Pizza is often used to teach math, especially fractions and percentages.
I recently finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which, for one year, Kingsolver and her family ate almost entirely locally. They live on a farm which enables them to raise poultry and tend an incredible garden. At the end of each chapter, Kingsolver’s daughter Camille shared her thoughts, recipes, and seasonal weekly meal plans. I was inspired by the Kingsolver’s weekly pizza night to make my own pizza as close to 100% from scratch as possible.
Let’s see how I did with my “pizza math”.
Crust: 100% made from scratch
I often purchase pre-made pizza dough from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to have on hand to make pizza at home. But this time, I overcame my “fear” of yeast, and whipped up Camille’s recipe for pizza dough.
It was so easy, and delicious!
Note to self: make your own dough more often…
Sauce: 50% made from scratch
For the sauce, I followed my typical “recipe,” which involves throwing canned tomatoes and some seasoning into a pan. I used 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes (I like my sauce chunky!) 1/2 cup red wine, a generous sprinkling of dried basil, a dash of red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine all ingredients and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.
While I have taken the step away from pre-made tomato sauces, opting instead to make my own from canned (no salt added) tomatoes, I give myself 50% on this one because I have yet to take the step towards canning my own tomato sauce. This is a definite goal for me this summer! I plan to grow tomatoes again this year (and maybe one or two other vegetables, but that is a story for another day), and I will definitely be canning my own 100% from scratch tomato sauce.
Pesto: 100% made from scratch
Our favorite pizza from Mellow Mushroom (our go-to take out pizza place) is Kosmic Karma, tomato sauce base topped with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, and a pesto swirl.
When I asked my husband what he wanted on our pizza, he asked me to recreate the Kosmic Karma. I was pleasantly surprised to find nice, local basil at the store, and jumped on the opportunity to make my own pesto, using walnuts instead of pine nuts (since that is what I had on hand).
Raw Basil Pesto
Inspired by Edible Perspective
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and puree until smooth. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency (I used 3 Tablespoons).
The Toppings: 0% made from scratch
I decided to add a bit of sausage to our Kosmic Karma imitation. I used a Tuscan sausage made in-house at my local Whole Foods using local pork. While I am happy with this choice of meat, no from-scratch points for me here… though I’m not sure I will ever reach the point of making my own sausage…
As for cheese, I chose mozzarella and goats milk feta. Kingsolver has a chapter on cheese making, which peaked my interest in this unexplored area of kitchen science. Kath makes it look easy… I might be ordering rennet and experimenting with cheesemongering in the near future…
The spinach also gets 0% made from scratch since it was neither local nor home grown…
So, let’s add things up:
“Made From Scratch” Pizza Math
- Crust – 100%
- Sauce – 50%
- Pesto – 100%
- Cheese – 0%
- Sausage – 0%
- Spinach – 0%
Total: 41.67% made from scratch
Had I made this without the sausage, my percentage would have been much higher… Not bad for my first foray into homemade crust.
This pizza was delicious, and it gave me great joy to know that I had made so many of the elements from scratch. The added time spent making crust, sauce, and pesto was time well spent in the kitchen.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?