Happy Sunday Scones!
This week’s Sunday Scones is all about exploring how to make homemade pizza. Do you know what I love most about this feature? It’s made me realize how many things I’ve never attempted to cook at home! Homemade pizza is one of those things. Using Sally’s Baking pizza dough recipe as my north star, today I embarked on a journey to pizza heaven. I’ll walk you through my homemade pizza recipe for this week’s Sunday Scones.
When I lived in New York City, dollar slices sustained my husband and me for many midnight snacks. We frequented Tony’s on Knickerbocker often for a late-night slice eaten over a garbage can on the sidewalk (as one does).
Living in Baltimore, the pizza options are a bit thinner. And, if I’m being perfectly candid…Baltimore simply doesn’t have the kind of pizza I like. I won’t say it’s bad because these folks are just trying to run their small business, and people do like them. I’m choosing to operate under the assumption that this is a “me” problem. There is one place in Baltimore–Arthouse–that I enjoyed a lot until they got rid of my favorite pizza. They brush the edges of their pizza with olive oil and throw on a liberal amount of salt. Growing up, I always gave the crusts to my dad to eat but not Arthouse’s. I absolutely love the salty, crisp crust!
Since I knew I was going to be making pizza today, I invited my friend Shan over to go on my pizza journey with me. She brought a little more finesse to the dough formation than I had. Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say.
How to make homemade pizza:
I’m sure everyone who reads this post knows exactly what they’re looking for in a pizza. Some people like thin crusts, thick crusts, lots of sauce, or not so much sauce. No matter how you like it, if you’re going to make pizza, you have a few main components to worry about: the dough, the sauce, and the cheese. Everything else is purely preferential.
I used Sally’s Baking pizza dough recipe and my homemade, jammy tomato sauce and fried mushrooms for this homemade pizza recipe. I also purchased a pizza pan from Williams-Sonoma. Though I was looking for the flat pizza crisper, this one worked out beautifully. The high edges helped me make a uniform crust around all sides. This recipe is perfect and fool-proof for a first-timer, even for someone like me who can barely use a rolling pin. The crust won’t flop around. It crisps up nicely but stays soft and chewy.
I cannot stand thin, watery pizza sauce. I’ll even go so far as to say that the sauce is my favorite part of the pizza. And you know what? I’m going to be controversial and say that the sauce can make or break the pizza. Because I feel so strongly about the sauce, I spent the most time making it perfect. To me, perfect pizza sauce is a little sweet, spicy, thick, and chunky. To make my perfect pizza sauce, here’s what I used:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Diced onion
- Minced garlic
- Crushed red pepper
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- A few basil sprigs
- Salt and pepper
Before I launch into a tirade about how to make pizza sauce, I’ll give you a quick opinion on cheese. I keep it simple and stick to just mozzarella cheese. I don’t love the flavor of parmesan on pizza, so I omit that. As I continue to experiment with making pizza at home, I’ll try new cheeses. If you can find bags of “off the block” mozzarella cheese, it’s perfect for mozzarella. Next time I make homemade pizza, I’ll be trying a Neopolitan pizza with fresh mozzarella.
How to make the tomato sauce:
I sautéed finely diced onion in extra virgin olive oil until softened. I added butter, garlic, and plenty of crushed red pepper. Once the garlic became fragrant, I added in the tomato paste. The most important thing is to let that paste sizzle. Don’t give it a puny little 45 seconds in the heat. Let it go for 4–5 minutes, mashing it into the oil as it cooks. You want to see it deepen in color and stick to the pot’s bottom.
I deglaze the paste with a touch of water just to lift anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. You can use wine here if you like the flavor. I add the tomatoes, a big pinch of sugar, and the basil sprigs. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, mashing the whole-peeled tomatoes for a couple of hours as they cook. You want all of the water to evaporate from the sauce, so you’re left with an extra jammy, thick, chunky sauce. Discard the basil sprigs after the sauce finishes cooking. You’ll be left with a sauce that’s even dad-approved when it’s all said and done!
Last but not least, the toppings. First, I got the dough into the pizza pan. Then, I brushed the whole thing with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. I added the pizza sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese. My go-to pizza toppings are always mushrooms and pepperoni. I fried sliced mushrooms in a little butter with salt and pepper and sliced a few sticks of pepperoni. You know I’ll be using that leftover pepperoni for homemade West Virginia pepperoni rolls in the near future!
Once the pizza was topped, I brushed the edges with more extra virgin olive oil and finished just the edges with flaky sea salt. Into the oven she went for about 20 minutes. Words cannot express the joy I experienced when the pizza slid right out of the pan. No floppiness because that Sally’s Baking homemade pizza dough recipe is truly a dream.
My friend Shan encouraged me to sprinkle crushed red pepper all over the pizza and the marble board like cute little confetti, and then we cut in and enjoyed it with lots of prosecco! I was so thrilled with how this turned out, and I can’t wait to make more pizza in the future. I especially appreciated all the kind comments, like the one below!
If you have suggestions for what I should try in the next edition of Sunday Scones, let me know in the comments! I’d love some new ideas.
Hope you all have a wonderful week, and be sure to check out some of my newest recipes!