Whenever I make pizza, I think of the song, “When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s amore” because at our house making pizza is a labor of love. It literally takes hours from start to finish, but worth it when you savor that first bite.
The dough recipe is one I have used for years, and it has never failed me. I took cooking classes with an Italian chef years ago and this is the recipe he shared. You will need:
2 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 cup warm water (the temperature of the water should be 110 degrees)
½ oz. dry yeast = 4 ½ tsp. or 2 packets
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
My most important tool when making dough is a thermometer. The temperature of the water needs to be 110 degrees, warm to the touch, to dissolve the yeast. I use warm water from the faucet. I put the yeast into the water, let it sit for a minute or two, whisk gently and then add the olive oil and whisk again. In the meantime, I measure the flour into a mixing bowl, add sugar and salt, mix together, and then slowly pour in the yeast water.
At this point you can knead the dough by hand or use a mixer. I prefer using my KitchenAid. It takes about five minutes using a kneading hook to get the dough perfect. Once kneaded, place the dough into a large glass bowl that has been lightly oiled, coat the dough with the oil from the bowl, cover with either a plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and place in a warm spot. I usually place it near my stove. Let it rise until it has doubled.
My sauce of choice is a delightful Sundried Tomato Sauce. For this you will need:
8.5 oz. jar Sun-dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil and Italian Herbs, drain (I use the Halves)
8 oz. jar of tomato sauce
Drain tomatoes well and put into a pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to boil, turn heat down to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes until all water has been reduced. Do not rush this process. It may take a little longer, but just be patient. There will be some oil left in pot, but that’s okay. Add in tomato sauce, bring to boil, reduce heat and cook another 10 minutes. Turn off stove, let cool slightly, then puree in a small food processor.
In the meantime, prepare the toppings…oh the toppings. You can use as many or as little as you like. My favorite is caramelized sliced onions and sautéed mushrooms. I slice an onion and lightly sauté in olive oil and butter (yes, butter) until caramelized. I then slice mushrooms into thick slices and sauté lightly in the same pan. Other toppings of choice… canadian bacon, roasted red pepper and artichokes. Any or all make an excellent pizza. For the cheese, I use Shredded Mozzarella and a Quattro Formaggio blend from Trader Joe’s.
Once I am ready to put my pizza together, I use a pizza stone purchased some 20 years ago, which has aged and seasoned beautifully. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you may want to try the Calphalon Nonstick Bakerware 16” Pizza Pan. I tried it and liked the results.
To put the pizza together, roll out the dough to ¼” thick, place on pan or stone, cover with sauce, cheese and toppings of choice. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 – 450 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.
If using a stone, the dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas! If using the Calphalon pan, the dough recipe makes one pizza!
We selected a lovely bottle of Cryptic, which is a California red to have with this pizza. Cryptic was rated 5 stars by wine.com and costs under $13 a bottle. The pizza and the wine made for a lovely dinner!!!
Although slightly complicated, it is worth the effort! Enjoy!