Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's Not to Love About Pizza?

The first pizza, still on the counter, before baking. I brushed the crust and baking sheet with olive oil.

Too cheesy? You decide.

I have been a little bit obsessed with my food processor since opening it, and when I found out it could make dough, I had to do just that. I thought, what better way to use dough than as the crust of PIZZA? Really, what's not to love about it? Well, when it's your first attempt at making your own, a few things. I followed the pizza dough recipe in the Cuisinart cookbook and it was quite tasty. It turned out crispy and soft and had that subtle doughy flavor I love. In prepping it, however, I overlooked a few things. First, I neglected to rub flour on my rolling pin before running it over the extremely sticky dough. I corrected my mistake, but the rolling pin is still decorated with bits of hardened dough. I made two pizzas, and once I had rolled the first ball of dough into a semi-circular shape, I left it on the rolling space to top. When I tried to move it to the baking sheet, the pizza was stuck to the counter! I ended up transferring it without messing it up too much, and on the second pizza I immediately transferred it to the baking sheet after it had been shaped. Another change I would make next time is to put the basil on the margherita pizza after baking. Not that it tasted bad, it just looks better. Finally, believe it or not, my boyfriend said that there was too much cheese. In my opinion, you can never have enough cheese. But for a lighter option I will lay off the cheese a bit next time. All in all, the pizza was delicious, but I think it's one of those foods that will take a lot of tries to perfect. I followed this sauce recipe, which was good, but I'm going to try a different one next time in the spirit of perfecting pizza making.

Homemade Pizza with Roma Tomatoes and Basil


Pizza Dough

Ingredients

1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (sold in small packets in the baking isle)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 cup warm water

2-1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions

In a liquid measuring cup, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes (Don't worry if it's not super foamy, as this is what happened to me)

Insert dough blade in work bowl and add flour, salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil

With machine running on low speed, pour liquid through small feed tube as fast as flour will absorb it. Process until dough cleans sides of work bowl and forms a ball. Then process for 30 seconds to knead dough. (Don't process it for too long or it will stick to the wall)

Dough may be slightly sticky (more like really sticky!)

Coat dough evenly with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil (Do this by pouring the olive oil into the plastic bag and rubbing it together)

Transfer to plastic food storage bag and seal the top

Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes

While dough is rising, prepare any pizza toppings

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and punch down

Roll into desired crust sizes (don't forget to put flour on the rolling pin!)

Now for the pizza recipe:

Margherita pizza

Ingredients


Half of the amount of pizza dough

Homemade pizza sauce

Mozzarella cheese, grated

2 thinly sliced roma tomatoes

8 leaves fresh basil

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Flatten the dough into a circular shape using a floured rolling pin and surface

Immediately transfer dough to baking sheet brushed with olive oil

Fold the crust over about 1/2 inch and pinch the folded part with your thumb about every inch

Add a thin layer of homemade pizza sauce

Add as much mozzarella as you wish

Top with tomatoes

Brush crust with olive oil

Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the pizza for even baking. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Let it cool for a few minutes

Add fresh basil

Slice and enjoy!

While the first pizza is baking, start preparing the other pizza with the remaining amount of dough

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