Thursday, March 12, 2009
Playing with Pizza
I've been to Italy. Pizza is now forever ruined. How can one go back to American pizza after eating a delicious Neapolitan pizza that just melts in your mouth, like the one above...or creamy gelato...or those croissants with their chunks of sugar crystals and nutella filling...Oh wait, this is a pizza post. Sorry. Back to pizza. It's not the same. I know it will never be the same, and after a few months of therapy in attempts to restore my vigor for life and pizza, I'm coming to terms with it. So even though our pizza isn't even in the same league as an Italian pie, we still attempt it.
And now, I have to confess something before I go any further. I used to use Boboli pizza crusts. They were just so...easy. Not incredibly delicious, but easy. Now, Mark and I experiment with our own crusts, and my current favorite (though I will be trying a sourdough crust soon...) is yogurt dough. It's so versatile, and so...easy. ::smile:: It ain't Italy, but try it anyway. Especially if you've never been - that means you probably won't know the difference!
The Four Parts of a Pie
Crust - Soaked Yogurt Dough. The soaking process reduces the phytic acid in the wheat. This is more of a crispy, chewy crust, than a doughy one. It doesn't rise at all, since it doesn't use any yeast. For a sourdough pizza crust recipe from a trusted e-friend, check out this post.
Sauce - Homemade tomato sauce, (I love to save a few cups in the freezer just for this occasion) or you can whip up a quick batch of sauce in 5 minutes using:
sauteed onion and garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced veggies, and Italian spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme)
Cheese - Those bags of cheese we used to buy in bulk make me shudder now. I'd prefer to load up my pizza with a tangy blue, or some rich feta crumbles. Mark, however, wants mozzarella, and only mozzarella. He's I-talian, he says. Ok, I can deal with that, but for the record, those I-talians eat a variety of cheeses. So we compromise and I buy the best looking fresh balls of bufala mozzarella I can find, and slice it up thinly.
Toppings - The sky's the limit here. I usually use what we have, which generally ends up being green peppers, mushrooms, leftover chicken, and roasted garlic. Experiment! My recent favorite is caramelizing some onions and topping the pie with them.
If you have a pizza peel and stone, your life is even easier. If you don't, and you enjoy making pizza, you really should invest! Dust your peel with cornmeal, or flour. Roll out the yogurt dough, and place on the peel. Add sauce, cheese, toppings, and a drizzling of olive oil. (If you don't have a peel or stone, prepare the pizza on a baking sheet.)
Preheat oven to 450 F with the stone IN the oven. Slide the pizza from the peel to the stone. Cook until the crust is golden and sauce is bubbling. Don't start making your next pizza on the peel. You'll need the peel to take the first pizza OUT of the oven!!
Here's a snapshot of our latest pie.
Posted by Emerald Green