Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pizza

Homemade pizza is one of those things that always serves your deepest craving. Not only is it delicious and generally much better than pizza you'd buy, it's a great way to use up vegetables left in your fridge, it's easy and fun to do with friends, and it allows for endless creativity.

I want to share some of my past pizza concoctions while reminding you that honestly, the sky is the limit when it comes to homemade pizza. I can't really imagine any combination of ingredients that would not work out based on any reason besides personal distaste.

First, the crust - thanks to grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Publix, it is as simple as a quick drive to the store and a couple of bucks to obtain ready-to-bake pizza dough. This is a great option when you're in a hurry. One time I even used an Irish Soda Bread mix as a dough. Of course, if you have time to make dough from scratch there are many options that require varying lengths of time to rise, such as this one, this one and this one, just to throw out a few. Everyone has a favorite recipe, so I encourage experimentation to find the best for you. Personally, I like the taste of homemade dough better than premade, possibly due to the use of bread flour or maybe just because it's rewarding to make your own. Keep in mind that homemade dough can be kept in the fridge about 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to defrost overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours before rolling out and cooking.

The following dough recipe is one I used based on positive reviews, quick rise time and the inclusion of bread flour instead of all-purpose.

Quick Homemade Pizza Dough
Yield: 1 large crust

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (Be sure to get Active Dry and not Instant!)
1 cup warm water (About 110 degrees F or about 2 minutes in the microwave)
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more to knead in if too sticky
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar











Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir to dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor with a dough blade or a in a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture. Beat or stir well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Add flour as needed to keep from sticking. 
  4. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. 
And now, what you've all been waiting for, here are some of my favorite pizzas of the past. Remember, beyond toppings, you are welcome to experiment with cheeses and sauces. Mozzarella, shredded Italian cheese mixes (Asiago and Parmesan, for instance) and feta are always good for cheese. For sauce the options are boundless: regular store bought pizza sauce, plain canned tomato sauce, alfredo sauce, just olive oil and no sauce, pesto, or any homemade concoction. And for me, the addition of minced garlic, caramelized onions or mushrooms is never a bad idea, as well as seasoning with various spices such as basil or oregano.

1. Broccoli, garlic, feta, shredded mozzarella, and pesto
2. Olive oil (no sauce), mozzarella discs, basil and fresh or sun-dried tomatoes
3. Roasted sweet potatoes cut into discs with a bit of brown sugar, caramelized onions, garlic, no sauce, and shredded mozzarella
4. Mushrooms, sliced bell peppers, red onion, Mozzarella or Italian shredded cheeses, and pizza sauce
5. Spinach, mushrooms, pizza sauce, and garlic

Don't forget calzones!
6. Tomato sauce, thinly sliced ham, pineapple chunks, and Italian shredded cheeses

7. Nutella, marshmallow fluff, Bing cherries, and bananas

 

 
Emily and Charlie passed out from how good pizza is!

What are some good pizzas you've made?

2 comments:

  1. NUTELLAFLUFFYCHERRYBANANYPIZZA? GENIUS.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i made this and it turned out very well. i'm very full. thank you.

    ReplyDelete