Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grown Up English Muffin Pizzas

Last night I made some pizzas for dinner. Homemade pizza is nothing interesting or special, but it is a quick and easy crowd pleaser with my whole family. What's special to me about homemade pizza is what I do with the leftover sauce the next day.

I make english muffin pizzas, and I make them a tiny bit more sophisticated than what you probably ate when you were a kid. The english muffin pizzas of my childhood involved my mom opening a can of "pizza sauce", spooning it onto english muffins, topping it with one slice of american cheese, then toasting it. Now, if that nostalgic flash back is what you're going for when you eat english muffin pizzas then by all means, don't let me stand in your way. But if you'd enjoy trying something that still sends you back, but with some bolder flavors, try my recipe for grown up english muffin pizzas.

It starts with the sauce. My sister gave me this idea, and we should all bow down to her because with one simple suggestion, she made preparing homemade pizza and all of the resultant english muffin pizzas a million times easier and tastier.

To make quick and easy "homemade" pizza sauce:

Combine a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce and a 6 oz. can of tomato paste in a microwave safe bowl. Add in a dash (about 2 tbsp) of red wine, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of grated romano cheese, and 1 tbsp of oregano. Mix well, then microwave for 1 minute. It's that ridiculously easy. If you had the time and desire to take it a step further, you could do this in a sauce pan and begin with some minced garlic, but you will still get a flavorful sauce if you do it in the microwave. I don't microwave very often when I'm cooking, but this is one time when it's a good idea. The result is a relatively thick, sweet tomato sauce, perfect for pizza.

The english muffin pizzas only require 4 things; english muffins, garlic, your leftover sauce, and some grated romano cheese. I start by toasting the english muffins plain. This is important because if you put all the sauce and cheese on before you toast them, you're going to end up with a soggy mess. Toasting them first preserves the integrity of the english muffin. While they're toasting, microwave your sauce until it's lukewarm. Once the english muffins come out of the toaster, rub them with a clove of garlic. Just peel one and cut it in half so that the juicy side is exposed, and rub it against the flat side of your english muffins. Top them liberally with the sauce, then sprinkle a liberal amount of romano cheese onto them. Press the romano cheese into the sauce. It will almost end up like a paste.

And voila! English muffin pizzas that are slightly more flavorful, slightly crispier, and extremely easy to make. When you factor in the added bonus of using up your leftovers, why wouldn't you want to make these? I almost look forward to english muffin pizzas the next day more than the pizza we had the night before.

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