Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homemade Pizza

All summer I said I was going to try grilled pizza. We got a sweet new grill at our engagement party, and I was set to use it Saturday night — until I was informed that the grill christianing would be reserved for a juicy steak. Um, yeah. Anyway...

Plan B? Homemade pizzas in the oven! Same ingredients, still delicious, and a lot of fun to put together! The key to making delicious pizza is definitely in the dough and toppings — fresh-picked, if possible!

Here's the list of ingredients that you'll need from start to finish:
  • Active dry yeast
  • Sugar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Course salt and ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Garlic
  • Whole peeled tomatoes (1 can)
  • Lots of fresh herbs (I used basil)
  • Whatever you want for toppings  

Basic Pizza Dough (makes 4 10-inch pizzas)
You can put the dough together up to two days before you're going to use it as long as you wrap it in plastic and keep it in the fridge. Just let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes before using. I used this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl. Add 1 tsp. sugar and sprinkle with one packet (3/4 oz) active dry yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 2 tsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt into yeast mixture. Add 2 1/4 cups flour and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry — step 1). Turn out onto a floured work surface, and knead until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes — steps 2 and 3.

Transfer to an oiled medium bowl and brush lightly with oil — step 4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes — step 5. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 30 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces — step 6.

    Quick Tomato Sauce (makes about 3 cups sauce)
    Use canned pizza sauce, or make your own like I did (very fast and easy!). Heat about 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic and a little red pepper flake to taste. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes (don't brown the garlic — it will make your sauce bitter). Add a can of whole tomatoes (28 oz) to the sauce pan, breaking apart the tomatoes. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and then chop some fresh basil or oregano and toss it in. Set aside until you're ready to use it. 

    Pizza Assembly
    To assemble your pizzas, take a section of dough and stretch it out into about a 10-inch circle-ish or square shape. Sprinkle a pizza stone (or baking sheet covered in foil) with cornmeal and place the dough on top of it.

    Add some pizza sauce (if you're using it) — be sure you can see a little crust through the sauce to keep it from getting soggy. Add a light sprinkle of cheese, layer on your toppings, and finish it off with the rest of the shredded cheese on top.

    We made two different pizzas. The first pizza had tomato sauce, sausage, red pepper, basil, and mozzerella. Yum. For the second pizza, I brushed the crust with herb oil (I simmered some olive oil with garlic slices, minced rosemary, and basil in it) and added shrimp, basil, red pepper, and manchego cheese on top (note that we skipped the tomato sauce in lieu of the herb oil — rebellious, no?). And by the way, I got so excited to eat the second pizza that I failed to photograph it. Blogger faux pas. You'll just have to imagine what it looked like. 

    Cooking your pizzas
    To cook your pizzas, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. With your oven rack in the middle, cook your pizzas for 8-10 minutes. Be sure to watch them closely — having a magical oven light comes in very handy for this. Once your cheese is bubbly and your crust starts to turn golden, your pizzas are done. Just be sure the crust is cooked enough on the bottom so you can hold your piece of pizza to eat it.



      1. Yummy! Is that your basil? It looks a lot healthier than ours!

      2. Yes! We had great basil this year. Two of the plants my dad grew from seed, and one I bought at (don't judge me) Home Depot...now I'm just trying to use it all up before it goes kaput on me! :)

      3. Pesto anyone?? Great recipe but I opt for pizza dough from the local pizzeria to save time...I'm not a purist I guess!

      4. You could have done steak pizzas for a compromise! I'm also a buy crust from the grocery store type of person. Messing around with dough never works out well for me.

      5. Steak pizzas! An excellent compromise. I just said "Okay, whatever!" and moved my operation indoors. It got dark by the time we were cooking anyway, so it's probably for the better! I miss summer already! :)

      6. Haha... we've been without a grill for a year now and the thing I miss most of all is grilling pizza. I make a sauce similar to yours, I like it because it turns out a little different every time.


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