Posts tagged pizza

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” -Yogi Berra

I know, a Red Sox fan turning to a Yankee for quotes, not cool.  But I like it, and it rings true, especially in this case.  Pizza is one of my FAVORITE things to make for a variety of reasons.  It’s super quick and easy.  There’s really no need for measurements or directions of any sort.  You can pretty much put anything edible on a pizza and as long as you cook it for the right amount of time it’ll probably come out good.  It’s one of the best recipes to get creative and have fun with, and that’s my favorite part.  

The pizza my roommates and I made last night is a relatively healthy recipe, and it’s pretty low budget: all the ingredients came out to about $15 (less if you already have some things at home).  It’s also the reason I chose the quote above.  No matter how hard we tried, the entire thing was gone by the end of the  night.  It’s a white pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and roasted garlic, and everything you’ll need to know is listed below.

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb Pizza dough (I usually just buy it at the store, but you can make it too if you’re feeling daring)
  • Flour (enough to cover your surface and the dough)
  • Basil leaves.  Here’s where we ran into trouble!  Good ole’ Grand Union (the Storrs grocery store) didn’t have any fresh basil leaves, so we had to resort to dried basil.  But if you can get your hands on the fresh stuff, it really does make a difference.
  • Tomato: about one half, sliced thin
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • One head of garlic: you may not need the whole thing, probably only half or a few cloves
  • Oregano(dried or fresh, up to you… once again, Grand Union fails in the herb department)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. A few hours before (or overnight) you need to let the dough rise.  Roll it into a ball and cover it with flour before putting in a bowl covered with Saran wrap and keep somewhere in room temperature.  Last night we were crunched for time, so I only let it rise for about 2 or 3 hours and it came out fine.
  2. Once the dough has risen, you’re ready to start making the pizza.  Before anything, preheat your oven to 275 and chop up the garlic clove.  Now there is a certain way to do this, so for those of you new to the kitchen, check out this video to see how it’s done.  Once you’ve chopped the garlic into really, really small pieces, throw it all on an oven sheet and stick it in for about 7-10 minutes or until it’s golden brown.
  3. While the garlic is roasting, slice up your tomato half and the mozzarella cheese.  We loooove mozzarella at my apartment, so the more the better.  But for a healthier option, ease up on the cheese and add more tomatoes.
  4. Roll your pizza dough out into a flat circle or rectangle.  We use a rectangle to fit the cooking sheet we have, and a point that I continuously fail to remember (including last night) is that it’s always better to prepare the pizza ON the cooking sheet, because transferring it can be a major production (picture all three of us with spatulas heaving the thing onto a sheet trying not to spill flour and cheese everywhere).
  5. If you don’t have a rolling-pin, try to flatten the dough as much as possible using spoons and your hands.  Make sure you get all the air bubbles out.  With a pin, it may not look pretty, but I guarantee you’ll get the same taste, which is definitely what’s important.
  6. Don’t forget about your garlic in the oven, you’re going to want to check on it periodically so it doesn’t burn.  When you eventually take it out, turn the oven up to 400 degrees.
  7. Next add all of your toppings.  I like to start with a base of parmigiano-reggiano, spread evenly all over the entire pizza.  Next layer on your mozzarella slices and tomato slices and fresh basil leaves.  The best presentation is when these are spread evenly with only minor overlaps (you don’t want to cover all of the tomatoes with mozzarella, etc.).  Don’t forget about the garlic in the oven!  Mix these small pieces in as well.
  8. Next spice it up with oregano (dried in this case), and some salt and pepper, and you’re good to go!
  9. Throw it in the oven (hopefully you’ve already turned it up to 400, if not, do so now) for about 13-20 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on the edges, and the cheese is melted golden on top.  If you use a lot of cheese like we do, it may take longer (less cheese, less time, obviously).  I know 13-20 is a wide range, but I say that because some people like it crisper than others.  We tend to use the entire 20 minutes, but make sure you keep checking on it to decide when you want to take it out.

Here’s a visual step by step, so you can check your progress by comparing to the pictures:

chop up and roast the garlic

Roll out your dough and cover lightly with four

Cover with toppings, spreading everything evenly

Throw it in the oven at 400 for 13-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the edges

Give it a minute to cool, then serve with salad for a delicious meal!

And there you have it!  The recipe does sound a little intimidating, but I promise it’s easier than it sounds.  Like anything else, practice makes perfect, and before you know it you’ll be making a menu’s worth of pizzas, and I want to hear all about it!  Send me recipes for your favorite pizza, or if you have any topping ideas you’d like me to test out, please let me know!

I give extensive praise to the Food Network, per usual, and their wealth of information about making pizza and dough.  There are hundreds of recipes to try on their website, from plain and simple to exotic and unusual.  

Here are some other great websites to check out when making pizza:

Just like it sounds: pizzamaking.com

Pizza fan Billy Reisinger and his very thorough pizza making guide

Making pizza from allrecipes.com: be sure to check out all the links on this page for different types of pizza!

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