Monday, March 4, 2013

Little "Pizza" My Heart

So today marks 3 years that Mikey and I have been together! Yay us! I love any chance to celebrate even though we are engaged and we will have a wedding anniversary soon enough...we are celebrating our three years together anyway!
I try to be creative and think of things Mike loves (usually involving food) to make for our celebrations.  He's not one for the store bought stuff so I like to think outside the box!

What's become sort of a tradition each year is bringing out our mini chocolate fountain that Mikey gave me for our first year celebration.  He surprised me with everything you could ever want to dip into chocolate on a plate...maximum chocolate gluttony!!!  I've continued to bring it out each year.  Strawberries for dipping this year!
Mikey looooves pizza.  It's probably one of his favorite foods.  He could eat it at least once a week and never tire of it, of that I'm sure.  Papa John's has been at the top of his list lately so much so that he gets cravings for it (sounds like a pregnant women ;-) 

I went on my trusty Pinterest to find a good recipe.  At first, I wasn't necessarily going to make everything from scratch, but then I figured...if I want it to taste exactly like Papa John's I'm gonna need to make everything right down to the tomato puree in the tomato sauce.  

I used all the copy cat recipes from  I started with the dough (recipe here) in the early morning.  Even though the recipe only states for the dough to rise for 15 minutes, I allowed mine to rise almost the entire day, probably a good 6 hours.  I thought I hadn't gotten the dough right as mine was kind of sticky in the end, but it was just the right texture out of the oven!  So don't fret if yours is sticky.
The dough recipe makes two pizzas!

With any Papa John's Pizza you have to have LOADS of their garlic sauce.  I went ahead and made the garlic sauce (recipe here) way in advance because it was super easy and could be refrigerated and then heated up before dinner.

The most time consuming part of the pizza making process was making the actual tomato sauce from scratch.  I now appreciate tomato sauce a bit more after today.  I used this tutorial on making tomato puree as I had everything to make it and didn't have a can of it.  So it came down to "scratching" it! Yup, I just came up with that ;-)

Let me tell you, there is something about fresh tomato sauce! It's heavenly and I'm not a fan of tomato sauce.  I boiled 5 tomatoes for 15 minutes (the skins fall off in the process which is rather nice), then roasted them with garlic powder, olive oil, and salt at 350 degrees for 2 hours (mine was more like 1.5 hours).  Then I pureed the tomatoes in a blender.  

Then, I used another copy cat Papa John's recipe for the sauce (recipe here) and it was FANtastic!  I'm not sure I would call it like Papa John's though, because Papa John's sauce to me is tangy and hearty whereas my final product was more light and airy and more garlicy flavor.  

I might have made one of my favorite pizzas!! The dough makes two 12" round pizzas...however, I only had 9" rounds so my pizzas must've been a little doughier (which I prefer).  For Mikey's pizza I used mozzarella, pepperoni, and sprinkled sausage on half.  

And After...

Mine was plain cheese...half mozzarella and half pepper jack!

What a hit in my book! I think Mikey appreciated the doughy-ness too.  He likes a deep dish just like me even though that's not really what I was going for but it was definitely pillow like.  So glad for some leftovers tomorrow!
Man, I'm beat...making things from scratch ("scratching it") is hard work.  And I'll reiterate that I'm not a cook at all.  Although I loved the final product that went in my mouth, I can't do this cooking thing every day.  Not to mention the mess I made in the's to cleaning up!
And of course many more years and celebrations to come with my one and only!!
~ Happy Anniversary ~

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