For years and years I’ve seen TV chefs and restaurant cooks making spaghetti sauce form scratch. And yet for some reason, I never did it… until now. This fantastic homemade spaghetti sauce blew me away. Not only is it easy to make (with ingredients I almost always have in my pantry and fridge) it tastes absolutely amazing. I’ll never have any other pasta sauce again. Ever.
You can make this sauce without adding either the meatballs or Italian sausage and it’s still out-of-this-world great. I happen to like them, so I added them. This is a great pantry sauce and one I’ll make again and again, and the meat can be optional.
Make sure you get the best whole tomatoes your store has to offer. They won’t be cheap, but trust me, the difference in taste and consistency is worth the few extra bucks.
They’re not anything fancy. Heck, you might even consider them to be ‘kids’ food, but for some reason I really, really enjoyed these easy French onion burgers. I made mine on the grill, but you can just as easily make them on the stovetop. Think of them as French dip burgers in a way. The patties soak up some of that French onion yumminess. And just in case you want more, there’s a little bowl of more French onion on the side for dippin’. And I did a lot of dippin’, I tell ya!
The key to these easy French onion burgers is to not overcook the patties before they go into the soup to ‘finish’. Get them close to done, then remove them and let them go a for a soupy swim to soak up all that great oniony flavor. The patties will come out juicy, dripping good stuff, ready to devour!
I love my KettlePizza grill attachment. But I am by no means an expert at using it. I have, however, come up with a simple technique for using it that produces great pizza each and every time. Some day I aspire to be a pizza aficionado, baking completely scratch-made pizza after pizza without a single mistake. Until then, I prefer my easier method that still produces absolutely fantastic pizza with a crunchy crust and hot, bubbly, melted cheese.
When I first started making pizzas using the KettlePizza I ran into two obstacles. First, my homemade dough had too much moisture in it and it liked to stick to my pan or stone. A lot. Second, my heat was not even or didn’t last long enough for more than a few pizzas.
There are plenty of great dough recipes out there (Matt Frampton’s for instance) if you want to make your own. I prefer to use store-bought frozen (Tiseo’s brand), for now at least. I’ve never had anything but success with it. I can make a big batch of pizzas at once with no fuss at all. Each and every one comes out as good as the last. The dough is also great for making bread sticks.
I’ve tried pizza screens and cooking directly on the pizza stone, with some success but I’ve found the most success using pizza pans. I have 5 pans so I can pre-make several pizzas. I oil the pans very lightly by pouring olive oil onto a paper towel then wiping it around the pan. I also sprinkle the pan with a light coating of cornmeal, as if I was cooking directly on a stone. I’ve never had a pizza stick with this technique. Well, the dough doesn’t stick. Cheese that melts and runs over the sides will stick to the pan. It’s going to happen, but it’s not the end of the world.
My fire arrangement now is simple: make a horseshoe-shaped pile of unlit coals around the grill, but not underneath the tombstone-shaped stone. I then add lit charcoal on top of that, and then wood chunks. If the temperature drops too far I’ll add more fist-sized wood chunks around the edges and in the basket that comes with the KettlePizza. I use long tongs to add the wood so that it doesn’t fall beneath the stone. I press it lightly into the piles of charcoal to make sure it doesn’t roll off.
If you’re serious about making pizza on your 22″ charcoal grill, get the “Serious Eats” kit from KettlePizza.
Place the dough in the fridge and let defrost overnight.
Two hours before cook time, remove the dough from the fridge and place on the countertop to come to room temperature.
I prefer to assemble my pizzas while the charcoal is getting hot. You can also make them ahead of time and keep at room temperature until ready to cook.
Place 1/2 chimney of unlit charcoal around the back of your grill in the shape of a horseshoe, with the open part towards the front of the grill.
Light another 1/2 chimney of charcoal. This is when I assemble my pizzas as it can take 20-30 minutes for the charcoal to get hot.
To make the pizza, lightly dust a flat surface with flour. Using your hands, shape the dough as desired. Try to not overwork the dough, and do not use a rolling pin.
Add sauce and toppings as desired.
Lightly oil a pizza pan. Yes, you can make the pizza directly on the stone but I've had more luck with a pan. You can read more about that in the recipe text in my post.
Lightly sprinkle the pan with cornmeal.
Slide the pizza onto the pan.
Once the charcoal is ashed over pour it over the unlit coals. Add 3-4 fist-sized wood chunks around the edges (I use tongs to keep them from falling beneath the stone) and a few good chunks in the charcoal basket. Add the KettlePizza grate and stone. Add the grill cover.
Let the stone get good and hot. Usually I let it go to around 600 F.
Transfer the pan to the grill. Bake for 5 minutes then spin the pan 90 degrees. Keep baking/spinning every minute or so until the pizza is done to your liking.
You can cook 3-4 pizzas without adding more wood or charcoal. If you do add fuel let it burn a while before adding more pizzas.
Let the pizza rest a few minutes before slicing.
These instructions are for the KettlePizza Tombstone-shaped baking stone. The same approach should apply when just using a round stone, but I have not tried it.