Making homemade pizza is one of the best ways to use fresh ingredients for a quick, easy-to-assemble meal. With red bell peppers glutting the markets this month, and fresh arugula and oregano still hanging on in the garden it’s time to make some pies. Fire up the grill to keep that kitchen cool.
Easy pizza dough
Making homemade pizza dough isn’t as hard as you might think. I use a basic bread recipe from the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, rolling the dough out very thinly for the crust. Just FYI: you’ll need to have the bread dough ready to go beforehand, as it needs to rise for about 2 hours first.
For the sauce, I like to keep mine as simple as possible. Of course it’s best if you use fresh tomatoes, but if none are available, canned will work just as well. I like the Muir Glen organic variety – either crushed or diced. As always, using fresh herbs adds a lot more flavor to your sauce than dried.
Two good things to have: a baking stone and good quality parchment paper. A stone cooks pizza quickly and evenly, and parchment paper makes sliding your finished pizza from the work surface to the oven and back to the serving plate SUPER easy. If you don’t have a stone, you can use a regular baking sheet, but the parchment paper is really recommended.
3-4 thin slices prosciutto
1 red bell pepper
4-5 leaves of arugula
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can crushed or diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
1 can tomato paste (6 ounces)
2-3 garlic cloves
3-4 fresh sprigs oregano
5-6 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Basic Boule recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
It’s a good idea to have all your toppings ready to go before you start rolling out the dough, as it’s best to top the pizza immediately after rolling. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees while you slice the pepper, shred the cheese, and tear the arugula leaves.For the sauce, pour olive oil into bottom of saucepan and then add tomatoes and paste on top. Stir over medium-high heat until combined, then add garlic, fresh oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and let simmer while you roll the pizza dough.
For the pizza, start with a grapefruit-sized piece of dough formed into a ball. Let it warm up a bit, then dust a large piece of parchment paper with flour and start to roll it out with a rolling pin, stretching the sides and occasionally flipping over for a more uniform crust. If you have a pizza peel, place the parchment paper on top of it and try to roll the crust out until it covers the entire surface of the peel. You can fold up the outside edges to make a thicker edge, or leave it flat if you prefer.
Once your dough is ready, ladle 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce over it, spreading evenly across the dough with a spatula. Top with enough cheese to almost cover the sauce, than add prosciutto, red pepper and arugula. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and outside edges of crust are browned.
While you let your pizza cool for about 10 minutes (500 degrees is a bit hot for eating right away), it’s easy to throw a salad together for the side – I tossed cherry tomatoes with fresh basil, olive oil and salt and pepper to serve with this one. Mangia!
This recipe was part of a weekly column written by Seattle resident Amie Simon originally published in September 2010 about creating tasty dishes from the contents of her local CSA delivery box.
Photo credit: Amie Simon