Over the last year, Marcus has been perfecting his pizza skills, which means I have been perfecting my pizza sous-chef skills. When we lived in Amsterdam, we would often have homemade pizza on Friday nights as an easy way to use up the leftover veggies from our CSA before the next box would arrive on Saturday morning. I made a simple, yeast-free dough, Marcus made the sauce, and together we would prepare the toppings.
We bought a pizza stone soon after we moved to Portland, overjoyed with the fact that we had a full-size oven again, and that's when the perfecting began. Homemade pizza has become our go-to dish for an easy meal to share with others. We've made pizza for sleepovers with our nieces, friends visiting from Europe, family on a Sunday afternoon, friends in the last days of pregnancy, casual dinner parties with old and new acquaintances, and on countless occasions for just the two of us.
Marcus has finetuned this recipe over months, each time doing things just a little bit different. The sardine was the most recent addition and next month there will probably be something new he is trying. This recipe leaves a lot of room for experimentation, we hope it brings as much joy to your dining room table as it has to ours!
2-3 cloves garlic
1 16-ounce can canned tomatoes, pureed or mashed
a pinch of chili flakes
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 sardine crushed and crumbled (optional)
salt to taste
Roast the fennel seeds in a pan until they become fragrant. Lightly grind the seeds together with the chili flakes in a mortar and pestle. Add olive oil to a small pot and sautée the garlic for one minute, lower the heat and add the fennel seeds and chili flakes and cook for another minute, making sure the garlic doesn't brown. Add the tomatoes, wine, balsamic vinegar, thyme, sardine and 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer on low heat until reduced into a thick paste, about 1 hour. Let cool before spreading onto the pizza dough. Layer toppings and cook according to dough requirements.
The magic of our pizza comes from the sauce, but also the high-quality ingredients. We buy most of our balsamic vinegar, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, olives, and olive oil from Pastaworks in Portland. They have a great selection of imported classics, as well as local groceries and meat.