Friday, September 26, 2008

pizza nite

Several times a year I get one of those e-mail chain letters asking me to submit a recipe to top person on the list, with the promise that I will get oodles of recipes emailed to me in return.

Well, it has never happened. Receiving recipes, that is. I usually get a couple return emails telling me "thanks but no thanks" from friends who have tried this way to build up their recipe files, but have been unsuccessful as well. And then I get embarassed!

Truly; I've dutifully sent the edited email out to "10 or more of my friends" and received (1) a "recipe" suggesting "breakfast for dinner" of pancakes and sausage and (2) a "cut-and pasted" recipe from the Everyday Italian website (you know, the Food Network show hosted by the girl who eats half a cupcake and says that "oh, I'm just so fullll!" IMO, her hair is too long not to be pulled back while she's cooking and her blouses are cut too low! But enough of that!) that was far too complicated for me and used ingredients you'd have to buy at a specialty store! With apologies to the last author of said email (BF!), here is a recipe for anyone - and you don't have to forward it to anyone! (But you CAN! And you can email ME a recipe back if you want! LOL!!)
This is one of our favorite suppers. One, because everyone gets just what they want, another, it is (believe it or not) fast and easy. It only takes a total of 45 minutes from start to finish.

Pizza Dough Recipe ("tweaked" from the Tightwad Gazette II):
3/4 cup warm water (including any leftover milk I have from a kid's cup in the fridge left over from lunch) (unless you're coming for company then I omit this part) (maybe)
1 scant tablespoon dry yeast (or one packet, but it is cheaper to buy yeast in the jar and store it in the fridge)
1 scant tablespoon sugar
2 cups AP flour, plus a little more (I use bread flour for all my baking, don't think it would make a huge difference)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
couple shakes of Parmesan cheese, if desired

Combine about 1/4 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar in a large stand mixer (or food processor if you don't have a stand mixer). Let sit about 5 minutes until bubbly. Add the oil and salt and mix together with dough hooks (process a few bursts with the food processor). Add the rest of the water and flour and mix until well blended. If using dough hooks let it mix for about 3-5 minutes, if a processor, maybe let it roll around the bowl 25 times or so. If dough is way sticky, add a handful of flour. If not, pat it into a ball (get all the dough off the sides of the bowl) and let it rest with a towel over it for about 10 minutes.
Next divide the ball in half and mash out on a pizza stone or in a jelly roll pan, OR, in a cast iron skillet. I usually use my marble roller to get an approximate circle, then mash the rest of the way with my fingers. If using a skillet, it makes a great "pan" pizza. Mash into a pizza shape slightly larger than the pan bottom. Pour a little melted butter and/or olive oil over the bottom of the pan to cover and then lay the crust in the pan.
"Par-bake" the crust for about 8-10 minutes at 425. At this point you can take it out, top it with your favorite toppings and return it to a 425 oven for about 10-15 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling. The girls like spinach, broccoli, fresh tomato and cheese - and Italian sausage if we have it. Andy prefers traditional pepperoni and cheese. Mama just LOVES spinach, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese, but will settle for anchovies and tomatoes and mushrooms. Yum!
If you don't want to eat it now, after par-baking, let the crust cool, wrap it well with plastic wrap, label it and put it in the freezer for later. Allow it to thaw somewhat before putting it back into the oven topped with toppings.

Lemme know if you've made it or tried it and what you think!

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