Sunday, May 20, 2012


Is there anyone that doesn't like pizza? 
If there is, I haven't met them.  We all have our favorite kinds, or a pizza ingredient we wouldn't touch, but there is SOME version of pizza that even the pickiest eater likes, usually!  Homemade pizza can be a special treat, but a lot of times, it is a PROJECT.  Making the dough from scratch, getting the ingredients together, rolling out the dough, and cooking enough pizzas so you don't have to feed everyone in 1-hour shifts are just a few of the challenges that I've had!  Pizza cooked on outdoor grills is scrumptious and worth the effort, I think, but hardly something you want to do on a busy weeknight! 
Most people that have tried to make their own pizza dough have experienced the frustration of trying to roll out the dough and having it "snap back" in the most annoying fashion no matter what you do.  The reason is that the gluten in the flour is causing the dough to be elastic, which is good for loaves of bread, but irritating when you're trying to make a nice, large, flat circle!  Even if you purchase dough from the market or a restaurant, you will probably experience this.  Once I was talking to a guy at a "Slow Food" meeting and he was all about pizza making, so I asked him about this problem.  He said you have to let the dough rest a LONG time, like overnight in the fridge, so the gluten can "relax".  Then when you take it out, you have to quickly stretch out the dough and get it right the first shot because if you work it any more than that, the gluten activates again.  Because I'm crazy, I went to all this trouble ONCE, and it did work.  But really, who has it together enough to keep up a regimen like that?  Pizza restaurants do, and that's exactly what they do!  They make lots of "one pizza" sized dough balls, put them in the fridge, and use them to order. 
Maybe you all have seen the pizza yeast I have pictured here, but I just discovered it in the grocery store.  It is a yeast produced especially for pizzas and it is a terrific product, I think!  If you follow the easy directions on the back of the package (add warm water, salt, olive oil and flour) you have a pizza dough ready to use in literally 10 minutes!  It is a breeze to press into whatever size or thickness of pizza crust that you want, and it doesn't shrink back at all.  It makes a delicious crust that is very crisp and you can add up to 1/2 whole wheat flour and still get a very good, easy to use dough.  It bakes up in 15 minutes.
So, I don't work for "Fleishmanns", promise, but this is a great product that I just thought you all might like to know about!  A pizza made at home can be healthy (you control the oil, cheese, toppings), inexpensive, and fun!  Here's how I made the pizza pictured at the top.  This is a "nothing fancy" weekday type of pizza, but I think you will like it!

Pancetta, Olive, and Mushroom Pizza (serves 2 or 3)
olive oil
1, 1/3-inch slice (about) pancetta, diced
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced (about a cup)
1 small can of sliced, black olives, drained
1 jar of marinara sauce (save the rest for pasta-- I freeze mine in the same jar.) or pizza sauce
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian chile flakes (optional)
1 recipe pizza dough prepared according to the Fleischmann's Pizza Yeast package directions
Parchment paper
Pizza stone if you have it, but a rimless cookie sheet is fine (you'll need two-- you can use sheet pans upside down)
Note:  If you have a stand mixer, use that so you can knead the dough right in the bowl.  Also, be sure not to add too much flour to your dough.  It's better to make it too soft than too stiff.

Put the pizza stone or 1 cookie sheet in the oven.  Turn the oven to 425F.
Put a piece of parchment paper over the other cookie sheet.
Cook the panchetta in a small frying pan in a couple teaspoons of olive oil.  Once the panchetta is cooked and a little brownish (not much-- it will cook more in the oven), take it out and place on a paper towel to drain.  Add the sliced mushrooms to the same pan and saute the mushrooms until they are soft.  Drain off any liquid or oil from the pan. 
Turn the pizza dough onto the cookie sheet.  Drizzle some olive oil onto the dough (your discretion-- pretty hard to use too much, but that's extra calories, of course!).  Use your fingertips to press the dough out into whatever shape you want-- thick crust, thin crust, square, round or the state of Texas!  (We like everything to be "Texas shaped" around here!)
Add a few spoonfuls of the marinara sauce to the pizza and smooth it around.  Put the mushrooms and olives down next, a few chile flakes if you're using them, then the cheese, then top with the pancetta. 
Open the oven and carefully pull out the oven shelf.  Slide the parchment and pizza quickly onto the hot stone or cookie sheet.  Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, or until nicely bubbly and golden brown.   Be careful as you remove the pizza-- everything is very hot!  Let it sit and settle for a couple minutes, slice and serve! 


Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Post a Comment