Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pizza Pizza

Pizza has long been my favorite dish to make, order or generally consume.

In fact, the first time I ever cooked for Ross (and probably won him over) I made bbq chicken pizza. That is the way to man's heart.

I will openly admit that I can make a damn good pizza, but it wasn't always so.  

In the beginning, the base of each pizza I made was a pre-made crust.  Covered in bottled marinara and topped with packaged pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, clearly this was not the healthiest option.  After realizing that I did not care for the texture of pre-made crusts, I moved on to pre-made pizza dough.  Although Pillsbury makes the lives of Americans much easier, all of the additives included to keep the dough fresh and flavorful could be completely avoided by taking a little extra time on our end.

Once I took the time to make pizza dough from scratch, I never turned back.

I've followed a few different dough recipes, but this one has to be my favorite.  The dough has a really nice consistency and bakes into a crunchy, thin crust.  It also includes ingredients that I always have in my pantry, which is almost always the deciding factor.

Basic Pizza Dough slightly altered from

    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • package active dry yeast 
    • 3/4 cup warm water 
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • Olive oil

  • Dissolve the honey and yeast in 3/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add 2 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle dough with black pepper and oregano.Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic; add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).
  • Place dough in a large bowl coated lightly with olive oil, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. 
  • Roll dough into a 12-inch circle (about 1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on circular baking sheet and cover with sauce and toppings. Bake at 375° until the edges are crispy and cheese has melted, 10-15 minutes.
  • Top with leftover marinara sauce, black olives, spicy turkey sausage, onion, peppers, arugula and fontina cheese... or bbq sauce, grilled chicken, red onion and cheddar cheese. This dough so versatile and yummy, I kind of wonder what it would taste like with nothing but a little butter on top after baking to a crisp. Mmmm.
This pizza recipe is just lovely with a bottle of your favorite red...

Buon Appetito!

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