried left over roast chicken but instead of the tomato sauce used our homemade pesto recipe instead.

It's really a case of trying different things or recreating your favourite pizzas.

Variations

Once you've got the dough you can use it in different ways, these include;

Calzone
You can make a Calzone by rolling out the dough in a circle, filling one half and then folding the other half over and crimping the edges together to seal it. Bake it in the oven for a bit longer than the pizza. Our kids absolutely love these in their school lunchboxes, much to the envy of all their friends.

Breadsticks
You can roll out the dough into long thin pencil shapes and then bake in the oven until golden brown - perfect for nibbles.

So, give it a go, I promise you'll enjoy it. The chances are they'll be the best pizzas you ever eat (ours even beat most of the pizzas we've had in italy) and the smell around the house will be amazing for hours afterwards.

Please leave a comment below to let us know how you get on and share your favourite toppings with all the Saucepan Kids out there.

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