Sunday, December 27, 2009

homemade pizza

Back in the old days, we did not have pizza parlors, but what we did have was Appian Way pizza mix.  My mom decided to make pizza basically from scratch and we indulged every Friday night.  When I was a wee one I loved watching how she took the spoon and spread the pizza sauce on the dough then sprinkled the cheese and sausage.  Dad liked it loaded so he had mushrooms and peppers but we kids did not, so she made a basic one for us.  Once in the 4th grade we had to give a presentation to our class describing how to make something, so I brought this recipe and my classmates were drooling just thinking of the ingredients.  We continued the Friday night pizza tradition with our boys and once a month I make the homemade version.  It offers a nice variety from our routine places.  We are huge pizza afficionados and like to try new places.  Dues is our numero uno.  When we were dating and first married we went there every Friday night and sometimes during lunch for over 15 years.  Giordano's has the best stuffed and Rosati's, Nancy's and Home Run Inn (with bacon) are the other joints we order from. Usually we get the one that has a coupon, unless we have a taste for one or the other.  Today we will have the scratch version.  I really don't make the dough from scratch since Betty Crocker and Appian Way do it for me, but the rest is my own. 

2 packages Betty Crocker or Appian Way pizza crust mix
1 15 oz. can Pastorelli pizza sauce
1 lb. mozzarella cheese
1 lb. colby cheese
Italian spices
Parmesan cheese
2 links hot Italian sausage
Pepperoni sandwich lunchmeat (or salami)
Variety of peppers (red, green, yellow, orange)
1 12 oz. package of fresh mushrooms
1 large onion

Follow directions on pizza mix, using hot water to prepare dough, but before you add water, season with Italian spices and a dash of salt and pepper, then your dough is flavored.  After the dough is ready, roll it in a dab of oil covering the whole slab of dough and place a towel over the bowl and set aside for at least one hour so it can rise.  Meantime, de-skin the sausage (kind of weird) and saute in little pieces until brown. You really don't have to remove the skin, but that's what I do. You can add chopped garlic, your chopped peppers and onions so they are softened, or not.  Set aside for later.  I buy the mozzarella in chunks and then process the cheese but you can buy shredded cheese already made.  This is the time to shred it, then set aside.  Now that all your ingredients are waiting to join each other, take a pizza pan and spread oil top to bottom so that even the edges are nice and greased.  Take your dough and place in the center and carefully spread edge to edge.  If little holes peak through, just squeeze the dough together until it is all one nice sheet of dough ready for the spread.  Pour the pizza sauce onto dough and spread evenly with a spoon. Here is where I reminisce and lick the spoon after it is all spread.  Begin layering your favorite ingredients, meats first, then onions, mushrooms, garlic and finally the cheeses.  I like to top it off with a little oregano and parmesan cheese just for kicks.  Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or so at 425.  Remove and let cool and slice in squares or triangles, depending which pan you use.  Begin a tradition for yourself and think of me fondly.  Enjoy. xo