Everybody loves pizza. Whether it's New York all the way or Chicago-style only, neapolitan crust or deep dish, pizza is something I think people of all ages can get behind. I recently had my niece and nephew over, and when I asked them what they wanted for dinner, they immediately shouted, "Pizza!"
The fun thing about making pizza with kids is that they can pick their sauce, control the cheese, and customize the toppings. The cool part for the adults, is that it is so easy! I like to make big batches of pizza sauce (well, any tomato sauce really) and freeze for exactly these occasions. Take a look at this recipe and see how easy it is.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 onion, medium dice
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
14 ounces whole tomatoes with their juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, leaves torn
Salt and pepper to taste
Granulated sugar, if desired
- Heat a heavy pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the onions until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute or until aromatic.
- Crush the tomatoes up a little bit in a sealable bag. Add the tomatoes with their juice to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar if desired and serve.
That's super simple, right? If you want to practice your sauce techniques. check out The Chopping Block's Sauce Boot Camp and become a whiz at whipping up this tasty sauce.
We also offer several pizza classes that vary by crust style. Like it thin and crispy? Check out the Neapolitan Pizza Party. Are you a true Midwestern with a love of all things Chicago? Deep dish is calling your name, and we can show to how to answer it in our Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Calzones hands on class coming up in January at Lincoln Square.
When it comes to pizza, the dough is almost always the same. Simple, straightforward ingredients. It's just up to you to determine what toppings you'd like. Check out this quick homemade pizza dough recipe.
1 cup lukewarm water (110º to 115º)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 3/4 cups hard-wheat (“00”) flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Sprinkle the yeast on top of water a large mixing bowl and stir gently until dissolved. Allow to proof until slightly foamy and aromatic to ensure yeast is alive, about 5 minutes.
- Add oil, most of the flour and salt, and mix until incorporated.
- Work in most of the remaining flour. Turn out mixture, which may be slightly sticky, onto a floured surface.
- Knead several turns by hand until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Adjust consistency, if necessary, with a small amount of flour. Dough should be barely moist and no longer sticky.
- Shape dough into a ball, place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, about 60-75 minutes, or in the refrigerator overnight.
- Punch down the dough; roll out, top and bake according to directions.
“00” (Double Zero) Flour
In Italy, flour is classified either as 1, 0, or 00, referring to how finely the flour is ground and how much of the bran and germ have been removed. Double zero is the most highly refined ground flour from durum wheat, making it high in protein, which results in an extremely elastic dough perfect for pasta, focaccia, pizza and flatbread.
And there you have the building blocks of pizza! I like to collect toppings like pepperoni, bacon, black olives, green peppers, mushrooms, and maybe even some arugula to finish it. I let the kids go to town, and top their own pizzas with whatever they want.
When we do the pan pizzas, they take about 10-15 minutes to bake. If we do thin crust, they are done in about 5 minutes. All in all, this is a super fun way to get your kids cooking, and have some fun in the kitchen!
Join us for one of our pizza-making classes then host a pizza party with the kids in your life this holiday season for some hands-on fun at home!