When I was young, I remember watching food network daytime shows (not at my house because we didn’t have cable) and writing down recipes as fast as I could during the episodes. There was no DVR or any way to rewind at the time, so if I missed an ingredient, well, I just guessed.
My palate and technique were always expanding through my experiences eating around the globe and cooking back home in my kitchen. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school and I had to cook all my meals for myself that I found myself relying on meals and recipes that my mom made when I was growing up.
This recipe for pizza dough is based on a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis, but the sauce was something created by my mother and me. Pizza nights in our house were always fun and we each made our own creations. *side note: homemade pizza is a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen* The pizza recipe I include here is my mother’s favorite version, but you can use this dough and sauce with whatever toppings you like. I’d love to hear what your favorite toppings are!:)
Roasted red pepper and tomato sauce
3 red bell peppers
4 medium tomatoes (about 1.5 lbs)
4 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
1 tsp sugar or honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Preheat oven to 450º. Cut tomatoes in half, removing core. Place face down on a lined baking sheet. Cut peppers in half, removing stem and seeds. Peel garlic cloves. Place whole on the baking sheet and cover with the bell peppers face down. This prevents the garlic cloves from burning. Drizzle olive oil over peppers and tomatoes. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the skins begin to blacken.
Remove from oven. The skins should now be easy to remove with a fork. (Do not worry about getting every bit of skin off the peppers. A little bit is ok.) Place peppers, tomatoes, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency. (I don’t like mine completely pureed.) Add salt and pepper to taste, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and oregano and pulse to incorporate.
¾ cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tsp honey
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
1 tsp salt
Salt and pepper
Herbs de Provence
Gently stir warm water and yeast together in a small bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes, until yeast has dissolved. Once dissolved, stir in honey.
Lightly brush a large bowl with olive oil. In a separate bowl with a stand mixer, mix together flour and salt. Add the yeast and honey mixture, kneading with the dough hook until combined and a sticky ball forms.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, adding flour as needed, until smooth. Transfer dough to the prepared oiled bowl. Roll dough in the oil to coat all sides, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a draft-free location for about an hour, until doubled in size.
2 cups Roasted red pepper and tomato sauce
*6 assorted mini sweet peppers sliced in rounds
*6 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms
*3 oz thinly sliced Spanish hard chorizo, such as Palacio brand
8 oz. grated cheese (I used a mixture of Manchego, Mahón, and Parmesan)
Preheat oven to 475. Once doubled in size, punch down the dough and transfer to a work surface using semolina flour to dust. Divide the dough in half, working with one piece at a time.
Roll out dough using a rolling pin and your hands to shape the dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Transfer dough to a preheated pizza stone or pizza baking sheet. Using a spoon or pastry brush, lightly cover the surface of the uncooked crust with olive oil. Season crust with preferred herbs and salt and pepper. Bake crust for about 4 minutes, until crust begins to bubble and is firm but not completely cooked. This allows the center of the crust to be mostly cooked before adding the sauce and toppings.
Carefully remove crust from the oven. Spread ¾ – 1 cup roasted red pepper and tomato sauce on the crust, leaving an inch of crust bare around the edges. Arrange assorted toppings on pizza. Finally, sprinkle on the cheese.
Return pizza to the oven for 7 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.