Pizza Friday, Homemade-style

October 2020 | by Renata Haidle

It's Friday, the weekend is here, and everyone in the family is excited for pizza night - a beloved tradition. Sure, you could take the easy way out and call your favorite pizza chain in town, or better yet, you could invite the kids to join you in the kitchen for an impromptu pizza-making party that will take just a bit longer than delivery on a busy night.  

Making delicious pizza at home doesn't have to be complicated. All you need is a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, a bit of planning, and a very hot oven. In this simple recipe for thin-crust Greek pizza, I'll show you just how easy it is.  

For the dough, I used a recipe from an old Betty Crocker cookbook and adapted it slightly. The sauce recipe is my own - the direct result of a generous tomato plant in my garden that kept producing all summer and tinkering with spices.  

Ingredients: 

The dough:

The sauce: 

  • 14 oz grape tomatoes 
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • ½ Teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 Teaspoon salt 
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian herbs 
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar 
  • 1/3 Cup water  

The toppings 

(for one medium pizza): 

  • 1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • ½ Cup crumbled feta cheese 
  • Red pepper strips, thinly sliced 
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 6-8 kalamata olives (you can substitute black olives), halved 
  • A sprinkle of dried oregano, or Italian herbs mix 

Feel free to improvise with whatever toppings you have on hand. Such is the beauty of homemade - you can truly make it your own and discover new combinations of flavors. 

Method: 

 The dough: 

Gently stir the yeast and the sugar in the warm water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture starts forming bubbles. Note: if bubbles are absent, your yeast is probably dead, and the dough will not rise properly.  

Add the olive oil, salt, and most of the flour to form a slightly wet dough ball. When the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, transfer on a lightly floured surface, add a bit more flour and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to roll your dough, knead for a couple of minutes to remove air bubbles. Split the dough in half if you’re making two large pizzas, or in thirds for three small, personal ones (about 8in diameter). You can refrigerate or freeze unused dough (tightly covered so it won’t dry out) for up to 2 weeks.  

The sauce: 

Dice the tomatoes and sauté them in a pan with the olive oil and spices for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and slightly caramelized. Transfer them in a blender or food processor and purée. Use caution as the sauce will be hot. Return the puréed mixture to the pan and simmer on medium-low heat for 40-50 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Set aside. 

Assembling the pizza: 

Heat oven to 500 F. 

On a lightly floured work surface, flatten the dough into a round shape with a rolling pin. Grease a baking tray and sprinkle with semolina (you can also use cornmeal). Transfer the dough to the tray— Bake at 500 F for 6-7 minutes. Remove from the oven. Spread the pizza sauce uniformly on top of the partially baked dough, and add the toppings. Return to the oven and bake for another 7-8 minutes until the crust's edges turn golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest a couple of minutes before slicing

Originally printed in the October 2020 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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