It has now been several Sundays in a row that Chris and I have stayed home and cooked all day. Yesterday was no exception. After our visits to Sprouts, Smart and Final and Ralphs for all the necessary ingredients, we were delighted to spend the rest of the day in the kitchen. Between the two of us, we made ice cream, simmered pork for ramen, and pickled some eggs à la Joe Jost. We also made marinara sauce and pizza dough for two pizzas – one with pesto sauce and the other with the marinara. While waiting for the pizza dough to rise, Chris managed to make a piña colada for me and a margarita for himself.
Our pizzas turned out to be a little too thin-crusted, but that was my fault for rolling it like that. Next time, I would make them a little thicker. The first pizza I made was a Caprese-like pizza, a Burrata Cheese, Tomato, and Basil with Pesto. Burrata is an Italian fresh cheese. It’s like mozzarella on steroids. Burrata starts out like mozzarella and then it is formed into a pouch and filled with scraps of leftover mozzarella and cream. When the burrata is sliced open, the thick cream filling oozes out. It sounds a bit like gilding the lily, but I say you can’t have enough cream.
The second pizza was a Salami and Mozzarella with Marinara Sauce. For this pizza, I used regular fresh mozzarella (ovoline) and salami. Chris’ homemade marinara sauce was slightly sweet, perfect for the spicy salami.
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian
Yields about 2 quarts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes (or 2 cans domestic tomatoes, 28-oz. each, plus 1 8-oz. can tomatoes or tomato sauce)
2 dried bay leaves
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Cook until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Taste, and adjust seasonings. The texture of the sauce is slightly chunky; if you prefer a smoother sauce, give it a whirl in the blender or food processor.
If making ahead, cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Or transfer the cooled sauce to freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
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