Tonight’s dinner was a riff on this Cooking Light recipe. And it was so good, on so many levels, that I am compelled to delineate them all. Bear with me.
First up: the dough. I made the pizza dough from Baking Illustrated (using the half whole wheat flour modification) and let it rise in the fridge ~20 hours. The dough was much easier to shape than the Bread Bible version, thanks to a healthy respect for gluten on the part of the formulators. It was still a bit holey and uneven, but I am a pizza crust novice, so that’s to be expected. It baked up deliciously, with an open, chewy crumb and a slightly crunchy crust.
Next: the sauce. For entirely frivolous reasons, I got a late start on dinner tonight, and I did not feel like making pizza sauce the old-fashioned way. The major differences between tomato sauce, pizza sauce, and tomato paste are percent hydration and degree of seasoning. So could I just dilute tomato paste? Yes! I didn’t have a few hours to let it steep, though, so I applied the time-temperature superposition principle. (For the record, this is a chemical/diffusive process and not a viscoelastic one, so the temperature dependence is probably Arrhenius rather than Vogel-Fulcher. And yes, I’m in the middle of comps, how could you tell?) I sauteed the garlic in little olive oil, then added 6 oz high-quality tomato paste and 12 oz water. I went with dried herbs rather than fresh, because they’d be improved rather than muted by the heat and liquid. Long story short: perfect pizza sauce.
Now for the veggies. The yellow squash I used was from my garden, the very first vegetable to be harvested! I salted and drained the eggplant and squash before using them. This procedure is great for firming up eggplant. I hoped it would do the same for squash, which has a tendency to get goopy in the middle. The squash stayed solid through two roasting steps. I don’t know if the salting and draining are to thank, or if this young, fresh squash (!) would have held its shape regardless.