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March 24, 2011. Still no summer tomatoes and basil when you’re in the mood for pizza these days. So I browsed the fridge and found some of that profoundly great salsa verde. And some tomato paste. Could be good. Then I saw some leftover chorizo sausage. Looks a lot like pepperoni. Could be great.

And it is. An almost classic pizza with a Spanish accent. The sweet fruitiness of the Italian tomato paste blended perfectly with the light, bright, tart and spicy salsa verde. Great on top of bubbling mozzarella. And beneath the thinnest slices of the great Spanish sausage flavored with pimentón.

You should try this. It’s delicious. If you’ve kept your fridge stocked with your own salsa and pizza dough, five minutes of effort makes a spectacularly tasty, cheap and low-calorie pizza.

Roll it
Pre-heat your oven and pizza stone to 550 or its highest possible temperature. Meanwhile, roll out your dough into a crust or two, just like in Pizza 101. If you’ve advanced to Pizza 102, toss it. Then prepare your toppings.

The Chorizo Pizza
Whisk together 4 tablepsoons of salsa verde and two or three tablespoons of concentrated tomato paste. This will be enough to cover a 12-inch crust with a thin and intensely tasty sauce. Taste while you whisk until you get the flavor balance right for you.

Cut two or three slices of fresh mozzarella. Then cut them into small, squares to spread around the pizza crust. There should be gaps between the pieces and none of the cheese should be closer than a half inch to the edge. The squares will melt and spread into each other. You don’t want any going over the edge, and you don’t want a thick, heavy layer of cheese.

Put the pizza crust and mozzarella in the oven for a couple of minutes – just long enough to start the cheese meltdown. Take it out. Spread the salsa on top. Scatter the chorizo slices on that.

Back into the oven for three or four minutes. When the pizza crust goes golden brown around the edges, you’re done.

Eat it while it’s hot! The cheese is bubbling. The chorizo is smoky. The salsa verde-tomato sauce is sweet, tart and a little spicy. The whole thing is rich and luscious.

Have a blast making it. Trying to get your kids or significant other into cooking and eating healthy foods? Pizza with great toppings is as close as you get to a sure thing.

For your convenience
If you’d like a quick refresher course in rolling your own pizza dough, here’s the video:

Click if you’d like to see all of Pizza 101. Or Pizza 102.

Cost-Benefit Analysis
Roll your own . . .

Better Cheaper: 34 cents per 10 – 12” crust! My “recipe” makes three 8-ounce crusts for $1:
3 cups of flour = $.57
2 tblsp of olive oil = $.28
2 tsp of kosher salt = $.02
2 tsp instant yeast = $.15
A little more than a dollar for the leftover salsa verde, a little tomato paste, mozzarella and chorizo. A great $2 pizza. Vegetarians skip the sausage and save 30 cents.

Cost Comparison
Pillsbury’s 13.8-ounce package of frozen dough costs $2.50. That’s $1.25 for a 6.9-ounce crust vs. 34 cents for our 8-ounce crust. Per ounce, the Dough Boy’s stuff costs 4 times more than homemade. And you’re paying for stuff you don’t want: Dextrose, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (transfat), Glucono Delta-Lactone and Mono- and Diglycerides. I rest my dough.

For $15.99, the Domino’s in my neighborhood will make one 12″ pie with shredded mozzarella, chopped tomatoes and sauce, pepperoni. It’ll come with sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean oil (transfat), the dreaded high fructose corn syrup, sugar and/or mono- and tri-glycerides. Better is Cheaper.

Let’s Do The Math
The calorie count for the flour and oil in each homemade pizza crust is about 480. The sugar added to most store- bought frozen pizza dough nearly doubles that number.

Total calories for the Chorizo Pizza: 575. Your half: 45 minutes of brisk walking.

Domino’s? 920 calories. Somebody’s half: A brisk 1-hour 20-minute walk.

Better is Cheaper.

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