Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Homemade Pizza

A day off but another day of rain...even flash flood warnings and the temperature is a toasty 60F. We need the rain but I have stuff to do outside. Oh well. Still, I did get in a couple of hours in the gym and a few hours of guitar practice so all is not lost.

Thinking of something for dinner on this rainy day brought to mind pizza which I don't do as much as I used to since it involves bread which I try and limit but every once in a while it is a must have.
If you don't make your own pizza it home, from scratch, you are really missing out and if you go out for pizza you are going to pay dearly for a good pizza which are few and far between to boot.

Here is a quick recipe for making your own dough and sauce at home out of inexpensive (mostly) ingredients and it will produce a very nice pie that is way better than what you find at most pizza places. Cost out all the ingredients and you'll see that it is pretty cheap eats as well.

For speed and ease I use a food processor which takes a lot of work out of kneading.

In the bowl of the processor (with the regular blade) put

3 cups of bread flour (preferred for the extra chewiness) or you can use regular unbleached AP.
1 tsp of rapid rise yeast (or a packet) with the processor running add 1 and 1/3 cups of water and whirr it until the dough just comes together (maybe ten seconds) so that all the flour is moistened.

Let it rest in the bowl for about 10- 15 minutes.

add a Tablespoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and a teaspoon of kosher salt and then process it for another 30 to 60 seconds until it forms a nice smooth ball. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise covered for a couple of hours. You can also just put the bowl in the fridge and use it the next day which actually make a better tasting dough but if you are like me you decide to make pizza and you want it in a couple  of hours. Yes, this is a pretty wet dough and a bit sticky....just oil your hands and get it done.....hint.. move quickly.

This is an uncooked sauce and it brings a nice freshness to the party plus it is easy.

1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes (San Marzano are good but not absolutely necessary) well drained with the liquid down the drain.
1 Tbl sp of EVOO
1 Tsp wine vinegar
1 Tsp kosher salt
a couple of cloves of minced fresh garlic
1 heaping Tsp of dried oregano
a couple of grinds (1/4 tsp) of black pepper.

Whirr it all in the food processor until it is smooth. Set aside for the pizza making.

BTW  for a really good pizza you should have a baking stone and you should set your oven for its highest setting..mine will go to 550F. No baking stone then a cookie sheet will have to do. The other option being to get some 6 inch quarry tile from Home Depot and line one shelf of your oven with them. Not ideal but it works.

When you are all ready and the dough is risen. Divide the dough into half and each half should make about a 12 - 14 inch pizza (depends on how thin you want it. I like mine pretty thin.) If you don't need two pizzas the extra dough will keep in the fridge for a few days and actually get more flavorful.

Spread the dough out on a floured surface or use parchment paper and using your hands spread and press it out until you get a 13 or so inch circle. If you want to use a rolling pin go for it but the loose dough should allow you to do it by hand. This makes a thin crust but I like thin crust and this is my recipe...you want thick crust then use all the dough and make one.

Once you are there and you are ready to bake (your oven should be hot by now) spread the sauce thinly around leaving a small border. A couple of handfuls of fresh mozzarella and about a 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan (Use the good stuff Reggiano) and slip that puppy in the screaming hot oven. It won't take but about 15 minutes in a really hot oven but keep and eye on it and pull it out once the crust is brown and the cheese bubbling.

I'm a minimalist when it comes to pizza so all I might add to the cheese is some fresh basil or some baby arugula after t comes out of the oven. If you like other stuff just be careful not to overload it as it will keep the crust from doing what it should. A handful of pepperoni or sausage, a whisper of green peppers or onions or even some sauteed mushrooms(don't use raw, they will make the pizza soggy). You want to taste the crust and the sauce and the cheese but put whatever you like on it just in moderation.

Now I'm hungry.

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