Monday, January 18, 2021

Pizza at Home - Alli makes Tomato Pie pizza

Happy Sunday! Today we're making a pizza special for Alli. Whenever I ask about toppings for pizza, she's been asking for the same thing for a long time. Just crust and sauce! 
I've got the perfect pizza for you then! It's called a tomato pie pizza! Also known as red bread, strip pizza, church pizza, or even cold pizza, because often this pizza is served at room temperature or even chilled!

Me - "Alli, do you want to help me in the kitc..."
Alli - "Yes!!! I want to help!"
I love that about her. She's always willing to help make creations and she's got a good attitude. She was excited to learn about the pizza we were going to create together. 

If we're going to have something called tomato pie pizza, we can't use just any old pizza sauce. We're going to make something special. It starts the day before because like most good sauces, the flavors need some time to hang out together. 
The recipe for the sauce and the dough comes from for a Philadelphia Tomato Pie

First, we'll learn some knife skills, keeping our fingers well out of the way of the blade, and letting the knife do the work. 

I showed her how to do the first one, and then she did all the rest! 

Gathering all our sliced tomatoes, I drizzled olive oil on them, then she sprinkled them with salt and pepper. 

They're going into the oven for 35 minutes while we work on the other part of this sauce. 

Alli and I took turns adding ingredients. She's great at getting a level spoonful of seasoning and adding it without spilling. 

I'm using the fine cheese grater to add garlic. 

Stir it all together and let it reduce. 

It's really wet right now. That's not good for a pizza sauce. It'll need to thicken up. 

Our tomatoes are done!

Into the pan they go. We need to break up everything so it's all going into the food processor. 

After a round through the food processor, all the big chunks are gone. It went back on the stove to reduce further, and it was making the house smell fantastic. 

Hey Alli, want a taste before it goes into the fridge overnight? 
She thinks it's pretty tasty! I agree! It was good!

The next day when we woke up, we walked from our house to the beach, making sure we take the time to smell the beautiful roses. 

Hermosa Beach is certainly beautiful. 

The kids had fun playing in the sand, building sandcastles, and getting wet in the water. 

Theresa remarked that she's amazed about how that outfit still fits Alli. She bought it for our Asia Disney trip back in October 2018. 2.5 years later it still fits!

When we got home, Alli and I needed to get started on the pizza dough. It's like a focaccia bread and it needs a lot of different rises. Alli measured out the ingredients. 

I asked her if she knew what the different ingredients did, like yeast. 
Alli - Oh yes. It makes the dough big and fluffy!
Me - That's right! How did you know that? 
Alli - Chip and Dale
Turns out there's a Chip and Dale Nutty Tales where they're baking muffins and add a ton of extra yeast. 

Slowly added the chilled water and oil, and let the machine do the work kneading the dough. 

The dough goes onto a floured surface and then gets folded, and rests for 30 minutes. 

It's still a really sticky dough, so Alli had to make sure to flour her hands before pulling up the dough to fold. 

It's something like 3 different fold/rest 30 minutes, so the time adds up. 

Almost there. To prep for the bread going into the oven, we've got to get it spread across this 12"x17" baking sheet. Alli is brushing olive oil across the entire thing, plus the corners. 

Using her fingers to spread the sticky dough into all the corners of the pan. Now it needs an hour to rise in the pan. I put it near the window in the sunshine for some extra warmth. 

Last week we made garlic knots, and while they were delicious, the didn't quite have the flavor that Theresa was looking for. I'm pretty sure that's because it had parsley as the greenery versus something with more flavor. Theresa found me an alternate recipe for the garlic seasoning from for Killer Garlic Knots. It involved warming butter and olive oil, then mixing in minced (I used the grater) garlic, and italian seasoning. It cooked for 30 seconds, and then sat on the counter for an hour while all the flavors melded together. 

After an hour, our focaccia dough is nicely risen. It's going into a 425F oven for 18 minutes. 

And while that's baking it's give me time to get these garlic knots cut up, tied, and on a baking sheet for their final 30 minute rise. 

Once the pizza crust was out of the oven, the first step was to cool it down! This pizza is intended to be served at room temperature, so I've got to get the temperature lower. Now it's time to spread out our sauce!

Alli and I grabbed a silicone spatula and spread all the sauce onto the baked crust. 

Great Alli! Very even!

To finish it off, just the lightest dusting of parmesan cheese. 

Awesome! Let's eat!

Alli, what do you think? How did it turn out? 
Alli - It's the best!

My plate tonight. 

The dough is really spongy. The yeast certainly did its job. The pizza is both Big and Fluffy!

For Ian's pizza, I added some pepperonis and tossed it back into the oven for a few minutes. He loved it too. 

Grammy and Grandpa loved it too. Grammy compared the crust to a cake. And our tomato sauce, despite only having 1.5 Tbs of sugar was very sweet. I guess the flavor of the tomatoes is pretty sweet, and after reducing them down, it really comes through. 

Theresa wouldn't stop raving about these garlic knots. She's said that this recipe is what she remembers the C&O Trattoria's garlic knots tasting like. No more experimenting needed, this is what I should make going forward. 

And this little girl agrees with her mommy on this one too. After eating her pizza, and her soup, she still managed to put away 5 garlic knots! She must be hungry from all that exercising we did today. 5+ miles walking and at least 30 minutes on the trampoline. 
Alli, you did great with the pizza making today! Everyone was a fan!


  1. Big and fluffy...the tomato pie looks delicious, Alli!...and I learned about tomato pies, too (never heard of them until now) Alli had such an "oh my goodness, that was good!" expression after tasting the freshly made sauce...nice one! Got a real kick watching the Chip and Dale "Minnie Muffin" short...left me smiling :-) Home run with the garlic knots...better not change the "swing"! Such a beautiful day to enjoy the beach and do outdoor activities. What another yummy pizza Sunday! EOM

    1. Pizza day has been a lot of fun. It's been a challenge to figure out something new each week. But inevitably, someone will mention something random and I'll be inspired. Just like this one with Alli only liking plain sauce pizza. I knew something existed like it, I just had to find a good recipe to follow.