Since I’m in Italy at the moment eating my heart out, I thought sharing a little bonus recipe for the week would be fun. Because when you’re in a place like this you’re minded of food’s importance. How much thoughtful time and energy can and should be put into it. How food is intended to be shared, to have a story and to bring people to get together. In Italy every meal is a mini special event and people are happier, less stressed and more connected because of it.
Even before my visit to Italy, I knew I wanted to create some of that in our own house. It’s so easy to obsess about the quick 30-minute meal or finding something you can eat on the go, but I really want our kiddo to grow up loving both home cooked meals and the time spent preparing them. So I decided to invest in creating my own version of the ultimate comfort food recipe – homemade (healthy!) pizza.
We recently started making fresh, homemade pizza for a weekly Sunday dinner as a family. We do everything entirely from scratch – dough, sauce, toppings – all of it. It’s such a fun process to share with our kiddo, it’s a wonderful way to spend time together and the results are delicious. When you know every ingredient that goes into your dish you feel so much better about what you’re eating!
And it’s easy to take pizza away from the greasy mess you get from takeout and turn it into satisfying comfort food that you actually feel good about eating. The secret is simply using fresh ingredients. That includes three things. The first is making your own dough (I promise it’s not hard – it just needs a little time). Second, grab whatever is fresh at the farmer’s market for your toppings (the cherry tomatoes and basil are amazing right now) and third, add grilled chicken to make the dish a complete meal. Foster Farms Simply Raised chicken is completely antibiotic free, all natural, American Humane Certified and fed a 100% vegetarian diet, without any added hormones or steroids. It’s certainly something I can feel good about feeding my family. For your pizza, you can quickly grill the chicken breasts while your pie bakes. Adding the chicken gives you the protein you need to feel nice and full…and maybe say no to that third slice. Maybe.
You do have to set aside time to go through the steps of preparing your dough ahead of time, making fresh tomato sauce, prepping and grilling your chicken and then combing everything together but it is all so worth the effort. I feel so satisfied when we all sit down and enjoy a slice piping hot from the oven and I feel good knowing exactly what my child – and really my entire family is eating. And enjoying the time together, that is the most comforting thing of all.
So if you’d like to try your hand at upping your pizza game keep scrolling. I’ve included the recipes for fresh pizza dough, sauce and the grilled chicken. If pizza isn’t your thing, definitely check out Foster Farm’s selection of recipes. They’re all great spins on classics, creating New Comfort Food. They all look ah-mazing.
RECIPE: HOMEMADE PIZZA WITH ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES & GRILLED CHICKEN
400 grams (14 ounces, about 2 1/2 cups) bread flour
10 grams (.35 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
4 grams (.15 ounces, about 1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast
275 grams (9.5 ounces, about 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) water
8 grams (.25 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat pans and drizzle
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce, (recipe below)
12 ounces grated full-fat, dry mozzarella cheese
Small handful torn fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 mini balls of fresh mozzarella (optional)
1.Combine flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a large bowl. Mix with hands or a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains. The bowl should be at least 4 to 6 times to volume of the dough to account for rising.
2. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, making sure that edges are well-sealed, then let rest on the countertop for at least 8 hours and up to 24. Dough should rise dramatically and fill bowl.
3. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, then transfer it to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough into two pieces and form each into a ball by holding it with well-floured hands and tucking the dough underneath itself, rotating it until it forms a tight ball.
4. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of two 10-inch cast iron skillet or round cake pans. Place 1 ball of dough in each pan and turn to coat evenly with oil. Using a flat palm, press the dough around the pan, flattening it slightly and spreading oil around the entire bottom and edges of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature for two hours. If it doesn’t rise sufficiently put it in a proofing drawer if you have one for at least 1 hour.After the first hour, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 550°F.
5. After two hours, dough should be mostly filling in the pan up to the edges. Use your fingertips to press it around until it fills in every corner, popping any large bubbles that appear. Lift up one edge of the dough to let any air bubbles underneath escape and repeat, moving around the dough until there are no air bubbles left underneath and the dough is evenly spread around the pan.
6. Top each round of dough with 3/4 cup sauce, spreading the sauce with the back of a spoon into every corner. Spread evenly with mozzarella cheese, letting the cheese go all the way to the edges. Season with salt. Add other toppings as desired. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter a few basil leaves over the top (
7. Transfer pan to oven and bake until top is golden brown and bubbly and bottom is golden brown and crisp when you lift it with a thin spatula, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pizzas and transfer to to a cutting board. Cut each one into six slices and serve immediately.
For the Sauce
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium cloves garlic, grated on microplane grater (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
2 (6-inch) sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Process tomatoes and their juice through food mill, pulse in food processor until pureed, or puree with hand blender. Puree should not be completely smooth, but should have no chunks larger than 1/16 of an inch. Set tomatoes aside.
2. Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and large pinch salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, onion halves, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting (bubbles should barely be breaking the surface), and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/2, about 1 hour. Discard onions and basil stems. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and store in covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For the Grilled Chicken
Take two Foster Farms chicken breasts and cover lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle on your favorite grilling seasoning or simply a heavy dose of salt and pepper. Turn your grill to medium high. Grill on each side for 7 minutes each. Let grilled chicken rest for five minutes before cutting and putting on top of your pizza.
photography by erin hiemstra – recipes adapted from serious eats
This post is in partnership with Foster Farms Simply Raised Chicken. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that keep Apartment 34’s doors open.