27 Apr 2009
There is only one way to make pizza, and that’s the Italian way…
Pizza is three things: a crust, sauce and toppings. And all these things are pretty easy make – even from scratch. And just to save some time, we’ll skip the homemade mozzarella and use store bought.
Let’s start with the crust, the dough needs to rest for a few hours, that gives us enough time to work on the sauce and the toppings.
As I said, we are doing this from scratch, so no pre-made dough from the grocery store. Here is what we need:
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 pckt rapid rise yeast (about 2 tsp)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbs olive oil
- about 1/2 cup warm water
I use my Kitchenaid mixer to prepare the dough. It can be done manually, but it’s a lot of kneading to form the gluten. Add all the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix with the dough hook for a few seconds. Add the olive oil. Slowly add the water. Don’t add all of the water at first, leave a few tablespoons and watch the dough. If the dough does not come together after about two minutes, add a tablespoon at a time and let the dough mix for about one minute. Mix for about 10 minutes. The dough should form a ball. Cover the dough ball with oil and let rest in a covered bowl for about three hours or overnight in the fridge.
It’s not complicated to make good sauce from scratch. You could just buy a jar, but in just a few minutes, and with only a few ingredients, it’s no problem to come up with some fantastic tomato sauce.
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 garlic glove
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 can of pureed or diced tomatoes
- 1 can of tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
Head a sauce pan with the olive and add the chopped onion and salt. Saute over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the chopped garlic (or use a garlic press). After about a minute, add the white wine and wait until almost all of it is evaporated. Add the pureed or diced tomatoes and the tomato paste, add a some freshly ground black pepper and oregano. Let the sauce cook over low heat for at least 15 minutes.
Thin and Flat
Preheat the oven with a pizza stone to 550F (if your oven does not go that high, crank it up as high as possible). Make sure that the pizza stone has enough time to get hot enough.
Now comes the most complicated step in the process: Forming the crust. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and place the dough on it, flatten the dough ball/heap/mountain and sprinkle more flour on top of the dough.
Press the dough into as large a disk as you can without ripping holes into it – use more flour if necessary. Then slowly stretch it out while rotating the disk.
When done, sprinkle corn meal on the peel and transfer the dough to the peel.
- 1/4 lbs prosciutto, sliced very thin
- 2 cremini mushrooms
- marinated artichoke hearts cut into smaller pieces
- fresh mozzarella, diced
I always remove most of the fat from the prosciutto – makes for a healthier pizza.
Start out by ladling some of the sauce on the crust and spread it out. Don’t drench the crust, try to get away with as little sauce as possible while still covering the dough.
Then add the toppings, starting with prosciutto
followed by the artichoke hearts
and the cheese
and the mushrooms
and finally sprinkle oregano over the pizza.
Bake for about eight minutes, slightly longer when the oven is not as hot.
The cheese should have some brown spots, and be bubbly when removed from the oven.