If you are anything like me, you love PIZZA. I am such a fan that I have started dedicating Saturdays in my kitchen to the pursuit of pizza. My way. May I suggest you make a pizza at home!
No doubt it is one of the world’s best loved foods. Let’s forget about the differences in pizza originating in Italy or pies hot from a New York oven.
What could be better than an oven-baked pie covered with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese?
What you top your pizza with tells a lot about you.
For the record, you can have all the pineapple, bbq chicken, taco mix and chocolate sprinkles you want on yours. I will pass. Thank you.
This brings us to ingredients that probably need no mention. Salami, pork sausage, pepperoni, anchovies, mushrooms and your choice of cheese blends.
What about flour? Personally, I like the “OO” grind of white flour which I understand is favored amongst serious pie makers.
It usually turns out nice. I buy mine at the local Whole Foods. Hard to find otherwise and mail order is always an option.
What else do we need? Flour, yeast… I go heavy on the yeast. I don’t follow an exact measured recipe. Olive oil, salt, sugar, and some hot water.
What to do first. Start with a large bowl. We are doing this by hand remember so it is going to take a little work. Very hot but not boiling water.
Dissolve pizza dough yeast into the hot water. Wait for it to foam, that’s how you know the yeast is active. Add your olive oil, salt, sugar to the bowl.
Remember, we are eyeballing here not making exact measurements. Then blend in the flour about a cup at a time. The flour will turn into a goo. No problem. Keep working the dough and adding more flour and water little by little. Within a few minutes, you will have a dough ball. It should smell of yeast. I use a fork to turn the ball. I add flour as the ball turns that takes away the stickiness. Important later when you roll out your dough. Once you have the ball, set it aside in a bowl with a wet paper towel over and let the yeast puff up the dough. I usually make the dough ball the day before so I can rise and punch down the dough a number of times.
Once you are ready to roll out the dough you will need a rolling pin and some flour. The ideal surface is a large granite counter top but if it is not available, then try a flat sheet of newspaper and flour. It works fine don’t worry. Remember we are making this pie from scratch without machinery.
If you can’t throw the dough into the air, this takes practice, then roll out your dough to about 20 inches or so. Place it on your pizza pan. Next go to the sauce and spread out about 6 ounces or so of sauce with a ladle. The crust won’t burn where there is sauce so keep this in mind. Work it to the edges of your pie.
Here is a hint. If you are making pie for fussy eaters, use a blender and add some mushrooms, garlic, and anchovies to the sauce and blend. This will hide the texture and improve the taste. Your fuss buttons won’t know the difference but will just think it tastes good. Fussy eaters are simple I guess. If that doesn’t work, reiterate that you made this pie from scratch and if they don’t like it that just leaves more for me. I know this works. Don’t let yourself get pushed around. We are making PIZZA here. This is serious.
Get a good layer of pepperoni down. Brown off some mild Italian pork sausage, chop it up then sprinkle over the pie. You can start with the cheese, Mozzarella or a blend of cheeses about 8 to 10 ounces shredded with does the trick. Once you have the look you want it is time for the oven. 450 degrees for 12 minutes should give you a good firm crust and not overcook the toppings. You can go longer at a lower temp but I like it the other way around. High temp and short time. Once again, wood fired brick ovens can top 800 degrees. We are cooking at home.
Once the pie looks ready it probably is. Pull it out and let it rest for a few minutes. Set the table, have some parmigiano-reggiano and garlic salt at the ready on the table.
Cut your pie and serve….
Ahhhhh! Pie made my way.