Thursday, March 13, 2008

when the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie...

that's amore. according to some oldies song anyways. for me, it means it's times
to make some pizza. no, i don't mean make a call to order some pizza but time to take out your flour and pizza stone and get ready for some good eating. that's what i did this past weekend. now it's your turn?

i started out with Elise from Simply Recipes recipe for pizza dough as a base and made a few modifications of my own. The last time I made pizza I also made extra of my spiked marinara sauce and put it in the freezer for later use. this pizza was going to be it's " later use." i had also been to the store that day and picked up some fresh white and cremini mushrooms, bell peppers, basil - yes basil, onions, and fresh mozzarella. i was lucky enough to find the basil at our local farmer's market for a $1.50 which was exciting because i've been looking for the hard to find green since valentine's day with no luck. the price was also a steal because even when it is in season, good luck finding it for under $3. one more reason to love the farmer's market. my finds at the store plus some leftover roasted red pepper and pepperoni would be my choice of toppings for this occasion. feel free to go with whatever you have though. hungry for meat? throw in some salami, ground beef, sausage, prosciutto, rotisserie chicken, ham. whatever you want. me? im a little more of a traditionalist and wasn't real hungry for meat this time. you say you're a traditionalist too? try this then...

Pizza Dough

adapted from Simply Recipes

Makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F) - [[ i cut this in half to 5 oz water ]]
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package) [[ i used 1 1/8 t sp]]
  • 31/2 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust) [[ i used 1 3/4 c of all-purpose flour ]]
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil [[ i used 1 tbsp ]]
  • 2 teaspoons salt [[1 tsp ]]
  • 1 teaspoon sugar [[ 1/2 tsp ]]
  • i added 1 tsp dried parlsey also to the dough, thus the green specks.

1 In the large bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer (such as a Kitchen Aid), add the warm water. Sprinkle on the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve completely if needed at the end of 5 minutes.

2 Attach a mixing paddle to the mixer. Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar on low speed for about a minute. Remove the mixing paddle and replace with a dough hook. Knead using the mixer and dough hook, on low to medium speed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, you can mix and knead by hand.

3 Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you don't have a warm spot in the house you can heat the oven to 150 degrees, and then turn off the oven. Place the bowl of dough in this warmed oven to rise.

At this point, if you want to make ahead, you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Preparing the pizza:

1.Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

2 Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down so it deflates a bit. Divide the dough in half. Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

3 Prepare your desired toppings.

4 Working one ball of dough at a time, take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter - 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. You can pinch the very edges if you want to form a lip

5 Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Use your finger tips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest another 5 minutes. Repeat with the second ball of dough.

6 Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel (or flat baking sheet) with corn meal. Transfer one prepared flattened dough to the pizza peel. If the dough has lost its shape in the transfer, lightly shape it to the desired dimensions.

7 Spoon on the tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza.

8 Sprinkle some cornmeal on the baking stone in the oven (watch your hands, the oven is hot!). Gently shake the peel to see if the dough will easily slide, if not, gently lift up the edges of the pizza and add a bit more cornmeal. Slide the pizza off of the peel and on to the baking stone in the oven. Bake pizza one at a time until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. If you want, toward the end of the cooking time you can sprinkle on a little more cheese.

We like to start by spreading about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sauce over the dough then sometimes sprinkling some crushed red pepper or dried parsley and our vegetables. With our selection of toppings this past weekend our layers started out with:

  • marinara sauce
  • basil
  • sliced green bell pepper
  • roasted red pepper
  • sliced red onion
  • sliced white and cremini mushrooms
  • pepperoni
  • shredded mozzarella


Nicolette (Nikki) Miller-Ka said...

I don't like pepperoni unless it's crispy but I've been eating a lot of turkey pepperoni lately.

Your pizzas look great. Did you use all of your dough or did you freeze some "for later use"?

ness said...

turkey pepperoni is actually what i used too. since i cut Elise's recipe in half, it made just enough for 2 personal pies. next time though, i'm gonna do the full amount and definitely freeze the rest of it. thanks for your comments.

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