Monday, July 27, 2009

Pizza vera

I have made pizza before and it was decent but the crust was totally faking it. And honestly, it was tasty, but not really good pizza, you know? More like glorified takeout. Recently, I finally made my own crust and dignified it with good ingredients, and the results were awesome. It's incredibly easy to make your own pizza dough--I don't know why I wasn't sold on it earlier in life.For your pizza dough, mix 1 teaspoon instant yeast with 2 ½ cups bread flour (or regular flour if that's what you have on hand), plus ½ cup of cornmeal and 2 teaspoons salt. Add in 1 cup water and 2 generous tablespoons olive oil. Mix it all up well... It should very quickly coalesce into a raggedy lump. Turn out the dough on floured surface and knead it once or twice, shaping it into a ball:knead, knead...and...ball!Set the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with a dishtowel and let rise for about 1 hour somewhere warm, such as your summertime in georgia porch. You can slow it down by putting it in the fridge if need be. After an hour or so (it can sit for up to two hours and be fine, probably) divide the dough in two and form a couple of tidy little balls. Now let them take a second, shorter rise, covered on your countertop for another 10-20 minutes. At this point, you have enough for two nice pizzas. Stretch and shape the dough to fit on an oiled pan (I always lay it out on the back side of a cookie sheet) and layer a thin coat of sauce over the surface. And then the toppings are up to you! The only rule is to use a light hand so you don't get a soggy pie. I made a rucola e prosciutto pizza: thin slices of fresh mozzarella plus prosciutto and arugula.By the way, real quick, here's what I usually make for a pizza sauce: sauté 1 small, minced yellow onion in olive oil until lightly golden and soft (about 10 - 15 minues), then add 2 minced cloves of garlic. Stir all together for another minute, then sauté the contents of one small can of tomato paste for 1-2 additional minutes before adding red pepper flakes, a half-can of whole, peeled roma tomatoes (they come in a big, jumbo 48 ounce can of which I use half), 2 teaspoons sugar and about 1/3 cup of red wine. Simmer it all together, stirring frequently, and allow it to get somewhat reduced and thick. After about 30 minutes, take off heat and put it through a food mill to get a nice, smooth thick puree. You can do it while your dough is rising. After the pizza bakes for about 20 minutes, I use this crazy mezzaluna tool to cut it into squares:Another great combination is thinly sliced chorizo and pineapple together.It has that irresistible salty-sweet thing going on.

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