My fellow bloggers and I are quickly coming to the end of our Friday Gourmet Live 50 Women Game-Changers project. Just three more left on the list!
Today’s focus is on Cat Cora, the first and only female Iron Chef. You can read all about her extensive food resume on her website. I was most intrigued by her Southern and Greek backgrounds (what a food combo!) and the fact that she has four sons with her wife, Jennifer. What a rowdy household that must be! (The image I posted comes from the Food Network website.)
After looking through her many recipes online, I decided to make her easy pizza sauce and dough. Not just because these are easy recipes, but also because I’m a pizza fiend. I love pizza in any shape or form. I already have my favorite homemade sauce, but I’m always open to something new.
The sauce was easy to make. The only trick is to remember to mix it up a few hours in advance so the flavors have time to blend together. The dough was simple, too. Just basic pizza dough with ingredients like many others: flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil.
I decided to make a plain cheese pizza with mozzarella and parmesan so I could really taste the sauce. The flavor was wonderful! The addition of the rosemary gives it a complexity not found in most pizzas. My only complaint was the sauce was too thin. I believe the recipe adds too much water, so my recommendation is to mix up the tomato paste and olive oil first, and then add the water a little at a time until you reach the consistency you enjoy.
The crust was very good, though my husband, Michael, pointed out that it was a little salty. I’ll probably reduce the salt amount to 1 teaspoon the next time to see if it makes a difference. Also, if you enjoy a crispy crust, move the pizza from the baking sheet onto the oven rack for the last half of the cooking time. This allows the bottom to get brown and crisp. Just be sure to keep an eye on it, since it will also speed up the cooking time a bit.
Easy Pizza Sauce
1 (4-ounce) can tomato paste1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Mix together the tomato paste and olive oil. Add the water in a bit at a time until the sauce reached your desired consistency. You may not use all of the water. Add garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Mix well and let stand several hours to let flavors blend. No cooking necessary, just spread on dough.
Easy PizzaAdapted from recipe by Cat Cora
1/4 cup warm water, 105 degrees F1/2 envelope dry yeast (1 1/8 teaspoons)
1/2 cup room temperature water
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Add the warm water into a small mixing bowl or a standard 2 cup measure, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let stand until the yeast softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Mix slightly to dissolve yeast and allow it to proof for another 15 minutes in a warm spot in the kitchen. Add the room temperature water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Measure the flour and the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine on very low speed with the paddle attachment. Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and increase the speed of the mixer slightly to incorporate the mass. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with a dough hook if you have one. [I used the dough hook for the entire process.] Knead until the dough becomes smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes. Place the dough on a floured board and knead the dough by hand for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour to dust as needed to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a very lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel, let stand until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. With a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as evenly as possible. (I started with the rolling pin, and then moved the dough onto the baking sheet and used my fingers to stretch it out the rest of the way.) If you are only making a small pizza, the remaining dough can be placed into the refrigerator or frozen until ready to use.
Cover with toppings and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes
Be sure to check out my fellow food bloggers to see what they prepared to honor Cat Cora:
Val - More Than Burnt ToastTaryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed,
Heather - girlichef,
Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite,
Sue - The View from Great Island,
Nancy - Picadillo,
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen,
Annie - Most Lovely Things,
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook,
Alyce - More Time at the Table
Martha - Simple Nourished Living,
Sara - Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Claudia -A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds