Who doesn’t love a hot pizza right out of the oven, made with wholesome, fresh ingredients? It’s one of my favorite meals in any season—definitely the perfect comfort food. And, to enjoy pizza, you can skip the grease and expense of ordering pizza from a take-out joint. Here are a few secrets to making delicious pizza right at home.
1. Start with Savory Sauce
Use garden-fresh (or farmers-market-fresh) ingredients during the heart of summer to make a big batch of pizza sauce, and then freeze it. If you know you want pizza, simply thaw a container of yummy sauce, and you’re ready to go.
Here’s one recipe for homemade sauce: Mix 12 to 14 pounds of cored and skinned fresh or home-canned tomatoes together with 1 pound (2 cups) of chopped celery, 3 cups of chopped onions, 3 chopped green peppers, 1 or 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, and either one-quarter cup of Italian seasoning or 2 tablespoons of oregano, 1 tablespoon of basil, and 1 tablespoon of thyme. (If you like, you can also add 1 to 1½ cups of finely diced summer squash. It won’t change the taste, but the squash will extend the sauce and make it thicken more quickly.) Simmer all of these ingredients together over a low heat for two to three hours, or until the mixture has cooked into a thick, savory richness. Then cool the sauce, pour it into 1-pint BPA-free freezing cartons (it should fill about eight of them), and freeze. For more tips like this one, see How to Make All-Natural Pizza from Scratch.
2. Get to Know Your Dough
Homemade pizza dough is delicious, and it’s easier to prepare than you might think. The authors of the best-selling book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day also have basic, quick recipes for pizza crusts. Find one at The Secret to Incredibly Easy Homemade Pizza.
3. Warm Up to Homemade Cheese
Store-bought mozzarella (look for organic cheese and/or one from a local dairy you trust) will work fine on your pizza—but freshly made mozzarella will bump it into the “out of this world” category. It might surprise you to know that, from start to finish, mozzarella cheese takes no more than 30 minutes to prepare. Learn to make this mild, versatile cheese by following the instructions in Easy Cheesy (find a variation of the recipe in Quick Mozzarella).
4. Top-of-the-Line Toppings
To accompany your top-notch homemade sauce, dough and cheese, choose toppings that are fresh and in-season. For instance, in spring or fall, think garlic and finely chopped spinach. In summer, go for tomato and pepper chunks with fresh basil. And then comes the most important part: Enjoy!
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