Pizza. It’s my mother’s favorite food. It was, in it’s Tombstone’s pepperoni form, standard Friday night dinner fare growing up. And, after living in New York for a while it’s something I’ve become a little snobbish about. I mean, Pizza Hut may have been the ultimate treat when I was in grade school and read all those books just to get my Book-It coupon, but now there are so many options just a short subway ride away. So I only grudgingly eat bad pizza from one of those ubiquitous slice places when I’m truly starving (ie at work lunch) and the rest of the time expect only the best.
Having so many opportunities for great pizza in this city, I had never considered making my own. Why would someone?
I guess we would if we were sitting at home one evening, wanting to cook something but too lazy to go outside and purchase a cohesive set of groceries. We threw around a couple of ideas based upon the random assortment of food on hand.
Pasta? No we always have pasta.
Potatoes? Prepared how?
Brussel sprouts? You can’t just have a meal of brussel sprouts. Let’s be creative.
Pizza? Pizza? Hmmm . . . pizza.
And it was decided. If you’re willing to wait a little over an hour for your dinner I totally recommend it. Most likely you too can make it without having to make an extra trip to the grocery store.
And since I love brussel sprouts sooo much I put them on the pizza.
Basic Pizza Dough
Adapted from a recipe at Smitten Kitchen
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil + more for oiling bowl
Stir flour, salt, and yeast together in a stand mixer (or a large bowl). Add water and olive oil and mix with paddle attachment (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a cohesive ball. Switch to dough hook (or knead by hand on a floured surface) and knead the dough for just two minutes on low speed.
Transfer the dough to a slightly oiled bowl and roll the dough so all sides are covered with oil. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and allow the dough to rise for ~1hr until it has doubled in size.
After the dough has doubled, turn it out on a gently floured surface, and gently press out air bubbles. Separate the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Cover each of the dough balls with plastic wrap (it’s helpful to spray the dough with a cooking spray so that the plastic doesn’t stick) and allow them to rest for twenty minutes. (At this point I was quite hungry and so I just shaped half of the dough without a rest period; it wasn’t quite as good as the other pie, but I was hungry enough that it was worth it.)
After the rest period, stretch out each ball of dough by hand into a small-thin crust pizza. Place on a pan (or baking stone) that has been covered with cornmeal. Add your favorite toppings and bake pizzas for about ten minutes until the crust is black and blistery in areas.
This recipe makes two small pizzas, each which feeds 2 people.
We topped one of the pizzas (Andrés’s favorite) with a tomato sauce (Mario Batali’s recipe) and then added smoked gouda and small bits of an Italian salumi. The other pizza we topped with roasted brussel sprouts, pre-cooked sausage, and a sharp Italian cheese (my favorite). Yum!