Monday, January 29, 2007

A Perfect Pizza Party and Pizza Sauce? Forget the Jar!

Yesterday afternoon, the Time to Cook kitchen was all aflutter. Crusts were mixing and rising. Food processors were chopping. Pots were bubbling on the stove. All of the Time to Cook family was at work in some way preparing for a pizza extravaganza; in just a few hours, we would be welcoming nineteen children and six adults to make pizzas from scratch. Fifteen-year-old Z was my right-hand-man, crumbling the feta, slicing the garlic, making his first-ever batches of pizza dough and mixing up this no-cook sauce in no-time.

The recipe Z threw together is not only delicious, but it's quick! Taking time to cook doesn't always mean cooking, and it doesn't always mean hours of labor. Sometimes it just means doing more than twisting off the top of a jar of store-bought pizza sauce.

This sauce meets the criterion. It doesn't need cooking, only takes a few minutes to assemble and--BONUS--it goes quite well with this crust.

If you don't make your own paste or have your own home-canned tomatoes, you can substitute by using store-bought.

This recipe comes from Diane Morgan's book Pizza. I very highly recommend it if you're a pizza lover, like I am.


New York-Style Pizza Sauce

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice OR whole tomatoes put through the food processor briefly
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
One clove of minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon table salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.

Mix all of this together, then adjust seasonings to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator up to five days or in the freezer up to two months.


This was one of three sauces we made for the evening, including this slow-simmered sauce, and this other heavy, no-cook sauce, in addition to an alfredo for white pizza.

About an hour before the guest were to arrive, we turned on both ovens and I assembled a Deep Dish Onion and Spinach Pizza Pie so there would be something to munch on while the guests' crunchy creations were cooking. I pulled out the pizza screens I'd ordered from A Best Kitchen Supplies (great prices! quick shipping!) and we began laying out the toppings.

What a variety! We had:

Chopped spinach
Sun-dried tomatoes
Feta cheese
Sliced garlic
Banana peppers
Sliced roma tomatoes
Chunk roma tomatoes
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Sliced red onions
Sliced mushrooms
Olive oil
Crushed Red Pepper

Kids and adults alike had fun taking turns around the big butcher-block island and arranging toppings, coming up with some wonderful creations. Some were tried and true. Some tested the boundaries. A square personal pizza? Why not? Nothing but tomatoes, garlic and olive oil along with a sprinkling of basil and oregano? What the heck? Never eaten Feta on a pizza before? Give it a shot!

The Onion and Spinach Deep Dish was a big hit, even among the young ones and those who claimed an aversion to garlic. I think my personal favorite pizza combination was the alfredo sauce with sliced garlic, feta cheese, chopped spinach, parmigiano reggiano, then drizzled with olive oil. And not just because I made it myself.

Clean-up was a snap, since the mamas of the families dove in to do and dry dishes.

And there were leftovers. I froze the extra dough and sauce. And the leftover pizza?

Breakfast, of course!

No comments: