Monday, September 6, 2010

Pizza Pizza Pizza

The husband and I were recently both in the bridal party for the wedding of two dear friends, though in a slight twist, we were both standing up for the groom (I was the best man (woman, whatever). The lovely couple went off to the Bahamas for a honeymoon as now, upon having returned to Calgary came over Saturday evening for beer and pizza.

The pizza prep began Friday evening with a trip to Lina's Italian market for cheese and meat. Holy mother of something, the pizza pepperoni from there is the best I've ever eaten. For pizza I picked up the pepperoni, some prosciutto, a hot pepper, fresh basil, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Then because I was there I also bought dried porcini mushrooms, three different types of dried pasta (cheaper and better than Safeway people), pancetta, and some hazelnut chocolate cookie tart things from the bakery (I have no self control in an Italian market).

I should have made my pizza dough Friday and tossed it in the fridge but Saturday was fine...just a touch stickier to work with.

I use the dough recipe from The Pioneer Woman which is both delicious and easy as hell (virtually no working the dough at all - yay).

Pizza Crust (makes two pizzas)
4 cups flour
1.5 cups water
1 tsp instant dried yeast
1 tsp salt (Pioneer woman says Kosher, mine is a fine sea salt)
1/3 cup olive oil (plus extra)

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let sit there while you do everything else

In your beloved KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer (or is that just me)with paddle attachment combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (2), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture (that you gave a quick stir to and mix until just combined, and the dough is a sticky mess.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it. I highly recommend making it at least 12 hours in advance otherwise it's still pretty sticky when you try to stretch it out. Just keep it in the bowl (covered with plastic wrap) in the fridge. I've had some in there for 2 days and it really does get yummier with time. That Pioneer Woman knows her stuff.

My pizza sauce is made from scratch and is easy as sin.

Pizza Sauce (Makes enough for two pizzas)
7 normal sized tomatoes on the vine
half a bunch basil
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp-ish olive oil

Peel and seed tomatoes (easiest if you first blanch them) and then rough chop them into 8 or so pieces. They'll cook down, it's not an exact science.

Peel and mince garlic and rough chop the basil.

Add tomatoes, olive oil and garlic to pot. Cook on medium for 10 minutes. Add half the basil, cook another 10-15 minutes. Mash tomatoes down with potato masher, keep cooking. Add rest of basil, cook to desired consistency. Feel free to puree with an immersion blender if you're not into rustic looking chunks (I am).

Okay, pizza time. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Stretch or roll out half the pizza dough into a large rectangle (the size of a cookie sheet) This takes a couple of minutes.

Be patient.

Once dough is laid out on the sheet, apply toppings. For the pizza in the following picture I used sauce, then grated fresh mozzarella, then pepperoni, ripped up prosciutto, grated Parmesan cheese, and then the hot red pepper. Mon's half of the pizza on the right has only mozzarella, cheddar, and parm cheese (she's picky)

For best results bake one at a time on a low rack for 11 minutes each.

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