Sunday, January 20, 2013

Los Angeles Pizzanistas: Margherita

No, we did not reassemble the already sliced pizza to take a pic. That'd be crazy.
Before I sing the praises of the latest oven baked Italian odyssey, I want to say that I generally don't like Margherita pizza. Sure it's great to snack on at a Happy Hour, but, in general, it just seems so plain and looks so uninteresting. Plus, I had just ingested the world's most superb realization of cheese and meat and bread coming together to fight for the good of mankind (see: Bacon Jam pizza). My mind was about to be changed.

Pizza Sauce
Courtney's original recipe
Servings: Many pizzas worth
Time: 20 minutes

1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 small can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Pinch to 1 tsp salt (depending on if tomatoes have salt)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 small onion, diced
1/2 small carrot or 1-2 baby carrots, grated

Carrots in the sauce. Craziness. 
  1. Cook the onions in olive oil until they start to soften, then add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  2. Mix in the tomato sauce, paste and spices. Stir to incorporate everything, and cook for 15 minutes to let all the flavors marry.
Since there isn't a whole lot going on in a Margherita pizza, it's base components better be spectacular. This carefully crafted sauce truly brought the winning flavor to our pizza to save it from a drab fate. This masterful sauce isn't just relegated to pizzas, it would also make a welcome addition to any pasta (just thin it with a little water or stock first).

Margherita Pizza

Infused... with awesome!
Pizza sauce (recipe above)
Pizza crust (recipe found here)
Fresh basil
Garlic and basil infused olive oil

Delicious bubbly cheese. Also, the name of my new Indie rock band.
  1. Preheat your oven to 500 F.
  2. Heat olive oil and garlic over low heat in a pot for as long as you want (but at least 10 minutes) to infuse the olive oil. Let it come back to room temperature before using.
  3. Top your rolled out dough with the ingredients and bake on a pizza stone or oiled cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
Mmm, basily
Fresh basil and giant chunks of mozzarella combined with the fantastic crust and sauce helped make our Margherita pizza one to remember. The true MVP ingredient, however, was the basil and garlic infused olive oil which really made our pizza pop. In the end, I shockingly somehow managed to eat almost equal amounts of both pizzas. Well played, Margherita pizza. Well played.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to order some pizza after writing about it all day and hope that my mind lets me pretend it's the same thing.

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