Recipes

Pizza

About this recipe

My mom makes great pizza and lots of it. If making the dough is too much, buy one of those ready-made crusts and simply add a red or white topping (they’re actually not that bad, but don’t tell Mom).

Instructions

Dough (yields two 12-inch round pizzas)

Into a small bowl, combine:

  • 1 package yeast (2¼ tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1½ cups lukewarm water.

Mix with a spoon. Then cover with a tea towel and let sit for 10 minutes until yeast froths.

In a large bowl, mix together:

  • 2½ cups regular flour,
  • 1 cup semolina flour (or just use 3½ cups regular),
  • 2 tsp. salt.

Make a well in centre and add:

  • yeast mixture (from above),
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil.

Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add more water if needed (you might use another 2 tbsp.). When all flour is wet, turn dough onto a flour board (e.g., the kitchen counter).

Knead 5–6 minutes, adding flour as necessary (probably another ½ cup) until dough is soft—not sticky. Form into a ball, oil, and place back in bowl.

Cover with tea-towel and let sit in a warm spot for 1½ hours (it should double in size). Or cover with Saran and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Note: Refrigerated dough must be left out to warm before proceeding (leave on counter for at least 1 hour).

When ready to continue, punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Then knead another minute with a light dusting of flour (optional for regular, a must for thin crust).

Oil pizza pan with paper towel or spray with Pam. Throw some cornmeal or semolina on the bottom.

Split dough as necessary (e.g., into 2 pieces); oil your hands and stretch it out a little. Then throw the dough onto the pan and work it into the corners. When it’s spread out, let it sit 15 minutes to rise again before topping (if you have the time, let sit 1 hour). Poke any air bubbles with a fork to deflate.

For thin crust, roll out with a rolling pin and skip the second rise.

Red Topping

Mix together the following and cook 5 minutes on the stove or in the microwave:

  • 1 (28 oz.) can plum tomatoes (well drained and hand-squashed) or use crushed tomatoes,
  • 2–3 tbsp. olive oil,
  • ½ cooking onion (diced),
  • 1 tsp. oregano, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper.

Spread sauce on evenly using a large spoon (you might not use it all). Complete your masterpiece with the following (share ingredients between both pizzas):

  • 10 oz. can mushrooms (or fresh mushrooms partially cooked in the microwave),
  • a little red pepper, maybe some sliced olives, a few canned artichokes, diced zucchini is good,
  • 8 oz. meat (ham, prosciutto, sliced bacon, good pepperoni, or fried sausage),
  • 8-16 oz. cubed, sliced, or shredded mozzarella cheese (use bocconcini for special occasions).

White Topping

Brush dough with olive oil. Shake salt, pepper, oregano, and fresh rosemary all over. Add thinly sliced tomatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil. Add a small onion (sliced lengthwise), sliced zucchini, maybe roasted peppers, and canned artichokes (quartered). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Cooking

Bake at 450°F until bottom is lightly brown. Total baking time is 20-25 minutes—depending how your oven works.

Ham, prosciutto, and bocconcini cheese burn if cooked the full duration. To avoid a house fire, bake for 12 minutes with just sauce and vegetables, remove, put on meat and cheese, and then bake another 10-12 minutes—this way you can’t go wrong. (Bacon needs to cook the full time.)

Notes

  • Use an egg slicer to cut the bocconcini.
  • Instead of Mozzarella, try friulano or provolone.
  • White pizza can also be served cold as fancy bread.
  • If your pizza burns at 450°F, next time try 425°F (sorry).
  • You can sauté your vegetables before putting on white pizza.
  • For a change, use chopped fresh garlic instead of onion in the sauce.
  • You don’t have to cook your sauce; you can just let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Hosting a pizza-party? Bake the first half before your guests arrive (smart, eh?).
  • If you’re lazy, buy dough from a bakery and refrigerate. Again, let warm to room temperature.
  • To make spinach topping: boil and chop 1 package spinach, mix with 2 eggs, Parmesan cheese, and salt. Then put on pizza and bake.
  •  
    Best red combinations are a) prosciutto, green olive, and zucchini; b) sausage, mushroom, and red pepper; and c) vegetarian, featuring a variety of vegetables, including canned artichokes and fresh asparagus.

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