Last night, the girls and I decided to get fancy and make home made pizza. Pizza is a bit of a staple in our house – one of those quick meals when no one feels like cooking or I’m at work and there’s no food in the fridge. But you can only have the frozen pizza or Domino’s pizza, or Papa Murphy’s pizza so many times before you start to get tired of it. Or at least, my husband and I can – the girls seem to never tired of pepperoni pizza.
I grew up on home made pizza. My mother was always a food snob, and as a stay at home mom to us, she had more time to do things like make home made bread, home made pizza, home made meals every night. But to me, there is nothing like the taste of home made.
So first thing in the morning, the girls and I went in the kitchen and made our dough. I’ve used the crust from Ree Drummond’s first cookbook, which is nearly a match for the crust recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It’s very simple to make (as yeasted doughs go anyway), and I’ve had good success with both. But I wanted to try the recipe from Julia Child’s book, The Way to Cook that I borrowed from my mom. It’s definitely in competition for being the best crust recipe I’ve tried so far, and isn’t really any more difficult than the others. I did make adjustments to make it in a stand mixer, as the directions were for a food processor (which I don’t own).
JULIA’S PIZZA DOUGH
Makes two 16″ discs
- Begin with 1 package (or 2 tsp) active yeast in 1/2 cup of tepid water and 1/8 tsp sugar. Let this proof for about 5 minutes, then add 3/4 cup cold milk.
Meanwhile, mix in a bowl of a stand mixer 3 cups all purpose flour (you can use bread flour which will result in a crisper crust) and 1 1/2 tsp salt.
- With the mixer running, drizzle the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients, followed by 2 Tbsp. of good olive oil. Once the dough masses into a ball, let it rest 5 minutes.
At this point, you can hand knead the dough, or use the mixer and dough hook to knead it for 5 minutes. You then give it a 2 min. resting period, and knead for 2-3 minutes more.
- Let it rise in a greased, covered bowl for 1 1/2 – 2 hours in a warm place until doubled.
- It is ready to bake at this point, or it can be chilled in the fridge for a few hours. If you do chill it, it does need to be brought to room temperature and allowed to begin to rise again for about 1 hour before baking.
Now, we also decided to make a home made tomato sauce. I usually just use a jarred marinara sauce (which are just fine), but as I had the day off and we were being gourmet in our aspirations, I made Julia’s Couli de tomates a la provencale – or a fresh tomato puree seasoned in the Provencale style. The recipe is from her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, but I did make a few adaptations, and it still turned out deliciously.
JULIA’S PROVENCALE TOMATO SAUCE
Makes about 2 cups, or enough for 2 pizzas
1/3 cup finely minced onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp flour
3 lbs ripe red tomatoes, seeded and juiced; chopped (about 4 1/2 cups)
n.b. in a pinch, canned whole plum tomatoes will do fine
1 tsp herbes de provence
2-3 cloves minced garlic (or more if you like – I did 4)
small pinch of both saffron and coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tb tomato paste
- Cook the onions in the oil slowly until tender, but not browned. (about 10 minutes)
- Stir in the flour, cook slowly for another 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herbs, and seasonings. Cover the pan, cook slowly for 10 minutes to render the juice from the tomatoes.
Then, uncover the pan and simmer for about a half hour, adding spoonfuls of tomato juice or water if the sauce is becoming to thick or risking scorching.
- *This may be done ahead and either refrigerated or frozen.