Friday, June 1, 2012

Pizza Dough and Tomato Sauce

These recipes were submitted by Erin Smith. Thanks a big bunch Erin!

1.  Combine 1 c of water (110 F), 1 package of dry active yeast (2 ¼ tsp), and 1 ½ tsp of honey.  Allow yeast to proof. (Notes – a Pyrex measuring cup works well for this.  Tap water in the microwave for 30 seconds should give you the right temperature, but double check with a kitchen thermometer.  Use a fork to stir everything together.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes.  When the yeast is foamy, you’re ready).

2.  In a food processor, combine 2 ½ -3 c bread flour (or you can use regular), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp olive oil, and the yeast mixture.  (Notes – start with 2 ½ cups of flour and slowly add more based on consistency, mix for about a minute.  Based on how sticky the dough is as it forms a ball, add a little more flour or olive oil).

3.  Remove the dough from the food processor.  With a little more flour, knead for 5-10 minutes.  Form the dough into a ball.  Spray a bowl with cooking spray (or use olive oil).  Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and set in a warm spot in your kitchen.

4.  Allow the dough to rise for 45-60 minutes.  After it has risen, punch it down.  Wait another 15 minutes.  Now you’re ready to make your pizza.  (Notes – make sure you make your pizza on your pizza stone.  It’s hard to move once you’ve got the toppings on.  Or, when you make pizza as often as we do, break down and get a pizza peel – you know, the giant wooden spatula you can use to put pizza in the oven.  Put some corn meal down first.  That will keep your dough from sticking to the stone).

5.  Bake at 450 for about 12 minutes.  Keep a close eye on it.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

The Best Tomato Sauce Ever
Prep your veggies: Peel 2 small onions, trim 1 small leek (thoroughly washed of sand) and 2 stalks celery, halve and deseed 2 red bell peppers, then roughly chop everything. Use the coarse side of a box grater to grate 2 zucchinis and 2 carrots.

Heat a large saucepan (big enough to hold all the ingredients) over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, followed by some minced garlic and all your chopped and grated veggies. Add a large pinch of dried oregano and 2 bay leaves, then cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes with the lid on, or until the vegetables are soft but not starting to brown.

Meanwhile, peel 1 small butternut squash, then carefully cut it in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, and coarsely grate the flesh. Add it to the pan of vegetables. Add 4 (14.5 oz) cans plum tomatoes with juice, 2 cups water, a pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Take the pan off the heat, spoon out the bay leaves, and let the sauce cool slightly before blitzing with a stick blender until smooth (or use a blender or food processor in batches, but make sure the lid is secure). Makes 13 cups. 

For pizza sauce – remove about 2 cups of sauce and add tomato paste to thicken to desired consistency

Fast Freezer Tip: I make this sauce once a month, then divide the leftovers between large freezer bags. Press as much air out of the bags as possible before sealing them, then lay flat in the freezer. This way, you can just pull out what you'll need and the bag will thaw evenly and quickly. This tip also applies to other sauces, soups, and stews.

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