CA’s Famous Veggie Pizza Recipe

As promised, here is the recipe to the veggie pizza everyone loves:

Ingredients

1 package pizza crust mix (I use Pillsbury hot roll mix)

1 tbsp olive oil (vegetable oil is fine too)

1 can pizza sauce (Don Peppino’s is the best)

2 cups (or more) shredded mozzarella

1 red pepper, cut into 1-2 inch strips

1/2 red onion,  cut into 1-2 inch strips

1 package sliced cremini mushrooms

1 small can sliced black olives

1 clove chopped garlic (optional)

Directions:

Make crust according to package directions. Working gently with your fingers, spread dough into pizza pan (I use a full cookie sheet). Using pastry brush, spread oil over dough. Next, using a spoon, spread sauce over dough, leaving room for crust (I use about 1/2 a can for a full cookie sheet pizza, less than 1/2 if the pizza is smaller). Sprinkle about 1 and 1/2 cups of the mozzarella on pizza and reserve the last 1/4 cup.

Spread all the toppings around on the pizza. If using garlic, make sure it’s TINY pieces in TINY amounts and spread FAR apart. Nobody wants a full mouth of garlic, trust me. Put remaining cheese on top of toppings.

Bake according to package directions, or 425F for 10-15 minutes.

Also, it’s ok if all the toppings look like they’re overcrowding the pizza. The mushrooms shrink significantly when cooked, so an overcrowded pizza looks normal after cooking. If you decide to include meat, pepperoni slices shrink as well.

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Politics, Religion, and Tomato Sauce

For my upcoming holiday party, my cousin and I will be making several homemade pizzas. As an Italian-American, I know there is no topic more controversial and passion-inducing than spaghetti sauce. When you grown up in an Italian family, you know that the three things you never discuss with someone are Politics, Religion, and Spaghetti Sauce.

Italian Americans go around to different homes and restaurants and put every dining experience into one of two groups, “authentic” and “not authentic.” Having grown up in this environment, I can tell you that while spaghetti sauce is no laughing matter, the truth is that every family makes is differently. There is more than one “authentic.” But don’t ask an Italian to admit it. I’m 25% German too.

However, PIZZA sauce is quite different from Pasta sauce. True, in Neapolitan pizzerias there is not a whole lot of difference, but the main distinction here in America is one word: Oregano. Pizza sauce has it. Pasta does not. When you’re making PIZZA, feel free to add oregano, we love it.

WARNING: I know plenty of Italians who would never speak to you again if you so much as mentioned the possibility of including Oregano in pasta. It’s blasphemy. Once you taint their precious spaghetti sauce with oregano, it’s no longer edible (unless you put it on dough and cover it with mozzarella).