Friends are always amazed when I tell them that it only takes an hour to make your own pizza dough and sauce and have it in the oven in an hour. Best part, it takes ten minutes to bake and is so delicious! Of course, it helps to have the best ingredients on hand. For tonight's pizza, a typical New York Style, I always use San Marzano tomatoes (I buy mine at Whole Foods) and fresh mozzarella cheese (a bit more expensive than a general grocery store brand, but definitely worth it).
It also helps to have a mixer on hand, to speed up the kneading process, and a couple essential "pizza making" tools. The first would be a pizza peel and the second a baking stone. Don't be alarmed at the site of my stone, it's had years of use and, believe it or not, this is what it looks like when it's clean! My parents gave me my Kitchen-Aid mixer when I first got married and it still works like a charm.
The pizza dough recipe is easy and comes out perfect every time. It takes about 8 minutes to make and within the hour it will grow from this cute little ball of dough into a wonderful smelling pizza dough ready for pizza making.
While the dough is rising, I make the sauce. A handful of ingredients are added to the San Marzano tomatoes and simmered over the stove, cooled and set aside until the dough finishes rising. Both recipes can be found in James McNair's "Pizza" cookbook, a wonderful addition to your cookbook collection.
All that's left to do is to shape your pizza (I'm actually pretty good now at tossing it in the air), place it on a corn-meal dusted pizza peel, add your sauce and any toppings, and slide it on top of your pizza stone that has been heating in the oven for the past hour. Ten minutes later, your house smells fantastic and you are eating a slice of one of the best comfort foods around ... so much tastier than anything you could have had delivered.