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Pizza Rustica Insane-ica


In a world of $5 Hot ‘n Ready pizzas, why would anyone ever make a pizza from scratch at home? First of all it costs a small fortune with the San Marzano tomatoes, organic shredded mozzarella, and “sustainably raised” pepperoni. Secondly, it takes 30 minutes to cook the sauce, you have to roll the dough, and then you have to watch it incessantly in the oven to make sure it doesn’t burn yet the crust gets crispy.

Homemade pizza is for the insane.

There I said it. It really is, but sometimes it comes out perfect and puts the $5 pizza to shame. Tonight was one of those nights.

We had made what looked like a foolish decision last weekend at the local Italian market here in Dallas, Jimmy’s Food Store, when we purchased some frozen store-made pizza dough. The one great thing about pizza is how fun it is for our twin 4 year old boys to put on the toppings of their personal pizza. Kids love making pizza and it really is ideal for getting kids involved in cooking.

With easily $20 spent on ingredients we were ready to make some home-made pizzas.

Pizza Rustica
Makes 2 Pizzas

Make 1 recipe of Pizza Sauce (see below)

Pizza Dough (preferably from a local Italian Market)
1 Green Pepper
1/2 Red Onion, sliced in half-moons
Small can of sliced black olives
1 package of Applegate Farms Pepperoni
1 lb of shredded mozzarella cheese

Thaw the dough if frozen. I put it in the refrigerator the night before using and by dinner time the next day it is ready for use. It’s best to also place it on the counter a hour before using to let it come to room temperature, but this step is not necessary. It just makes the dough a little easier to work with.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Move the oven rack to the lowest position if your heating element is on the bottom of the oven. This works best to help the dough cook. If your oven has the heating element at the top, move the oven rack near the top, but you will have to gently cover the pizza with foil on top after 6-7 minutes of cooking and continue cooking 5 more minutes so as not to burn the top of the pizza.

Slice dough into 2 pieces and dust a board lightly with flour and work dough either by hand or by hand and rolling pin. What you want to do is make the dough really thin, almost where you can start seeing through it. Don’t worry about it being perfectly round or square, shape isn’t important.

Once the dough is ready move it on to parchment paper (or aluminum foil though the pizza will stick a little if using foil.) Spread some of the pizza sauce on the dough then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Add toppings to desired taste. Then move the pizza leaving it on the parchment paper to the oven rack. Place on oven rack and cook pizza for 6-7 minutes watching closely after 5 minutes to get to desired brownness on top. Gently place a piece of foil on top of the pizza when the top looks done, then cook for another 5 minutes. The final 5 minutes of cooking helps cook the pizza crust which can be doughy if taken out too soon.

Slide the parchment paper on to a cookie sheet to remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for 2 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve.

Pizza Sauce
Makes enough for 2-3 pizzas

2 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
16 ounces of tomato puree
2 Tbls grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp basil, dried
1 tsp oregano, dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf

Heat butter and olive oil in a small pot. Add the onion, celery and garlic to the pot and heat until translucent, about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Do not burn. Add tomato puree and remaining ingredients and stir and heat to a boil. Once at boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and set aside to cool for 10 minutes and use on fresh pizza dough.