I drew inspiration for this pizza from the well of memories I have of the summer I spent in Tuscany, chatting with the local farmers and artisan bakers. Oh, how I miss the sun dappled hazelnut trees that surrounded our villa!…
Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.
I saw a sprig of rosemary on my kitchen counter today, left over from last night’s meal, and my thoughts led me to pizza. I wanted to make a pizza with some fresh ingredients. So, here we go…
Ingredients for the sauce:
3 medium sized tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp white vinegar
Add chopped tomatoes to a sauce pan and simmer at low heat. Add all of the other ingredients and stir.
Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, at first and then increasing the frequency, as the sauce cooks down.
Ingredients for the spices:
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs dried onion flakes
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp red chili flakes
½ tsp dried oregano leaves
¼ cup olive oil
Add all ingredients, except olive oil, to a mortar and pestle. Pound and grind the ingredients until everything forms a thick paste.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the olive oil in a microwave oven for about 30 seconds. Remove the olive oil and the mashed seasonings. Allow the mixture to sit for an hour before using.
Prepare the pizza dough. I use a simple recipe which only takes about one hour to rise. It’s warm enough now that I can cover the dough and let it rise in the cab of my pickup truck.
Roll out the dough and form the pies. I prebake my crust is a conventional oven, since I don’t have a Tuscan wood-burning brick oven.
Combine the spices with the sauce.
Spread the sauce on the pizza crust.
Add sliced onions and mushrooms.
Top with grated Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 400° for 10 minutes.
Top with arugula, or “scratchy endive”, as my dad likes to call it. Serve on the balcony, overlooking the lush rolling hills.