On Saturday night I had offered to teach a few women how to make pizza. I mixed up some pizza dough early so it would be ready to roll out into pizzas a while after they got here. We started by mixing up another smaller batch of pizza dough and I let them each knead it a bit, as none of them had made a yeast dough before. I think knowing the “feel” of a good dough is important. Then we set that aside to rise while we made some basic marinara sauce. I used to make this thick pizza sauce, which is a bit complex but truly delicious. A simple pizza sauce recipe is here. But lately I’ve gone even simpler, omitting the onions.
In the summer I’ve been cooking up some marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes, but I didn’t want to put my “students” through the whole peeling and seeding routine so bought a 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes.
Pizza Sauce from Canned Tomatoes
- 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1-2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- red pepper flakes optional
- a few fresh basil leaves chopped or torn
- Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic a few minutes, just until softened. Keep the heat low so it doesn't brown at all.
- Add the tomatoes. (If you use tomato puree you can probably skip the paste.) Add the paste if needed. Stir and cook 15-20 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Once it thickens, salt to taste and add the basil leaves. Stir and let cool while you make the pizzas.
I like to prebake the pizzas 5 minutes with nothing on them, then add the sauce and toppings. I had my friends roll out the dough I’d made earlier into 4 different medium pizzas and we baked them each about 5 minutes.
We just made one pizza that night, topped with the sauce we’d made and mushrooms, onions and pepperoni on one half and Canadian bacon and pineapple on the other half. It came out great.
I’m looking forward to teach more “classes.” I’ve never taught cooking before (other than trying to teach through this blog) but this was fun. I realized how many little things I’ve picked up over the years (like how to chop onions, how to peel and chop garlic) that are not obvious and can be intimidating to folks.
After they left, I rolled out, cooked and froze pizza shells from the dough we made earlier. My college girl can take them up to school and enjoy a “boboli-like-but-better” crust. 😉
Wish I’d thought to take pictures but next time!
I cooked this pizza a few days ago at home with my two sister, to be honest I have to admit they did all the hardwork, I just gave them the most amazing cheese we´ve ever had, it was awesome, it was so tasty, just have a look at this website, I´m sure you´ll find it pretty interesting.
CJ: I don’t actually remember helping my mom in the kitchen a lot but she did cook (and can). I think even just having that stuff go on in your household makes you more aware and later you remember what you saw, even if you didn’t DO. I’ve had the same thought about the farmer’s market. You should go for it! Let me know if you do and how it turns out.
Oh how fun. I think that there are too many people who have lost the connection with a kitchen and cooking in general. I don’t know your backround, but I grew up hanging around the kitchen and helping my mother, grandmothers and watching friends mom’s cook. Inevitably you ended up helping and learning. So those basic tasks like kneading dough or chopping an onion don’t give me a second thought although I have several friends in the “barely cook” group.
I have thought about putting together some cooking classes for dorm students or kids. I approached the director of our farmers narket about doing some type of food/cooking demos at the market to give people fresh ideas for different ways to use the seasonal produce. They were very receptive to the idea and now I’ve got homework to do regarding licensing and health codes. But the plan is hatched.
I look forward to hearing more about your cooking classes and lessons. It’s rewarding, isn’t it?