The other day while we were at the preschool, one of the boys had a slice pizza for lunch. My daughter hadn’t seen pizza before (yes, gasp), and she was slightly interested. You see, pizza contains the dreaded tomato, and the food tyrant had refused to touch, smell, or eat anything containing any of the red stuff. So, I was totally surprised to hear, “pizza” from the back seat the entire ride home. I figured I could make pizza, but in an easier-to-eat-less-mess version perfect for the little ones, which cleverly hides that tomato by making…
These are totally easy to make, and for those of you not interested in putting together stuff from scratch, you can use frozen pizza dough and your favorite pasta sauce. I decided to take things a bit further by making our own pizza dough and fresh tomato paste with a couple of tomatoes that were just begging to be eaten.
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water – about 100 degrees Fahrenheit
1/4-cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
2+ cups flour
3 fresh tomatoes
1/4-cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
Red pepper to taste
Fresh spinach, basil, oregano
Mozzarella or provolone cheese
How to make ‘em
Start by making the pizza dough. Put the yeast, sugar and oil in a mixing bowl and gently pour in your nice, warm water. You don’t even need to stir, just walk away for a minute or two and then return. You’ll find a mixture that’s a bit fluffy and bubbly, which is the result of thatyeast getting all happy with that sugar. Sprinkle in your salt and then slowly start adding the flour.
Once the mixture starts pulling together in the bowl, dump it out onto a floured work surface and give the dough a couple of good kneads. That means roll it forward and back a couple of times, and then squish it up and do it again. Keep adding flour until it doesn’t stick to your hands and feels just like a baby’s tushy.
Place your dough back in the bowl and cover with a fresh towel. Let it rest for about 30 minutes – the amount of time it takes to make homemade sauce!
Chop up your tomatoes and add them to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the garlic, vinegar, salt, sugar, and oil, too. Hold off on adding any other seasoning until later.
Let the concoction come to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. If things start drying out, add a small amount of water. Stir every couple of minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of your pan.
Gently pour your sauce into your blender and give a whir until everything is nice and smooth. Now you can pour it back into the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes more. Go ahead and season as you like, with red pepper flakes, additional salt, sugar or a sprinkle of pepper. Hey, if you love other stuff in your sauce, like rosemary, go ahead an add it, too!
While the sauce simmers away, you can re-visit your pizza dough. It should have doubled in size and look nice and happy. Go ahead and set your oven for 450 degrees Fahrenheit and get out a nice baking tray. Lightly grease the tray with olive oil and set it nearby.
Pinch off a golf-ball size of dough and place it on your lightly floured work surface. Roll, roll, roll the dough until it is as thin as you can get it and shaped in a rectangular form about four by six inches.
Now you can turn off your simmering sauce and use a small spoon to put some on half of the rectangle, spreading it about without getting too close to your edges.
Add your favorite fillings such as fresh spinach leaves, a sprinkle of fresh chopped basil or oregano, sliced mushrooms, pepperoni, red pepper, olives……. Whatever you like! We stuck with the basics and sprinkled some fresh herbs. Don’t forget the cheese! I happened to have some sliced provolone on hand so added some small slices.
Then, gently folded the dough over on top of itself. Use a fork to carefully press the edges and add a couple of holes to the top of your pizza poptarts.
Brush the finished creation with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Carefully place on the baking tray, and repeat! Leave an inch or two between your pizza poptarts on your baking tray so they don’t get all caught up with each other.
Place your filled tray in the oven until the tops are golden brown, which will happen in about 12-15 minutes. Enjoy hot or eat them on another day fresh from the toaster!
And, these pizza poptarts totally passed the food tyrant test!