Though, TJs wheat crust and store bought sauce are simple to the extreme, homemade isn’t really so hard either.
I may have gone to the extreme on this one, but not on purpose and it still was quick and easy.
This all started because I have a basil plant in my kitchen window (I have a kitchen window now!!) which was getting a little bushy so I decided to make some pesto. SimplyRecipes is always a good choice for staples. Her pesto recipe was exactly what I was looking for… pretty much what I remember my Mom’s being. The only thing I do differently than most is use walnuts instead of pine nuts as they are more readily available, cheaper and when growing up we had a tree so that’s what we always put in pesto. Then I had to do something with the pesto… Pizza!
So I decided to make the dough, and since I’m a slacker I couldn’t make 101Cookbooks overnight wheat thin crust pizza dough (though that is next on my cooking to do list) so I found a quick version, not wheat, but I am contemplating ways to make it whole wheat. The quick version is from thekitchn and is super simple. I’ll include in this post or you can check it out on their site.
As if crust, pesto, homemade basil cocktails and my planned bourbon nectarine dessert weren’t enough… I figured I may as well try at least one 101Cookbooks recipe since it is super quick and sounded much better than opening a jar of store bought pasta sauce. I decided to make her Five Minute Tomato Sauce recipe. Which is spicy and tangy and delicious, on pizza on pasta, on the spoon.
This may sound excessive, but in reality, each recipe takes less than 10 minutes apiece. So even if you are crunched for time, you can have homemade pizza in a matter of minutes with no waiting time for rising, or stewing fancy sauces on the stove, and if you are like me and you made pesto last week and stuck in the freezer, you can even make two kinds of pizza!
So let’s get started!
Adapted from SimplyRecipes and my Mom
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts (Chopped or halves)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
If nuts are not chopped, start by placing nuts in food processor to chop
Add basil pulse a few times to chop, add garlic and pulse a few more times.
Continuing pulsing while pouring olive oil in. Stop to scrape down sides occasionally. Do not pour all oil in at once, drizzle it in continuously until pesto reaches desired consistency.
Add cheese, pulse until combined.Add salt to taste.
Use within 3-4 days or freeze for future use (pasta, toast, pizza, mixed into a vinaigrette, possibilities are endless)
I also seem to remember when we made it in my youth, we would toss everything in except the oil pulse a few times add oil and voila -pesto! So if you want to just break the cheese into chunks and not pre-grate or if your walnuts are odd shapes, no worries! It all works out in the end.
Five Minute Tomato Sauce
borrowed from 101Cookbooks (Thanks Heidi for so many great recipes!!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
zest of one lemon
Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste (you don’t want to burn your tongue)…If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Stir in the lemon zest reserving a bit to sprinkle on top of your pasta.
**This is her exact recipe, I just wanted you to have access to it here, so you don’t have to switch between pages. I might put a smidge less oil in next time I make it, it felt a little oily at times. But ooh it is tasty! I put it on my pizza, then on my pasta, I even slathered some on toast and made another pizza! In other words its tasty and it makes plenty. ps- I tried to halve the recipe but I couldn’t find crushed tomatoes in a smaller size than 28oz. And you need the crushed kind. Highly important for the consistency of the recipe.
Ok last but not least: Pizza dough!
Thin crust pizza dough
3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water – warm-hot (not too hot)
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don’t need to dissolve it during the first step)
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 500F, this takes a good 45 minutes depending on your oven up to an hour.
In a liquid measuring cup, add hot water, not too hot or it will kill yeast. Add the yeast, stir with fork until the yeast dissolves. Let sit for a few minutes while you mix the other ingredients.
In a bowl mix flour and salt together with your hands.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your hands to combine.
When it comes together, but still has bits in the bowl, turn out ball of dough and the bits onto cutting board or counter.
Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch.
Divide the dough in two.
Tear off two pieces of parchment paper. One ball of dough at a time, work in hands into a small disk, set on parchment paper.
Using a rolling pin or the heel of your hand work dough from the middle outward until it is about a 1/4″ thick.
Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Ok! Now that we have dough, sauces and I’m sure a rumbling tummy lets put some toppings together! I have learned the very difficult lesson that less is more when it comes to pizza toppings. I prefer olives and mushrooms or just fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. But you can do whatever floats your boat. Last night we added artichoke hearts which were deelish.
So once you have the dough rolled out spoon a small amount of sauce or pesto over entire pizza, top with veggies of choice (mushrooms, olives, zucchini, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, peppers, onion, etc. I say choose 2-3 so as not to overcrowd).
You can add the cheese right away or you can wait until the pizza bakes for the first 5 minutes, depends on how melty you like it. One way or the other for the first pizza once it is topped, slide it onto the back of a cookie sheet.
Put in the lower middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate and cook for 2-3 more minutes until crispy around the edges.
Let rest for 3-5 minutes, slice and devour!