Pizza Week! Making the basics–Dough and Sauce.

by Sarah on February 28, 2011

No, I’m not cheating on my self-imposed good food exile. These pizzas I’m sharing with you were made weeks ago.  In fact, I’m laid up in bed with some horrible sickness which I fear was transmitted via my GIRL SCOUT COOKIE delivery! My BFF has also curiously contracted this illness at the same time as me. Hmm.

The moral of this story? Maybe I should stay away from Girl Scout Cookies.  No!  Cookies are ok in moderation–especially Girl Scout cookies.  I think the moral is that I should get a flu shot next season.

Anyway, I spent the day of the “big game” making pizza for all the football fans that gathered at our place. Me? I really can’t stand football, and I hate football parties. The upside to this whole thing was that I stayed in the kitchen, got to experiment and then the game was over. Win/Win.

Today, we’re starting from the ground up, so to speak.  Dough and sauce.  Guido usually makes the dough.  We used to buy dough at Trader Joe’s, which can be fine too–but the homemade stuff is better.  This dough is made from commercial yeast.  I realize that most great doughs are from a sourdough starter, but we haven’t gotten that far in our game yet.  This is an excellent “beginner’s dough”.

First you have to bloom the yeast, as with any bread or dough recipe.  Add the yeast to warm water and a pinch of sugar.  Let stand until it gets a little bubbly or foamy around the edges.

Put all of the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl of your food processor and pour in the yeast and water mixture.  Pulse until a ball forms.

Add in some olive oil.  We like Bariani.  Local and it’s good stuff.

With your hands, form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl.   Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise.

After it rises, put it in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 2 days.

THE NEXT DAY:  Here we are and we are ready to make some pizza!

I wasn’t going to make huge pizzas, just a bunch of small ones.  So just cut off whatever amount you want and place in on your liberally floured board.    Poke it and prod it….

Stretch it…..

Or really, you can use a rolling pin if you want to.

Place each “skin” on wax paper, and repeat until all the dough is used.  Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Next up, Sauce!

This fresh sauce is the best for pizza and it’s just the simplest thing ever.  In summer, substitute fresh tomatoes for the canned.

Just put all the ingredients into a mini-processor and buzz.   Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.  That’s it.

Now you are ready to make any and all varieties of pies.

Basic Pizza Dough


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil


  • Bloom yeast with warm water and sugar.
  • Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pour in the water and yeast mixture. Pulse the food processor until the mixture forms a ball. Pour on olive oil and pulse once or twice more.
  • Take out dough and form it into a ball with your hands. Place in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot to rise.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days.

Basic Pizza Sauce


  • 1 16-oz can tomatoes (whole or diced), drained
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp good-quality extra-virgin olive oil (such as Bariani)
  • salt, pepper


  • In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

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