Love is My 'Secret' Ingredient

In Search of the Perfect Pie, What is in Your Perfect Slice?

In Search of the Perfect Pie, What is in Your Perfect Slice?

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! a slice of heaven! Be it thick or thin, one topping or a garbage pie, cheese or no cheese, white sauce or red sauce; there is something to please all ages and cultures in this little one slice.

The other day I tried a pizza at The Wine Barn in Orlando. Wow, I was totally impressed. First time in ages, I tasted an authentic light and airy pizza on U.S soil. It got my juices flowing and I wanted to try my own pizza dough to compare with Chef Ian’s wonderful crust.

My numerous trips to Italy made me a lover of Roman style pizzas – thin crust, marinara sauce made with ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes (grown on the volcanic plains of Mt. Vesuvius), Mozzarella di bufala Campana (milk from water buffalo raised in Campania & Lazio), & only one or two toppings.

After years of practice, playing with crust, oven, temperature, and toppings I have finally created few of my own pizzas which are the ONLY pizza now my family eats. You will be surprised how EASY it is to create your own home made pizza and most of the cooking and assembly can be done ahead of time.

Personally, I don’t see any reason to have a right or wrong way to make pizza. It is after all a matter of personal taste. That said, here are recipes adapted over years to create my kind of pizza. For a comprehensive version of ‘pizza’ check out my earlier post on history of pizza.

Pizza Dough

The secret to this dough is the overnight resting. Aging the dough adds a depth of tang which is incomparable in taste. This dough recipe is easy to roll. I do make another dough which one can’t use the rolling pin for. It is for skilled/advanced pizza makers. Let me know if you would like me to share that too. If you have any left over dough, you can always make calzones with them too.

  • 31/2 Cups Flour (King Arthur’s bread flour or oo pizza flour)
  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup warm bottled water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Stir flour and yeast in a stand mixer with dough attachment. add honey, salt, and warm water.
  2. Blend on high for 2 minutes till dough comes together. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Add olive oil and blend for 7 minutes on high.
  4. Place in a big bowl, cover loosely and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1.5 hours.
  5. Gently release the air, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let rest in fridge overnight.

Makes 4 pizzas.

Pizza Sauce

I love the sweetness of this sauce which comes both from adding carrots and roasting garlic pods.


  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced extra small
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced extra small
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly picked oregano leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  1.  Place 5 cloves in foil, sprinkle salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil, wrap, and place in oven for 25 minutes. When cool peel the skin off.
  2. Saute onions and carrots with olive oil in a medium pan. Add tomato paste. Cook for 10 minutes till vegetables are softened.
  3. Add garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add to the pan. Bring to boil and then simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Blend sauce till smooth.

Note: I prefer not to puree my sauce. Also, this makes a large batch. You can easily freeze it for later use.

Herb Oil

  • 2 cups Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Dried Basil
  • 2 Tbs Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbs Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Tsp Dried or Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tbs Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbs Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 Tsp Smoked or Sweet Paprika
  1. In a bowl mix all ingredients. Let rest for at least 2 hours before using.

Red Pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven with the pizza stone at lowest rack. Heat the oven to the maximum heat your oven can withstand. Preheat for at least 1 hour.
  2. Bring the dough to room temperature 2 hours prior to baking.
  3. Roll the dough as thin as you can without tearing it. Apply herb oil on dough.
  4. Add red sauce (half a ladel), sprinkle sausage/onions or tomato/jalapeno, a few rounds of mozzarella cheese.
  5. Slide and bake the pizza for 7-10 minutes until crust is deep brown.
  6. Sprinkle few strands of basil, drizzle of best olive oil and rest for few minutes before slicing.

White Pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven with the pizza stone at lowest rack. Heat the oven to the maximum heat your oven can withstand. Preheat for at least 1 hour.
  2. Bring the dough to room temperature 2 hours prior to baking.
  3. Roll the dough as thin as you can without tearing it. Pierce holes in the middle leaving 2 inches of edge. Apply herb oil on dough.
  4. Sprinkle mashed potatoes, bacon, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Slide and bake the pizza for 7-10 minutes until crust is deep brown.
  6. Sprinkle truffle oil and rest for few minutes before slicing.

Serve Hot.

In case you are wondering what is in my perfect style? Here are my humble creations:

Thin Crust, Marinara Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella Slices, Fresh Basil, Drizzle of Best Quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil:

  1. Caramelized onions and hot Italian sausages.
  2. Heirloom tomatoes and jalapeno slices.

Thin Crust, Herb Oil, Combination of Mozzarella, Goat, & Parmesan, Truffle Oil:

  1. Mashed potatoes and bacon.
  2. Arugula, prosciutto, drizzle of truffle oil.

Do you have a favorite pizza joint you crave or any preference for topping? I would love, love to hear from you, do shoot me a comment or email. Buon Appetito!!

TIPS:

  • Pre heat the oven with a pizza stone for at least 1 hr prior to baking the pizzas.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least 90 minutes prior to baking.
  • Less is more when it comes to topping. Buy the best quality ingredients you can find including EVOO.
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2 Comments

  1. Similar to your mashed potato & bacon, I like to make a loaded-baked-potato-skin pizza, with bacon, green onions, colby jack, diced tomatoes, and thin slices of cold baked potato, and a tiny smear of sour cream-ranch on the potatoes.

  2. My perfect piece of pie is Eggnog Pie. :~D

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