Our home is a pizza house. We both love pizza, our dogs get all weird when we have a hot pizza in the house, as well. They beg for our crusts, we might condone this. When we pick up a pie, it normally costs us around $20. We're not extravagant, we don't eat specialty pizzas (most of the time) we're pretty happy with a cheese pizza. If we really want to put something on it, we'll add it at home. Since pizza is so expensive at the pizzarias we like to order from, we try to make it at home as much as possible.
We finally ran out of our two cases of Don Pepino pizza sauce (sad face). I decided it was time for me to make my own. I've made pasta sauce before, so I figured pizza sauce had to be even easier. It is.
I sauteed some garlic in some olive oil. I just swirled the olive oil around the pan a couple of times and heated it up, I did not measure. I used my garlic press to add the garlic to the oil. It is definitely one of my favorite non-electric kitchen tools. I'll be talking about the rest of my favorite tools in a blog post later this month.
One can of chopped tomatoes, one can of crushed tomatoes, some salt and pepper and a packet of herbs later, we have a glorious, cooked down pizza sauce.
I sometimes make my own pizza dough, but we had some Trader Joe's pizza dough in the fridge. I pulled that out and let it warm up to room temperature. By the way, Trader Joe's refrigerated pizza dough is only $.99. Score! Their whole wheat pizza dough rolls out much easier than their white dough which likes to shrink back into a tiny circle. I just used my fingers to spread this out.
Next, I warmed up the grill. Warning. When the temperature reading gets to 450 and you have all four of your grill knobs on high, you will need to regulate a little bit. If you don't, that little red needle will go all the way to the right, to oh...700. Yikes! This might compel you to turn two knobs off and the others to low, which will then leave you with a grill at 350. Or that might just be me. Don't do that. Get your grill to 450 before you go back inside to get your pizza stuffs ready.
This next step is key: grease the grill. Put some olive oil in a bowl. If you have a BBQ sauce mop (I'm jealous) you can use that. Otherwise, grab your grill tongs and some paper towels. Take them out to the grill with the paper towels. Wad the paper towels into a ball and grab them with the tongs. Dip the paper towels into the olive oil and swab the grill. This will make sure the pizza dough does not stick to the grill grates. Probably a good idea to clean the grill before you oil it, as well.
Let the dough cook with the grill top down for 2-3 minutes at 450. Make sure you have all of the ingredients you need outside with you when you flip the dough. Immediately top your dough with your favorite ingredients and shut the grill hood again.
We used homemade sauce, green peppers, onions and mozzarella cheese.
Cook for 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
The crust is crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, without being underdone. The veggies are done just enough and the sauce and cheese are warm and delicious. A perfect way to spend an evening when you don't want to heat up the house with a 450 degree oven.
Homemade Pizza Sauce
Makes 32oz sauce
1 24oz can crushed tomatoes
1 24oz can diced tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons chopped basil
3 tablespoons chopped oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
- Open the tomato cans and strain the diced tomatoes, shaking the colander, until most of the liquid is discarded.
- Place a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the garlic. Saute until the garlic is brown and fragrant.
- Add the drained and crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer for one hour, the mixture will cook down.
- If you like a smoother sauce, let the sauce cool and then process through a blender until smooth.
- Store in an air tight container. This freezes well in a zip-lock freezer bag.
1 whole wheat pizza dough, at room temperature
1 cup homemade pizza sauce
1/2 green pepper, sliced and chopped in bite-sized pieces
1/5 onion, sliced and chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 handful of mozzarella
- Heat the grill to 450. We have a 4-burner grill. I found that if I kept the burners where the dough was at medium and the other burners on high, I got the temperature I wanted, without burning the dough.
- Take four paper towels and roll them into a ball. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a small bowl. With grill tongs, grab the paper towels and dip them into the olive oil. Spread the oil on the grill grates until evenly coated.
- Place the pizza dough on a floured surface and, using your fingers, press out the pizza dough until it is approximately 12" round.
- Slide the dough onto a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal. Place the dough directly onto the grill and close the grill hood. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Flip the dough and immediately add your toppings. Close the grill hood and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Immediately remove pizza from the grill with the pizza peel and enjoy!