Friday, May 13, 2011

my new (quick, easy, delish) pizza pie

not my pizza. but in case you needed a visual.
Friday Night Movie Nights usually means ordering Dominos, but tonight I made the best homemade pizza I have ever had. I have terrible luck with homemade pizza crust. It is usually tasteless and not a great texture. And it usually involves hours of rising. I found a recipe that looked like it would fit my time constraints, kept my expectations low and made a few easy modifications. Here is the original recipe with my modifications parenthetically:

1 package active dry yeast or 2-ish teaspoons
1 teaspoon white sugar (I put 2 1/2 tsp sugar)
1 cup warm water (not hot)
2 1/2 cups flour (I added 1 tsp gluten and mixed well. I think this was the biggest improvement to the recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I added an extra T olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt
optional - herbs, fresh or dried, olives etc (didn't have any, but I did shake some oregano on the cheese before baking)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
If adding any dried or fresh herbs etc add to the oil to ensure a good dispersion through the crust.
Stir in flour, salt and oil to yeast mix. Stir until combined. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round.
Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or oven tray dusted with cornmeal or flour.
Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
**I sometimes make with half plain flour and half wholemeal.
**Dough can be left (post mixing) for half an hour to ensure a thinner crust (I cut and pasted this line from the original page, but I don't understand why leaving it post-mixing would yield a thinner crust. I did not let it rise at all (beyond the 5 min in the bowl) and it was a nice fluffy crust with a crisp bottom.)

I also discovered that we had no sauce, so I modified a homemade pasta sauce. Here is the original link: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/01/tomato-sauce-with-butter-and-onions/
To that I added a small can of tomato paste, discovered that made it bitter so then added a tsp or two of sugar, some parm shake cheese and a bit of dried Italian herbs until it tasted right. I cooked the sauce for like 15 minutes on a fast little boil.

Covered everything in mozz and cheddar (and added the onions from the pasta sauce). I baked it on a pizza stone, which is an absolute must if you want to enjoy homemade pizza.

Will informed me that the smell of the pizza made him sick, and Andrew rejected it after a bite, but I maintain that this is good pizza. Brigham admitted that he was sad when he saw the remains on the stone, believing himself to be in for a night of soggy cardboard tastelessness but changed his tune. During my interrogation of him re the pizza, he said that it was the best homemade pizza he has had and if it were served at a restaurant people would like it. Admittedly, Brigham is no gourmand (his primary goal in eating is "to get full"), but I liked it, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Your recipe sounds a lot like the one I use. I'll have to try out your modifications. I haven't tried using gluten yet, and we still don't own a pizza stone- we just use a big cookie sheet. You've inspired me to try tweaking ours. It sounds awesome, even without Brigham's enthusiastic endorsement. :)

Eliza said...

We do Friday night pizza night too! I must admit that for about the past 8 months, more often than not Pizza Night features Wegmans brand frozen. Always disappointing to Matt I'm sure but my kids do not care.

I used to do the "5 minutes a day" dough which is kinda "meh" for pizza. Now I am almost exclusively a Trader Joe's pizza dough person. 99 cents for 1 lb of dough, you can't beat it. Especially since it costs about 50-99 cents a lb to make from scratch. I learned about the TJ's dough from my sister Hannah and we also do her favorite pizza topping regularly: a can of diced tomatoes (drained); tons of minced garlic; and fresh mozzarella slices. Maybe basil if I have it. Delicious.

I also make the Smitten Kitchen sauce regularly. No one else in my family likes it quite as much as I do but it is so fresh and sweet and easy and I always have the ingredients on hand.

Your dough recipe sounds great though; someday I will try it. Hooray for recipes that work. I love it when that happens! And echo the pizza stone too. I love ours. It makes everything taste better, not just pizza but also bread and cookies and whatever else one might make on a sheet pan.