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Posts Tagged ‘home made pizza’

Cento Pizza Sauce Review


Cento Pizza Sauce ReviewI’m always scouring the grocery shelves for pizza ingredients I haven’t tried before;  this week it is Cento brand.  I have previously tried a number of competitors, including Pastorelli, Mutti, and one of my usuals, Contadina in a squeeze bottle.

Cento was founded in 1963 in the city of brotherly love, initially as an importer of Italian products.  If you’ve never cruised the old-timey Italian restaurants in Philly, you’ve missed out.  About 20 years later, they started putting out products under their own name.  They have a very deep line of tomato products, whole, crushed, seasoned, paste and so on.

On the website, they tout their tomato products are fresh picked from the vine, and some are the highly regarded San Marzanos from Italy, but there is no reference to whether this includes the pizza sauce.  The ingredients on the sauce label are straightforward: water, tomato concentrate, olive oil, salt, basil, black pepper, garlic powder.

I like it for two reasons, it has a slight acidic taste (which is natural for tomatoes), is not cloyingly sweet like many competitors who add sweeteners to their recipe, and it has a heft/thickness that appeals to me for putting on my pies.  More appealing than the watery  sauces.  Objection?  It’s a 15 oz can, which is way more than one needs for a single pizza, maybe they could do the squeeze bottle thing like Contadina?  Then I’d be a regular.

Cento pizza sauce review








Cento Pizza Sauce Review


Pastorelli Pizza Sauce Review


Pastorelli Pizza Sauce ReviewTried out a new pre-made pizza sauce last night, from Chicago pizza supplies and food supplier, Pastorelli, who have been around for a million years or so.  In addition to pizza sauce, they have a number of consumer products including tomato derivatives, olive oils, and pre-made crusts, which I tried previously. The past few years, I’ve been pretty satisfied with Contadina Pizza Sauce in a squeeze bottle, when I’m not in the mood to make sauce from scratch,  but they may have fallen from grace, or at least to second place, after sampling the Pastorelli.

Take a look at this ingredient list: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Canola Oil, Import Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese, Spices and Garlic.  You can’t get much more basic than that!   I like the flavor and texture, it leans to the thicker end of the sauce spectrum, and nicely covers a pie.  It’s not sickeningly sweet, and has a nice little zest.  It also comes in one serving pouches, if that’s your preference, though the small can works out perfectly too.  Buy online if you  can’t find it in your local grocery.

If you’re really hungry, take comfort in knowing that many of Pastorelli’s products are available in 55 gallon barrels, and 250 gallon totes.

If you’re feeling especially ambitious, my recipe for homemade pizza dough is pretty straight forward, but does require some advance planning.











Pastorelli Pizza Sauce Review


Home Cookin’ – Changing Things Up Pizza


As you know, I make a lot of pizza at home, and generally start with dough I make myself, but these days, you can buy dough balls at most groceries that are pretty adequate.  For other types of crusts, try Boboli.  (My dough recipe here).

So this is all about my Reuben pizza.  Start with your crust, and smear your favorite sauce on it (if I’m in a hurry, I like Contadina Pizza Squeeze),  and layer thin – sliced corned beef on top of the sauce.

Empty a small can of kraut, drain well, and I take it by the handful and squeeze the remaining brine out of it before spreading it from rim to rim.

A mixture of shredded mozzarella and swiss tops this nicely.   Thought I don’t care for thousand island on reubens, if you do, you might consider substituting it for the traditional tomato sauce.

I have had seafood pizzas in China where the sauce was thousand island.  It wasn’t that bad.




Perfecting Making Pizza at Home


I’ve been screwing around at home for years trying to make a great pizza crust, and I’m finally satisfied with mine.  My method produces a great thin crust, crispy at the edges, and chewier as one progresses inland towards the center of the pie.

The recipe isn’t that different from any variation you will find online.  But I think I have perfected a “technique” that makes it turn out just right (for my tastes).


3 1/2 C Italian “OO” superfine flour (tho you can use most  any flour, I get best results from this).  “Zero Zero” flour is available at many groceries, and online.

1 C and (and a little more as needed) water warm to the touch.


2 T sugar

2 t yeast (the best you can find)

1 T salt

Combine dry ingredients in your KitchenAid mixer, except yeast and 1 T sugar.

Put the 1 T sugar and yeast into the warm water until it bubbles, I usually let it go 10 minutes.

With the mixer on slow, start adding the water until it combines with the dry ingredients.  You may need to use slightly more water, until the dough becomes a smooth ball; you can occasionally stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

When the dough is thoroughly blended, I turn the mixer on, just below a medium speed, and leave it go by itself for 8 minutes.  The dough at this point will be slightly elastic, but not sticky at all.

Remove the dough ball for just a sec, and put a few more drops of EVOO (or any OO) into the pan, replace the dough ball, and swirl it around the pan for a second to oil the surface of the dough ball.

Cover the top of the bowl with tight Saran, and place a plate over the Saran. Place the bowl in an unheated oven for 90 minutes.

At this point, the dough should have easily doubled in size, remove it from the bowl, divide in half, and put each dough ball in a slightly oiled seal-able Tupperware like container.   You may freeze one dough ball for late if you like (when you want to use it, let thaw overnight in refrigerator).

Otherwise, put the dough balls in the refrigerator for a minimum of  one day, but it can be longer, I’ve made them on Tuesday for consumption on the weekend.

Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator, remove the top from the Tupperware, and let the dough rest on the counter for at least an hour.

Flour a surface to roll or spread the dough out on.  I use a combination of more flour with a little white cornmeal mixed in.  You could also add garlic powder and/or herbs if you like.

The dough will be easily workable, and you can shape it by hand, pressing with the palms of your hand, and pushing towards the edge, or use a rolling pin.  I use what my mother used to call a “Swedish Rolling Pin“, which has dimples in it.    She and my father used this rolling pin to make hardtack at home.  (Today you could get away with calling hardtack “flatbread.”)

When your crust is the size you desire (mine are usually somewhat oval, perhaps 9X13 inches),  fold the crust in half twice, for ease of handling, drop it on a sheet of parchment paper, and proceed to top it as you like it.

Preheat the oven to 500, or 550, if yours goes that high.  Place the pie on the middle shelf on the parchment ONLY, and bake for five minutes.  At this point, slide the parchment out from under the pie.  In another 5-7 minutes, your pie will be perfect.  Be sure to keep an eye on the pie while baking, tho, oven temps vary greatly.   My oven has hot spots, so I have to spin the pie during baking, hopefully your oven is better!

In 30 years of trying, this produces the best pizza crust I have ever made at home.  Many visitors, and especially Mrs. Burgerdogboy, who doesn’t care for pizza that much, say it is their absolute favorite, and we make it, in some variation, every time we have company.

If you want a nice appetizer, skip the red sauce and usual toppings in favor only of brushing the crust with olive oil, garlic, herbs, and sea salt.   Cut the cooked crust into squares or rectangles to use as a flatbread for dips.




Pizza Crust at Home?


I’m always trying to perfect the perfect pizza crust at home. Usually never satisfied, I’m pretty happy with the results of using King Arthur’s Unbleached Bread Flour. 3 C flour, 2 t yeast, 1 T sugar, 1 T salt, 1 T baking powder, 1 C H2O, 2 T olive oil, 2 T cornmeal. I’m always looking for crispy, and this did it! If you have a sure-fire home crust recipe, pass it on! Thanks.

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