Sometimes with time on my hands and nothing specific to do I wander into the kitchen and play act ‘little genie’ ….clearing up and doing some prep work…chopping veggies, precooking some things that can be frozen….a few days ago, I came face to face with an almost overflowing fridge and a relatively free afternoon….while I was wondering what to do with the overflowing basket of desi tomatoes, I decided to make some pasta sauce and freeze it into individual portions…..as a bonus, it helped in space managing the refrigerator……I like spending time this way….doing what I need to do…but with no pressure of putting out a meal….it gives me time to spend with my thoughts and also takes the sting out of weeknight meal preparation.
We were spending a lazy Saturday at home…I got immersed watching a movie on tv….completely forgetting the time….around 2.30 p.m K gingerly asked me if any lunch was made at home….because the hunger pangs were showing up…..imagine the look on his face when he realized that there was nothing to be served but for some old rotis from last nights dinner…..
I bolted to the kitchen and was trying to retrieve a container from the back of a shelf when I realized there was some dough I had made the previous day…..now the beast called yeast isn’t my best friend….it hasn’t misbehaved as yet and I really should credit it a bit more than I do…lets just say I am still very wary of it….i never am sure it will rise to the occasion so to speak….a couple of earlier attempts to make bread have ended in my siphoning the intended dough to make other goodies…..veggie crescents being the main beneficiary….infact a certain friend of mine thinks that I am obsessed with them…..though they are a fabulous find….this time, it wasn’t to be…for starters, after hosting lunch for a friend and her parents a few days ago, I was down to a few tomatoes and onions and a few languishing chillies in the vegetable tray…..so crescents were out!! I decided to bravely try to make a pizza with the frozen pasta sauce…..i know I know….for a first attempt, one needs to be calm and composed and have your wit completely under your command….but here I was battling a near empty fridge, and an increasingly hungry spouse…..
Let me just say that the pizza came out beautifully and I was so happy!! The crust cooked well…..crunchy around the ends where there was no topping or sauce…. the flavours of the sauce were superb, we didn’t need any added seasonings with it….and cheddar cheese made up for the lack of mozzarella…..i put olives that I had in a bottle on one side of the pie, because K doenst like them too much…from start to finish, including preheating the oven, lunch was on the table in less than 30 mins….!!
Sometimes the best creations happen when you are least expecting it!! and this one was like that…..i think I yeast is winning me over…one tiny pellet at a time!!
For the tomato sauce (makes about 3 cups of sauce)
2 T EVOO
1 c roughly chopped onion
5 cups of diced tomatoes ( I make it with the skins, blanch and then chop if you don’t like the skins on)
3 T finely chopped garlic
1 t sugar
1 t red chilli powder
1 t oregano
1 T red chilli flakes
Salt to taste
In a microwave safe bowl, add the tomatoes, cover and nuke on high for 5 mins or till cooked. In another pan, heat the olive oil, add garlic and fry till it is beginning to turn golden brown. Add the onions and fry till translucent. Add the cooked tomatoes, seasonings and cook till the oil seperates. This is now ready to be used, or cool and freeze. Makes about 3 cups of sauce.
For the topping
2/3 c shredded cheese (I used cheddar, would have preferred mozzarella)
1 cup sliced tomato
2/3 cup finely sliced onion
3 T sliced green olives in brine
For the pizza dough (makes two 9 inch pies)
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour ( I used ashirvaad atta)
1 t salt
1 T olive oil
1½ cup warm water
1 t sugar
1 ½ t dried yeast pellets
In a bowl, mix the sugar, yeast and warm water. Leave it to cream for about 10-15 minutes
In a large mixing bowl (I used the dough blade in the food processor) mix all the ingredients, adding more water a little at a time to make a a mass of slightly sticky dough. Put this in a well oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for about an hour. Punch down, knead for a minute or so. Divide into two equal portions. Roll into a ball. Place on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 9-10 inch circle about 2/3 of an inch thick. Place onto a greased baking sheet. If you have a rectangular baking sheet, roll into a rectangular shape.
Place the pizza base on the baking sheet, spread the tomato sauce liberally all over. Cover with a thin layer of shredded cheese. Add toppings of choice and bake in the preheated oven at 220 C for 15-18 mins or till the ends of the pie are golden.
Take out, cut and serve.