Today’s post from our cookbook tour through The Art of Real Food is actually three recipes in one. Because to make a great pizza, you not only need a great pizza dough, but you also need a great pizza sauce. Two great pizza sauces is even better.
If you’ve never made bread before, pizza dough is a great place to start. It doesn’t really matter if your dough doesn’t rise well, or even at all. And it doesn’t have to look pretty. I used to make bread at least once a week and was well-practiced, but that was several years ago. So pizza dough was a good place for me start again, too.
I made the dough the day before, and then set it in the fridge for a slow rise until the next day’s dinner time. This worked just great. Using this method, you could also take your pizzas camping. Can you even imagine how great a campfire pizza would be??
In addition to the dough, I also made the sauces the day before. Having everything pre-made made dinner time the following day quite smooth. First I made the herb sauce. Herbs are plentiful in our garden this time of the year, so I went snipping around the garden, whizzed everything in the food processor and then put it into the fridge. I used lemon balm instead of mint, because that’s what grows in our garden, and I added some garlic scapes from our CSA box. I pressed the plastic wrap down on top of the herb sauce to create a tight seal and keep it from turning brown.
Next I made the tomato sauce. It’s still a bit early for tomatoes in my garden, so I used store bought tomatoes. But I plan to make lots and lots of this sauce once my tomatoes come in. Because the sauce is delicious and there’s nothing better than pulling a fresh tomato sauce out of the freezer in the middle of winter.
Both the herb sauce and the tomato sauce were delicious and a big hit with everyone. The leftover sauces were excellent tossed with pasta and Parmesan the next day.
And now, the best part of making pizza: the toppings! The reason this recipe is such a great recipe for farmer’s market/garden/CSA cooking is because you can use whatever is fresh and delicious for your toppings. We had some spinach and carrots from our CSA so we used those, along with some other pizza favorites like mushrooms and olives.
I was using an indoor grill, so had to adapt the cooking instructions just a smidge. I grilled the crust on the grill pan as instructed, but then transfered it to a baking sheet where I added the sauce and the toppings. I then put it under the broiler in the oven for just a minute or two to melt the cheese and make it nice and brown on top. This process worked really well.
Needless to say, all the kiddos loved this meal. What kid (or grown-up) doesn’t love making their own pizza? I recommend trying it for your next backyard cookout. How fun would it be to have a pizza bar and grill up pizzas for all of your friends? I guarantee your guests will love it every bit as much as my kiddos.
The authors thank Debbie Dutra for this recipe.
Source: The Art of Real Food by Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny
Course: Main (Vegetarian)
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 envelope dry active yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- oil for dough bowl
- FOR THE FRESH TOMATO PIZZA SAUCE:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves shallots diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 baskets cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- salt to taste
- FOR THE HERB GARDEN PESTO PIZZA SAUCE:
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 1/4 cup chives
- 6 Tbs olive oil
- salt to taste
- FOR THE DOUGH:
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups all purpose flour and salt. Stir in whole wheat flour. Add remaining all purpose flour, 1 Tbs at a time, until dough comes away from the bowl but is still a little sticky
- Knead dough on a lightly floured board about 5 minutes, until dough springs back when poked. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat all sides of dough. Let dough rise about 4 hours.
- Divide in 4 portions, roll in balls. (You may freeze extra dough balls) Wrap each portion in parchment paper with a little dusting of flour.
- FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
- Heat oil in a large pan, and saute shallots and garlic. Add tomatoes, basil and salt to taste. Cook on low heat 1 hour. Let cool, then puree cooled mixture. Can be used right away or frozen for later.
- FOR THE HERB SAUCE:
- Puree all ingredients except salt until smooth and well mixed. Add salt to taste. Use liberally on pizza or in salad dressing.
- TO ASSEMBLE PIZZAS:
- Roll each dough ball out to 1/3″ thick. Brush barbecue grill with olive oil. Place dough on hot grill. Within minutes air bubbles will appear inside and large bubbled areas will appear on outside of dough. Turn dough over and cook other side. Turn barbecue grill to low, and start building pizza. Add sauce first, then cheese and toppings. Close lid and cook on low, or with barbecue off, 5 minutes. If using meat, cook prior to adding it to pizza.