I haven’t blogged lately, and it’s not because we haven’t been cooking and eating at home. In fact, I’ve cooked quite a bit. We’ve had blackberry-ginger glazed salmon, chicken biryani (these will all appear on the blog, eventually!), and homemade pizzas.
I love Pizza. There is just something so mouth-watering about dough smothered in tomato sauce and topped with gobs of cheese. So mouth-watering…but so unhealthy!!!! Therefore, I don’t eat pizza, or “zah”—as I affectionately call it, very often anymore. Piyush really dislikes pizza (blasphemous!), and much prefers his “pizza” on a crispy tortilla instead of a soft, chewy dough.
I decided to try and change his mind, to convert him into a pizza lovin’ maniac. But, it would not be easy! With the goal of creating a crispy—yet somewhat doughy (and possibly a little healthy)—crust, and a flavorful homemade sauce…I got to work. I scoured the internet and found a couple dough recipes that had possibility. I tried a few, but couldn’t find perfection. So, I mashed them together—taking what I liked from some, and discarding what I hated from others. Some would show promise, only in the end to puff up into a more bread-like crust. That wasn’t going to work!
Eventually I combined recipes to come up with the perfect recipe, and the perfect technique. I think both are really equally important…and you can get a totally different crust using the same recipe depending on how you prepare it. I found that rolling the dough out with a rolling pin yielded the exact texture I was trying to achieve for the crust. After it was rolled out I pricked it all over with a fork to keep the dough from bubbling up. I sprayed it really quickly with olive oil, using my Misto (I love the Misto!). Then, I pre-cooked the crust for a few minutes in a 450 F degree oven using a pizza stone—just to make sure it got ultra crispy.
Next step…the sauce. I wanted something that had a fresh, rustic taste. Something that was everything canned/jarred pizza sauce you find at the grocery store was not. I don’t know how I did it, but I got the sauce right the very first time! Piyush proclaimed it the best he’s ever tasted, and he said Italy would be proud. (Haha—thanks, honey!…but I don’t know if I’d go that far!)
Aside from tasting really good, this sauce is also ultra easy!
After I had both the crust and the sauce figured out…I had to decide what to top it with. I wasn’t really in a meat eating mood and I wanted to stick with something simple and flavorful. We had lots of mushrooms in the fridge, and basil too. I knew Piyush loves Mozzarella…and since I was trying to convince him that pizza is a food he should love…that decision was easy. Mozzarella, it was! We bought a 8oz ball, and I used about half of it. I thinly sliced the ball and then flattened those slices even more with my hands. I dried them off with a paper towel (they were a little wet), cut them into halves, and slapped them on the the zah.
This pizza was simply delicious. It was so easy, inexpensive, and flavorful. And the best part….Piyush loved it! In fact, he ate half of it! I had two slices and it left me feeling full and satisfied.
Calorie-wise, each slice is equal to approximately 150 calories. How awesome is that?! I’m not sure how it tastes when it’s reheated yet…but I have a couple slices left for lunch tomorrow! Yum!
Aside from the results…the other thing I love about both the crust and the sauce recipes are that they freeze up awesome! If you keep a little dough and sauce in the freezer, making a pizza will be way faster than waiting for delivery (and just as easy, too)!
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
(makes two 12″ crusts—8 slices/ea)
- 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1 c. whole wheat flour (plus more for kneading) I use Indian atta flour, for the best texture
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 c. warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp. active, dry yeast
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Combine the warm water, honey and yeast in a bowl. Let this sit until it becomes foamy— about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the flours and salt. Once the yeast mixture is foamy add it to the flours. Stir, using a wooden spoon, until the dough begins to come together—then add the olive oil.
- Knead everything together, adding additional flour (a little at a time) until the dough is moderately stiff and no longer wet. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about a half hour.
- Sprinkle a cutting board or parchment paper with some cornmeal. Divide the dough into 2 portions (freeze one, if you’d like) and place one portion on the cornmeal covered surface. Roll the dough out to a thin circle using a rolling pin.
- Poke holes all over the crust using a fork. Then, pre-bake the crust for 5 minutes in a 450 F degree oven (that has been preheated with a pizza stone for about 30 min). Remove. Spread the crust with sauce and the toppings of your choice.
- Bake at 450 F degrees (again, on the pizza stone) for about 10 minutes—or until the crust gets a little browned and the cheese gets all melty.
Easy Tomato Pizza Sauce
- 3 or 4 large garlic cloves
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for cooking garlic
- 5 or 6 large basil leaves
- salt and pepper—to taste
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Peel, smash and chop garlic. Add about 1 tsp. of oil into a pan and saute until garlic begins to turn a little brown (watch it closely—garlic burns easily!)
- Put garlic, tomatoes (quartered), 1 tbsp olive oil and basil leaves in blender. Blend until everything is combined, you can leave the tomatoes a little chunky if you want.
- Pour sauce into the same pan you cooked the garlic in—add some chopped tomatoes if you’d like. Add sugar and stir everything together. Simmer on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes or until it thickens.
- Season with salt and pepper.
So easy…and so perfect!!!
Also…How cute is this?! It’s my cat wearing a mini scarf! I’m starting to get the hang of this knitting thing…