family pizza night!

we had one of those beautiful warm summer nights tonight where you want to stay out and watch the sun set into the ocean, and that’s just what i did-stayed out until there was very little time to prepare an elaborate meal (and still too hot to eat much)…family pizza night, then! there are few things more satisfying and easy to prepare as home made pizza-that is, as long as you have good dough and fresh ingredients available (nowadays you can find whole wheat and gluten free dough as well). when i went food shopping earlier today i picked up my favorite pizza dough from the little italian deli i love to visit. we also had sweet ripe baby tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh organic arugula, and rosemary ham-good to go! typically we make two types of pizza-one with ham or prosciutto reminiscent of  the pizza la reine’s*  i favored (and often consumed) in france as a teenager, and vegetarian pizzas that are topped with fresh arugula just as they come out of the oven. tonight we made one large rectangular pie with the different toppings on each side. it was as much fun making the pizza as it was eating it! dig in.
this is the sunset!
*(popular pizza in southern france made with ham, mushrooms, tomato sauce, olives, and mozzarella cheese)
{general} ingredients for 1 pizza:
  • pizza dough {here’s a good recipe by mario batali if you want to make your own}
  • 1/2 cup good quality tomato sauce (i use parmalat brand)
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp fresh (minced) or dry oregano, or fresh minced basil
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced *(optional-i often leave this out)*
  • sliced vegetables of choice (here i used 6-8 mushrooms, 1/2 bell pepper, a handful of baby tomatoes, and 1/2 cup arugula)
  • 2-3 slices of ham or prosciutto
  • a few olives (i didn’t have any tonight)
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan (reggiano)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated organic mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tbs ww flour or cornmeal 
1. to make the pizza sauce:
combine the tomato sauce, olive oil, sea salt (to taste), minced garlic, and oregano (or basil), and whisk together.
2.  preheat the oven to 375 degrees. lightly dust the pizza pan or stone with flour or corn meal, then roll out the dough (allow it to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes first, then use your hands to “open” the dough out in to a round or rectangular shape-here’s a good tutorial on how to do this), place the flattened dough on the pan or pizza.

 3. lightly spread the sauce over the dough with a spatula, then start layering on the toppings.

 4. sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese, then the mozzarella cheese (i use very little cheese)

 5. bake the pizza in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes- keep an eye on it-time can vary depending on the oven you use-

6. sprinkle on  chili pepper flakes-if you are using arugula, loosely spread it on after you remove the pizza from the oven. slice and serve.
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