When I started collecting and creating pizza recipes, I was working on a cookbook inspired by a close friend. Her brother was very ill at the time and was not eating very much due to medications and treatments for cancer. The one thing he did eat was his sister’s homemade pizza with really fresh, local and pure ingredients. She would go to nearby towns, and sometimes not so near, to source freshly made cheese, pizza crusts and other treasures. When time allowed, she made her own fabulous “from scratch” crust, which I myself have enjoyed on more than one occasion. Her brother seemed to gain strength from the love and care that went into every pie she tenderly crafted in his honor. In this way, she cared for him until the end of his journey.
My friend taught me the importance of spending quality time with loved ones. She helped me cultivate a certain passion for slow foods; like a homemade deep dish pie. Her passion and compassion inspired me to take time enjoying the simple pleasures of life with a special person or with many people for whom I cook, care and love! It is my desire for readers to take these crusts of wisdom into their homes, hearts and hearths, and to share the joy with loved ones, friends, neighbors and anyone who loves a good pie.
Basic Pizza Sauce
Makes 3 cups and can be frozen if needed or stored in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Saute in 3 Tbs. olive oil and 2-3 chopped large cloves of garlic with one large finely chopped onion until tender and soft.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and fresh or dried oregano to taste. I like a pinch or two of hot red pepper seeds for extra zest.
Then add your crushed tomatoes fresh from your garden or out of a can, but always try to use or- ganic and try to get unsalted. You want about a quart or more. Simmer for 15-30 minutes and feel free to play with the season- ings. Add a touch of sweetener of choice for a fabulous rich sauce.
Fresh basil can be added at the end by adding whole leaves and gently stirring before taking off burner.
Allow to cool a bit before adding to pizza. I like to make in advance so all ingredients can be assembled for a fast meal.
Consider adding a touch of vodka or red wine for a sassier sauce.
Follow the same recipe, then add your choice of cooked and drained meat (ground lamb, turkey, beef, chicken, BBQ, sau- sage, ham, TVP, pepperoni, etc.).
Cook for about an hour for greater flavor. You may need to add more tomatoes. I cheat and use jar sauce sometimes.
Mix in a blender any herb like basil, cilantro or parsley with olive oil, garlic, nuts or beans, and some cheese if you like, with seasonings to your desired taste. Lasts longer with a tad of lemon juice and salt and can be frozen. Great on pasta or side dishes and proteins.
Want many more pizza sauce and a bunch of dough recipes? Get the latest issue of Our USA Magazine.