Good Ole Marinara & Mozzarella Topping
Recipe By Kim O'Donnel from the book “The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook”
This peppery salad idea with an ad hoc vinaigrette takes this plain ole marinara topping to a new level. The amounts below are enough for two 10- or 12-inch pizzas. If you plan on making one pizza, you may halve amounts accordingly.
- 2 cups tomato puree (straight from a jar, or whole tomatoes from a 28-ounce can that you puree yourself)
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt (Note: taste the puree before adding, if it was processed with salt)
- Ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (You may also use fresh mozzarella balls or bigger pieces that you slice yourself. Estimate about 1 pound in water for both pies.)
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Optional but really good add-ons: ½ bunch (about 2 cups) arugula, cleaned and dried; squeeze of ½ lemon; a drizzle of olive oil
- Pour the tomato puree into a medium-size saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic, oregano, and tomato paste. Stir to make sure the paste has been absorbed into the puree.
- Bring to a simmer (this helps sauce reduce a bit), then lower the heat and stir to make sure the sauce is not sticking. The sauce can be ready in 15 minutes or can simmer for longer, up to ½ hour. It will reduce by about one-fourth, which gives you at least ½ cup of puree per pizza.
- Taste for salt and season accordingly, and add the black pepper and/or red pepper flakes. Remove the garlic clove.
- Ladle the sauce into middle of dough circle, and with a rubber spatula, spread until the surface is completely covered. Place the mozzarella (1 cup per 12-inch pizza) on top of the sauce. Remember, the cheese will spread as it melts in the oven, so don’t worry if it seems as if your pizza is not amply covered with cheese.
- Place in the oven and bake as directed for the pizza dough.
- When the pizza is done, garnish it with Parmigiano-Reggiano and, if using, the arugula. Squeeze the lemon all over the greens and/or drizzle with olive oil if you wish. Now go eat!