Friday, March 10, 2006

Pizza-Crust & Sauce Recipe

Unless you're from Boston, where we call sauce "gravy."

Making spaghetti sauce is not an exact science, and there is quite a bit of room for improvisation. This is how I make mine, but a few additions or omissions to taste will personalise it to your liking. Think of this as a sort of template. I tend to make it in large quantities to freeze so I have it on hand when needed. I also don't add sugar, as I think the carrots add a good deal of sweetness. I don't use green pepper because my husband hates it and it does not freeze well, but if you like it, add about halfway through the cooking.

For Sauce:

2 large tins(28 oz) of crushed Italian seasoned tomatoes (I buy the store brand).
2 small tins of tomato sauce (low sodium is best if you can find it).
2 small tins of tomato paste
2 tablespoons crushed, dried oregano
2 tablespoons crushed, dried basil
5 large cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
3 large onions, thinly sliced
olive oil for sauteing
5-6 carrots (depending on size) peeled and cut into matchsticks
3-4 tablespoons of caperberries
1/2 cup chopped oil cured olives
2 small jars marinated artichoke hearts(drained and chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic and carrots in a good quantity of olive oil over low heat until soft but not browned. Add everything EXCEPT the capers, olives and artichoke hearts, and simmer for at LEAST two hours. The idea is to let it cook down slowly. In the last half hour of cooking, add the withheld items.

For the Dough:

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of both dried oregano and basil
3 cups all purpose flour (use about two cups if using bread flour)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine yeast, salt sugar and water. Let proof 15 minutes. Add flour gradually. Depending on the humidity in the air, it may take more or less flour. It is easier to add, so go slow. Work dough until smooth. Place in oiled bowl and let rise one hour. Punch down and let rise again for fifteen minutes. Roll out, and place on a heavy baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Top as desired and bake in a hot oven (about 425 degrees F.) for fifteen minutes or until cheese is browned.
This dough recipe also rolls out well to make four good sized calzones.


For the pizza pictured, I used carmelised onions and kalamata olives along with a 50/50 mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. If using the sauce for a base, it already has carrots, artichoke hearts, capers etc. in it-so there isn't a need to over-do toppings. I also like to bury the toppings between layers of cheese so the onions don't burn.