Homemade pizza is really so simple. Every time I make it, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I guess it’s because I’m always cooking for a crowd when I make pizza, but if you’re only going to make a pie or two, it’s quite easy. Any Italian bakery will provide excellent dough, so no need to make you own. It only takes a few ingredients, and in just a few steps, you will have an absolutely delicious, authentic pizza.
My mom was famous for her homemade pizza. My cousins would come over on Friday nights (meatless in those days), and she would produce pizza after pizza until we were all too full to move. Even though she hasn’t made pizza in nearly 10 years, she is still famous among those who were lucky enough to have tasted it.
My sister, daughter and I have watched my mom make pizza numerous times, trying so hard to figure out what her secret was. Is it the oven temperature? Is it the amount of tomatoes? They way she slices and places the mozzarella? The amount of oil drizzled on top? Even though we believe we have mastered all the steps to perfection, we all admit that we miss the mark just a tiny bit. There is something missing. But we keep trying. However, if you have never had my mom’s pizza, you won’t know the difference and will be absolutely delighted with the results of this recipe.
Remember……always use the best ingredients.
RECIPE: 2 pies
2 lbs pizza dough
1 can Italian plum tomatoes (must be San Marzano)
8 oz mozzarella ( depending on your taste, you might want more or less)
grated Parmesan cheese (you can use Romano cheese as well)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Let dough rise in bowls. I first put a little flour in the bowl and then a little flour on top of the dough. I cover each bowl with plastic wrap. Then I cover all the bowls with a wool blanket, just the way my mother always did.
2. Place the can of tomatoes in a saucepan and cook for 20 minutes. Let it cool.
3. Slice the mozzarella into thin slices.
4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
4. Once the dough has risen, gently roll it out on a floured surface until it is rectangular and can fit nicely into a cookie sheet.
5. Lightly oil the bottom of the cookie sheets. Gently place the dough in the cookie sheet and work it a bit until the fit is perfect.
6. Using your hands, grab a whole plum tomato from the saucepan and squish it to release the juices. Then place the pulp of the tomato on the dough. Continue until you have the desired amount of tomatoes spread on the pie. The key here is not to use the juice of the tomatoes as it will make the pie very mushy in the middle. You want to use the pulp only.
7. Add some salt and pepper ( go lightly). Then place the mozzarella on top of the tomatoes, placing it as desired.
8. Sprinkle with some grated cheese.
9. Add some oregano, as much or little as you like.
10. Drizzle with olive oil.
11. When oven is preheated, place pies in oven. After 5 minutes, lower the oven to 450 degrees.
12. This is the only tricky part…. keep an eye on the pies. All ovens are different, and the oven temperature is really key to turning out a perfect crusted pizza. I always switch the pies around on the racks midway through the cooking process, as my mom always did.
13. Depending on your oven ( and lower or raise the oven temp if you see the need), the pies will be done in about 15 minutes or so. But keep your eye on the pies.
14. Let cool slightly in pan before cutting into pieces.