My son, John, grew up enjoying homemade pizza since he was a toddler, had a few teeth, and could chew. Pizza became a staple in our home and I would prepare it every Friday night and whenever John had his friends over for dinner. The aroma of the sauce cooking and the sight of the dough rising brought everyone into the kitchen longing for the pizza to be ready. I would bake the pizza on a cookie sheet in a very hot oven.
When visiting in Rome, Italy and eating at the delicious bistros in the city, I noticed they cooked their pizza in a rectangular shape. It would be sliced in squares and people would purchase the pizza by the slice.
It’s the Italian version of fast food.
It would be baked with numerous toppings and the aroma of the pizza baking was scrumptious. The rectangular shape became the style my family requested, especially John. We call it “Cookie Sheet Pizza“. John is an excellent cook and now that he has a family of his own, he makes pizza often for them. However, when he comes home to visit, he’ll ask, “Mom, will you make us a cookie sheet pizza?” It’s fun and easy to make, especially with a food processor. Buon Appétito!
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm not hot water 115-120 degrees
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pizza Sauce/Marinara Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 28 oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
Preparing the pizza dough:
- Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy (3 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to yeast and water.
- With dough blade or steel blade in food processor, place 2 ½ cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse several times (3 pulses).
- While food processor is on, slowly pour yeast mixture down feed tube. Process until dough starts to form a ball. Gradually add ¼ cup flour at a time until dough is moist but not sticky. Process a few more times. This kneads the dough.
- Remove dough to a floured countertop and knead a few times with hands and form a soft ball.
- Place dough in large bowl, greased with olive oil. Turn dough over a few times to coat all sides of dough with oil.
- Cover bowl with a plate or towel. Keep in a warm place, away from drafts. After dough has risen to double in size punch it down. Let it rise again.
- While dough is rising prepare tomato sauce and additional toppings.
- Place tomatoes in large bowl and using hands crush tomatoes in small pieces. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, add olive oil and heat, add garlic and sauté until soft.
- Add tomato paste and stir until hot.
- Add crushed tomatoes. Stir together paste, garlic and tomatoes.
- Add basil, oregano, Italian seasonings and salt and pepper. Stir to blend spices into sauce.
- Bring to a boil. Lower heat to low and occasionally stir uncovered for 35-45 minutes.
- Remove from heat and prepare toppings.
Here’s my recipe for Marinara Sauce along with a video.
Topping Ideas for Pizza with tomato sauce:
- Shredded mozzarella cheese – 2 ½ cups
- Grated Parmesan cheese – 2 tablespoons
- Sliced fresh plum tomatoes- 3 plum tomatoes
- Other additions can be pepperoni, cooked crumbled Italian sausage, mushrooms, or your favorite toppings. A topping used in Rome, Italy was sliced uncooked red peppers, delicious!
Preparing Pizza for Baking:
- Preheat oven 475 degrees
- Grease a cookie sheet with olive oi
- Roll out pizza dough to fit cookie sheet, stretching the dough to fit to all corners of pan.
- Place pizza dough in oven and bake 5 minutes to crisp bottom of dough. Remove from oven.
- Spread an even layer of prepared sauce. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and top with slice fresh plum tomatoes (optional). Sprinkle with dried oregano and chopped fresh basil. Drizzle top with olive oil.
- Place the pan and pizza in the oven on the bottom rack. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve at once.