Pizza Palooza!

5 Sep

I grew up in Chicago.  That’s right…we are famous for our food, but mostly our pizza!  And it is spectacular for sure.  When I moved out of Chicago and started raising my family in the southeast, I missed my hometown pizza.  I missed the famous deep dish style, but also Chicago’s not-so-famous-but-every-bit-as-delicious thin crust pizza.  So I started creating my own.

I have made my own crust.  And I have done a lot of experimenting for that “just right” flavor and consistency.  I tried flour, cornmeal, crackers crumbs…you name it and I have tried it.  And my crust is pretty darn good. But it is a whole lot of work!  So truth be told, as a busy mother of 3, I usually buy the pizza crust dough at my local market.  Now onto the sauce.

I always make my sauce from scratch.  And usually a fairly large batch because if freezes so well.  My recipe can be easily adjusted-doubled or tripled.  So here it is:

3 T. Olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (adjust to taste, but add at least one)

2-3 T. sweet onion

1 small can tomato paste

1 large can tomato sauce

2 large cans roma or italian style tomatoes

2 T. parsley

2 T. basil

2 T. oregano, plus more to sprinkle on  top of the pizza

1 t. red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Put olive oil in a large pan or stock pot.  Heat for 1-2 minutes over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the can of tomato paste.  Gently whisk for 2-3 minutes.  Add all other ingredients.  Let this come to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.  Use a stick blender to blend to a smooth consistency.  Let simmer for 10 more minutes and take off heat.

Now onto the toppings.  Be creative!  Use wild abandon when choosing toppings.  Of course if you want a sausage pizza for the kids that’s fine.  But expand your palate for the adult version!  I have made everything from cheese pizza to a meat loaded one to a “gourmet” version.  My signature pizza, if you will, is made with sautéed onions, blue cheese and dried cherries.   Go crazy here! Have fun!  Use your imagination!

I have done a “taco pizza” using salsa for the sauce, taco meat for the topping, and cheddar cheese.  I have done traditional pizzas.  I have made them with mushrooms, roasted peppers, and goat cheese.  I have gone over the line and created some extravaganzas.  I always have fun, and I always end up with something delicious.

So here is my true secret to great pizza.  I have a gas oven in my kitchen.  It doesn’t mimic a pizza oven, so I have turned to grilling my pizza out side most of the year.  My grill is closer to a pizza oven as far as cooking goes, plus, the house doesn’t get so stinkin hot when hitting that 500 degrees for the pizza.  I do, however, make Chicago style deep dish pizza in the dead of winter.  The house becomes cozy and the smells are fabulous!  But back to grilling.

Grilling pizza is easy.  Contrary to what most people fear, pizza dough does not fall through the grates on the grill.  But the grill has got to be piping hot to begin the process.  Roll out the dough, brush olive oil lightly on the dough, and toss it on the grill oil side down.  Put the lid down. Use a spatula to take it off after 3-4 minutes when it has some good grill marks and looks done on the bottom.  Flip it over so that the cooked side is up and the uncooked side is down.

Now brush a bit of olive oil on the crust.  Then load up your sauce and toppings.  Toss it back on the grill, uncooked side down, and put the lid down.  It only takes a couple of more minutes for the pizza to complete the cooking process.  Keep your eye on it, and pull it off when the bottom is grilled and the toppings are hot and bubbly.

Here are the steps.  A picture tutorial.

1.

Open and decant some bold red wine! Pour yourself a glass!

2.

get your grill up to pizza oven temp…500 degrees!

3.

skewer and grill your toppings! Onions, mushrooms, bell pepper…get creative!

4.

Roll out your pizza dough! Use your muscles to make it as thin as you like!

5.

Toss the dough on the grill and get good grill marks. Pull it off, flip cooked side up, and load up your sauce and toppings!

6.

Toss that pizza back onto the grill to finish cooking. Pull them off and get ready for delicious grilled pizza perfection!

There you have it!  Let me know how your pizza turns out.  Share your successes with me.  Bon Appetite!

 

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One Response to “Pizza Palooza!”

  1. Shirley Klingele September 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Another great recipe and another great idea from the kitchen of ms. amy !! Looks like a really tempting pizza, dad and I will have to give this a try, but i like my pizza in the oven, so we will just turn up the dial on the air conditioner…. 🙂 love you, mommy 😉

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