Summers to Remember Surrounded by Family and Food
My Grandma Sue had relatives in Kennett Square, PA who were mushroom farmers with a huge farm and a big canning factory. It was a huge operation and in the summer this is what we Italian kids in my family did for fun on summer vacation. 🙂 Yes, kids today would look at you like you were nuts, but my cousins, sister and I actually kind of enjoyed going there. The mushroom factory got old after awhile, but the great food they served us never did!
My grandma’s one cousin “Eli-ooch” 🙂 was a fabulous italian cook and we couldn’t wait to visit her. Don’t ask me why all older women in Italian families had “ooch” at the end of their names but it’s just the way it is!
Eli-ooch’s specialty was pizza and was it ever to die for. Below is a recipe that I put together for you. By far it is not Ali-00ch’s but it is as close as I can get. Enjoy!
Tomato-Basil-Fresh Mozzarella Pizza
1 c of warm water – 110 degrees
1 pkt of dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
Put the dry yeast in a bowl and add the warm water and sugar and dissolve the yeast. Let stand until the yeast mixture starts to foam. In another bowl mix the flour, salt and sugar. When the yeast starts foaming add the honey and olive oil. Slowly start to add the dry ingredients a little at a time. When the dough starts to come together start to knead it, but don’t overwork the dough. You don’t want the dough to be too sticky/tacky or too dry. Add flour or water accordingly.
Form dough into a round and place in a bowl coated with olive oil and coat the entire round lightly with olive oil, place a damp towel over bowl and allow to rise in a warm place. This will take at least an hour or longer.
6 plum tomatoes
3 basil leaves
3 sprigs of flat leaf Italian parsley
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2 Tsp of grated Parmigiano cheese
1 Tbsp sugar
One large ball of fresh mozzarella
4 Basil leaves
Grated Parmigiano Cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Wash and then cut the plum tomatoes in half. In a large baking pan add about 1Tbsp of olive oil. Crush the garlic clove by placing it flat on a cutting board and placing a large knife flat on the clove – gently slam on the garlic clove – remove the skin. Place two of the cloves in the pan as well as the halved tomatoes, add salt and pepper to your preference and garlic powder and basil leaves. I also sprinkle a little sugar over the tomatoes as well and place the springs of parsley in the baking pan. Bake the tomatoes until they start to become soft turning them a few times while baking – approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
When tomatoes are done baking remove from over. In a sauce pan with a drizzle of olive oil, grate the other garlic clove and cook until golden brown and then add the tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher and bring to a slow boil stirring intermittently. After sauce boils, turn down the heat to simmer and add Parmigiano cheese, more salt, pepper, garlic powder and sugar to taste preference. Do not make the sauce too sweet but rather cut any acid taste in the sauce. Simmer for about one hour while dough is rising.
After the pizza dough has risen, cut in half, spread olive oil on pizza tin and spread the dough out on pizza tin. Spread a thin layer of the plum tomato sauce over each pizza, cut the fresh mozzarella into ¼ inch slices and place around the pizza. Tear the basil into pieces and sprinkle around the pizza as well as the grated cheese. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and place in the over until the cheese is golden and bubbling which will be approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Take out of the oven, let the pizza cool a bit, cut, enjoy with a side tossed salad of your choice!