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
- Yields: About 10 pizzas
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.
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.
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.
To make the tomato sauce
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.
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.
Once you've got the dough you can use it in different ways, these include;
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.
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.