Today was the perfect day to pay tribute to New York City and I do so with one of its most famous foods, New York pizza! You can find great local pizza places at almost every other block in New York City. I learnt to eat pizzas in New York like I learnt to drink coffee in Seattle.
I also first made my own pizza in New York, and after moving to Seattle I still love to make my own. In NYC, when I wanted to make my own pizza, I’d buy a dough ball from my favorite pizza place. Usually this was about $2.50. I’d make my sauce from scratch and top it off with cheese & the freshest vegetarian toppings I could find.
In Seattle, although I have found a few great pizza places, I haven’t yet found a great supplier of pizza dough. I have brought home dough from some popular food stores (I won’t negatively name any names), but they did not live up to my expectations. Recently I decided to use a thick, Greek pita instead. They are usually for falafels & gyros but they are perfect for a small, personal pizza.
This recipe is a lot of fun for guests because everyone gets involved and personalizes their meal — it’s especially fun for kids!
Here is my easy Pita Pizza:
For sauce I used:
- 1 28 0z. can of crushed tomatoes (with no additives or spices!) or fresh if you find 4-5 sweet tomatoes, then skip the sugar
- 1 tbsn olive oil
- 4 big cloves of chopped garlic
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- 7 torn up, fresh basil leaves
- 1 tspn of Italian seasoning blend (or, make your own by mixing these dry: oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, and marjoram)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsn brown sugar
For toppings I used:
- Shredded Black Creek Buttery cheddar
- Thinly sliced chili peppers, all colors you like
- Thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
Put whatever YOU like on it 🙂 In the toppings & cheese especially, you and/or your guests can most easily personalize it, so have fun! and offer them as many fresh ingredients as you have available.
For the crust:
Look for thick, Kronos Greek-style pitas in almost any grocery store. You can also use naans or other thick, flat breads. See the pictures below for an example.
1. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C).
2. Making the sauce:
- Heat the olive oil briefly in a sauce pan on medium. Add red pepper flakes & garlic until it’s slightly gold, do NOT let the garlic brown at all, I’ll take raw over browned any day!
- Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt & pepper.
- Take the Italian seasoning in the palm of your hand & rub it down with the thumb of your other hand. This is one way to get great aroma & taste out of your dry seasoning! Throw it all in the sauce.
- Stir & let the sauce cook on low medium heat for about 10 minutes, then add the sugar, and then let it cook on low for another 10-15 minutes until it thickens as you like it.
3. Prep all the toppings while your sauce cooks, stirring the sauce just once in a while. Once the sauce cools, add your torn basil. Any leftover sauce from pizza night will be great with pasta in the next few days!
4. Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of your pita or naan, then slide it in the oven for 5-10 minutes until it gets some color. Careful not to bake it too much!
5. Layer the sauce, mushrooms, cheese, peppers, (or any other toppings) on top, and slide it back in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until you see the edges crisp up.
(Tip: If you have a little toaster oven, you can bake it for half the time you would need to in a regular oven. To brown and crisp, then let it broil for 5 minutes & it’s done, pronto!)
In a pizza place I go for taste + experience, but taste comes first! Here are my three favorite pizza places in the last 3 cities I have lived in:
1) NYC – Singa’s Famous Pizza – Love their cheese blend & No, they won’t give me their secret!
2) Ithaca – Hot Truck PMP (Poor Man’s Pizza) – Love the french bread from Ithaca Bakery and the whole style of serving like a sub!
3) Seattle – Belltown Pizza – good toppings!
(They all have amazing crust and sauce, else they won’t be faves.)