When I got home from work today, I immediately started on the dough, since its the most time consuming part of the recipe. To start, you combine yeast, flour, and some hot water and then leave it alone for about half an hour while the yeast does its magic. After that time is up, add more flour and salt water and it starts to resemble a very wet, sticky dough. Kneading it for another ten minutes with more flour does the trick, and it becomes elastic-y without sticking to your fingers. It's very very messy until you get to that point -- I was about elbow deep in gooey dough for a while there, and was pretty worried it wasn't going to come together. After it's at a dough-like stage, it just sits and rises for about an hour, and then you can form your pizza crusts.
During the time that the dough took to rise I worked on the tomato sauce, which is just tomatoes, garlic, and some olive oil. I think my main problem with the recipe is that I don't own a food mill, and I don't even really know what one is. After the ingredients have boiled together on the stove for a while, it's all supposed to go through a food mill to separate out the seeds and skins. The recipe warns against putting the sauce in a food processor because the seeds are very bitter and would ruin the sauce. I dumped the whole mess into a colander hoping to strain out the stuff that shouldn't go in the sauce but the remainder was way too thin to hold together on top of the pizza, and even after trying to thicken it on the stove top I knew it wasn't going to work quite right. I added some tomato paste that I had in my pantry and it became the consistency that I needed, but that definitely wasn't called for in the recipe. If you have a food mill, though, you might not have this problem at all.
Once the dough and sauce were ready I began assembling two separate pizzas. Mediterranean pizzas generally don't call for cheese -- they're primarily sauce, olive oil, garlic, oregano and whatever toppings (generally vegetables) you want to put on them. I had some leftover olives that I sliced, and, since we love cheese, put feta on one pizza and parmigiana on the other.
The pizzas only need to be baked for 5 or 6 minutes, and when they came out they smelled and looked delicious. My husband and I both decided this was one of our favorite recipes so far -- the dough is wonderful, and we're looking forward to making them again with some other more creative toppings. The feta pizza was our favorite -- it added a really nice salty kick, and was great with the olives.
Next time I make this I'll probably do the dough a day in advance so that we can eat a little earlier. Has anyone had any luck freezing pizza dough? It'd be nice to make a bunch at once and save it for when it's needed. The recipe also makes much more sauce than is needed, which is currently in my freezer waiting for our next pizza night.
tomatoes -- $13.54
Total Cost of Pizza alla Marinara: $13.54