Monday, August 6, 2007

Mini-Pizzas with home-made sauce

It doesn't happen often, but it happened last night. I had a pizza craving. Oh I sure did.

I wanted to make my own, because hunting down vegan pizza was simply not on my agenda, I didn't want to commit to a full-sized pizza, nor did I want to attempt making my own crust. So I fell back on an old childhood fave: English muffin pizzas!

I used whole wheat English muffins because they are denser than the 'nook and cranny' variety so they have more of a 'real' crust feel. I also made my own sauce!

I know making sauce is an art unto itself, so it's something that always intimidates me. But I was feeling bold - and I wanted the damned pizza - so I made it up as I went along.
Tomato sauce with basil
2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 large onion chopped small
2 cloves garlic minced
1 package (17 oz) Vitelli crushed tomatoes
2-3 t. dried oregano
1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
sea salt (to taste)
2 t. agave nectar (it's really sweet so go sparingly, you just want enough "sweet" to round things out)

In a medium saucepan saute onions in olive oil. When they begin getting softer add the oregano and nutmeg and continue sauteing until almost translucent. Add garlic and cook until you start to smell the garlic - don't brown!

Add the tomatoes and basil to the onions, let it simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time. Check the taste and salt as necessary, then add a little agave nectar and taste again. You'll know when you've added enough - the acidic 'bite' of the tomato will soften and you'll taste a full-bodied 'sauce'. Then of I let it simmer for about 15 minutes, but longer would probably be even better.

This was my first vegan pizza and of course the cheese was going to be the biggie. I scoured the health food store and decided to try Vegan Gourmet's mozzarella. I was really happy to see that Urban Vegan recommends this as one of her favorites, so I knew I'd chosen well! (Talk about beginner's luck!)

I lightly toasted the English muffins and shredded the cheese (which does shred very easily). Then I laid out the muffins and layered on some sauce. Because the sauce is thick with onions it actually looks more like large bruschetta, but once the cheese went on it became pizza!
I did not find that the cheese melted very much, but that may have been because I made these in a toaster oven; but it browned a wee bit around the edges and it was moist and yummy, so the meltiness was not an issue for me.

I reserved a few smaller basil leaves to use as a fresh topping - tastes fantastic and looks awfully pretty.
I didn't clock this, but I'd put it at about 30-40 minutes and that's, of course, because of the sauce. If you have sauce on hand already, this wouldn't take more than 10 minutes to throw together.


Gary said...

Oh, Please make these the next time I stay over. They look yummy.

theONLYtania said...

Wait, how many tomatoes in the sauce? I want to make it!

Joy said...

Oops! Thanks for asking Tania, I can't believe I left out the key ingredient!

I used one 17 oz package of Luigi Vitelli crushed tomatoes - they come in a vacuum pack rather than a can and I think that helps keep the flavor.

Salty Miss Jill said...

I was curious how the nutmeg would play out, but let me confirm, it's a perfect complement to the acidity of tomoatoes!
This was dinner last Sunday, by the way. My Turkish husband laughed when I told him that English muffin pizza was standard lunch fare growing up...and now your far more wholesome version is his new favorite treat. :)Thanks!