quest for the perfect pizza

One of the hardest things to give up on my raw diet was pizza.  I was raised on Pizza Hut pan pizzas, but now I swoon over creative, thin-crusted wonders.  (My apologies to the Pizza Hut delivery boy who reads my blog.)

The best way to eat pizza is with the love of your life at a patio table, where you can gaze into each other’s eyes over a glass of red wine.  You start off with a light Italian-style salad, savor your wine, and by the time the pizza comes, your eyes are so glazed over that you’re not sure if it’s your husband’s charming company or the magic of the pizza that’s making you feel hopelessly smitten.

But these days, good babysitters are in short supply and budgets are tight.  So we have try to have beautiful meals at home.  And oh, how I wish I could make the perfect pizza myself.  I realize I could buy a crust, but crusts are overpriced, full of preservatives, and never perfectly thin.  So I’m now on a quest to make the perfect pizza.  I realize it’ll never measure up to a genuine pizza from Italy (which I longed to eat while reading Eat, Pray, Love).  But if I’ve never tasted a genuine Italian pizza, it can’t taunt me.

So far, I’ve found a basic thin crust recipe at Robbie Rice’s recipe site.  It is nowhere near amazing, but it is the only thin crust I’ve ever made, and it sure beats thick, much-too-hearty bread machine pizza dough.  Tonight was attempt number two with the recipe, and considering I avoided getting sticky dough all over my hands, I will call it a success.  The pizza lay beautifully over my big round pan.  But I also learned that next time I need to prebake the crust just a couple minutes before adding toppings.  And I learned that I should not add even a little bit of breakfast-flavored sausage from my parents’ farm — even if it is more sustainable than most pork — because it is not conducive to pizza wonder.

After I started my crust, I realized I had no pizza sauce.  I panicked until I found a lone can of tomato sauce in the back of my pantry, and I admitted to myself that frugal times do not warrant emergency trips to the grocery store.  I conconted my own sauce by adding fresh, organic, local tomatoes grown by Eugene Holmes (their sustainability must have made all the difference) and throwing in some seasonings.  Voila!  It was quite good, much to my surprise.

Fresh basil from my patio, spinach leaves, green pepper, red onion, newly grated mozzarella cheese — now these may be conducive to pizza perfection.

The pizza was… pretty good.  Not perfect or even wonderful.  But I’m getting there.

When I think of the huge learning curve that comes with making things from scratch, I can get too overwhelmed to experiment.  Canning my own produce and preserves?  Baking my own bread?  You know how much time those tasks consume?  And the first few batches are not always like you imagined they would be.  But now that I’ve started making my own pizza crust, I’m realizing that I can enjoy the slow steps to perfection.  As for the time, I think I enjoy it much more if I take things slowly.  I can hand Isaiah a spoon and his own bowl, and we’ll learn together.  In the end, it may be much more fulfilling than throwing toppings on a premade crust and rushing out the door to prepaid baby gym.

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  1. Quote: “(My apologies to the Pizza Hut delivery boy who reads my blog.)”

    Carrie, no need to apologize. Your kool! Though I do like being called a boy. Reading it made my morning.

    It’s just a job for me. It pays the bills. Though I do think I need a different job, something that allows more ‘freedom of expression’.

  2. Mmm fresh basil! That makes almost any Italian food taste amazing! I can’t wait to plant some herbs in our back yard. There is nothing like fresh.

  3. I don’t know how things might change with a kid, but making homemade pizza together is one of our favorite things and I find it creates quite a romantic evening with my husband!! We’ve experimented with 3 different pizza crust recipes and different combinations of white & wheat flour, but with all of them we’ve learned 2 things: let the dough rise a second time in the pan for a fuller crust (sounds like you prefer the opposite, though) and bake it before adding the toppings. I’m impressed with your homemade pizza sauce-we haven’t done that one yet, though Dan is on a quest (and doing quite well!) to create a recipe for his favorite breadsticks!

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