We had a “make your own pizza” party last night, with Bella Star and Knee Deep in attendance. I proposed to make the dough and the sauce, but everyone else was required to bring their toppings of choice. As a cook, there is no greater compliment than the request for recipes, and Molly and Nicole were kind enough to massage my ego by asking for the secrets to the sauce and the dough. So here you go.
1 Tablespoon dry yeast (I buy in bulk and keep it in the fridge; seems to last forever)
1¼ cup warm water
Pinch of sugar (any type of sweetener will do but I use white sugar. If you’d prefer, honey or brown sugar works too)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ teaspoons salt
3 or more cups flour (I add 1 teaspoon of gluten per cup of flour, so with this recipe, add 1 Tablespoon)
Dissolve yeast and sugar in bowl of water. When it bubbles to the surface, add olive oil, pepper, and salt. (At this stage, if you want to add additional herbs like Italian seasoning, do it now). Stir to combine. Measure out 2 cups of flour in a large bowl and add gluten. Pour bowl of yeast mixture into the flour. Continue adding flour by the half cup, increasing amount if necessary to make a stiff dough. In a humid environment like living on a boat, I will usually use 3½ cups. Only add more flour until, when you are kneading, the dough does not stick to your countertop. Knead well, at least 7-10 minutes, in order to develop the gluten (you can consider this to be your exercise for the day). Pour a small amount of oil into the same bowl, add the dough, swirling to coat all surfaces with oil, and set aside, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in size. Depending on how hot it is, it may take ½ hour, or 1 hour. If it’s coolish, I’ve even put the bowl in the engine room where it’s warm. When it’s ready, put a bit of flour on the counter and knead, just to take the “stick” off it. Shape into any size pan, to whatever thickness you want. Bake around 350 degrees, but experiment to what your oven time and temp is.
Not really rocket science. Choose your favorite spaghetti sauce, adjust the seasonings to how you like it to taste, but the main thing here is to reduce the water content, so it comes out more like tomato paste, rather than like sauce. Most spaghetti sauces are too sweet to my taste, so I usually add some salt and a bit more Italian herbs. Reduce on low heat until it’s pretty pasty.