Saint Francis, Italian-American Style

This post was written by past Catholic Cuisine contributor Amy.

Like many kids, when I was young I imagined I was adopted. I can recall asking my sister, who was ten years older than me, if I was. She told me flat out good luck. I looked way too much like the rest of family to even pretend I was adopted.

Having to give up that, I decided I wanted to be Italian. I figured I loved Italian food so much I had to be Italian… and maybe I was… I could have been adopted after all. Over the years this love of Italian food really consumed me. Anything Italian was generally ok with me! I also began to develop my own recipes, usually variations on marinara sauces.

One of our family favorites, however, has become our Sunday night pizza. There is nothing like homemade pizza and once you realize how relatively easy it is, it won’t be worth all the trouble of calling for cardboard with some tomato sauce slapped on top!

Since today is the Feast of Saint Francis, an utterly cool saint I must add, I thought I would share my recipe for pizza with you!

My recipe is really just a variation off my bread dough recipe. Just a little different. Roll it out, toss it on the stone (if you are lucky enough to have one) and cover it with goodness... and there you have it: PURE JOY.

Amy's Pizza Dough

3 cups of warm water
1 Tablespoon of yeast
1 Tablespoon salt (I prefer Kosher)
1/4 cup olive oil (you can use others, but olive is the best)
Flour (white, wheat, whatever floats your boat)

Let yeast dissolve in water add salt (if you feel like being fancy you can add some garlic salt instead or add a nice dried herb like basil, just don't overdo it) and oil. Add enough flour to make dough smooth and elastic (you need to make sure you do not add too much flour, as this will make it impossible to stretch out). If you have some cornmeal sprinkle it on your stone or pan, and stretch dough out to fit the pan you are using. This recipe usually can make**two to three** pizzas depending on how big you want it. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes.

**CORRECTION 10/9/2008**

That is it.

Now, it is a main consensus that you need a really hot oven to make a decent pizza, but I have yet to test this. You do not know how scary a room full of five kids and husband can be when looking at a charred and burned pizza.

I generally cover the dough with my homemade sauce (unless I am lazy and then I only sprinkle it with some tomato sauce), whatever is in the kitchen or garden, and some mozzarella cheese. Oh and make sure you don't overload the pizza! It will make it very hard to eat and the dough might not cook well.

Amy's Homemade Sauce:

1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 7 ½-ounce can of diced
tomatoes, undrained
½ cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon oregano
2 cloves garlic, crushed (or 1 Teaspoon garlic salt)
Salt to taste

Bring to boiling and then lower heat and simmer
for about 10 minutes.


One of our favorite topping combos is spinach, feta, mozzarella, and tomato (I will even add pineapple sometimes). Another favorite but highly less uptown is Taco. Skip the sauce, cover dough with refried beans, a little salsa, and cheddar cheese. Cook and then cover with tomatoes, lettuce, and crushed Doritos chips. Top all that with a dollop of sour cream. That one is definitely a slice you will need a fork for!Since this is the Feast of Saint Francis you can be even more creative and toss some truly Italian toppings on that dough and sauce. Anything goes! What about Sundried tomatoes and a variety of Italian cheeses? Parmigianino and, of course, mozzarella?

The key is to have fun with it!

This is a pretty easy way to enjoy a great meal and generally these are all things you have around the house, so no special trip to the store! I think Saint Francis would approve!

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  1. I *LOVE* this recipe Amy!! It is so delicious, and gets better every time I make it. Making homemade pizza always overwhelmed me until I tried your recipe!! I think we will be having this for dinner tonight. Thanks for posting it here!

  2. I need to fix it though! It makes way more than 1 1/2 pizzas! More like 3!!
    Thanks Jessica!

  3. Amy, Can you give some idea how much flour to use? Thanks!

  4. Anonymous, I'm not Amy, but her recipe is almost exactly what I always use and that requires between 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour, depending on the humidity of the kitchen: more humid = more flour.
    Hope this helps!