Friday, February 8, 2013

This is How We Dough It (Homemade Pizza Night Recipes)



It's weird that I don't love Valentine's Day, considering I love chocolate, the color pink, greeting card commercials and anything with a heart on it but, not unlike Uggs or gluten-free diets, I just can't bring myself to participate.

Luckily my husband is just as anti-2.14 as I am, so our Valentine's evening will include homemade pizzas, three episodes of Ben and Kate on DVR, a glass of wine and, for good measure, a pair of sweatpants (which I lovingly call my fatties) for everyone.  There's romance in the air, y'all.

In truth, making pizza reminds us both of what makes marriage work - don't be too rough, keep the oven hot, be generous with the extras, and do it all with just the right amount of sauce.

Here are the tried and true pizza recipes we've been whipping up for years.  I am the veteran dough stretcher-outer.  My husband does everything else, including sprinkling the corn meal, which was stripped from my list of duties in 2012 to be replaced with preventing the duckling from eating all the cheese.  This in and of itself is a full time job.

Equipment

- pizza stone: available at most home stores, pizza stones run between $30 - $40 but are well worth the investment.  They are the difference between soggy, wet pizza centers and crisp, tasty dough.  I've been told you're not supposed to wash them (or maybe I just tell myself that because I'm lazy). Some may call my pizza stone dirty.  I say it's cured.  Semantics.   
- pizza peel: The giant wooden spatula you'll use to put the pizza on (and then off) the pizza stone.  Also available at most big box stores.
- corn meal: coarse corn meal acts as the ball bearings under your pizza, helping your dough roll off the peel and onto the stone.  My husband and I always fight over just how coarse your corn meal should be.  He is on "Team Rustic", whereas I'm on "Team Did I Just Chip A Tooth?"  Corn meal can be found in any grocery store, if not with the regular flour then often with the "special" flours like the Bob's Red Mill brands.  

Getting Ready
- Place the pizza stone in the oven before turning it on, as you'll want to heat up the stone along with the oven.  I've seen pizza recipes that call for temperatures of anywhere from 400-550 degrees.  We always set it on 450. It's enough to get the job done without fearing that my oven will explode.
- Let the dough sit out in its bag/wrapper for quite a while.  Room temperature dough is crucial in order to get thinner pizzas.  The colder the dough, the less elastic and less thin the pizza will get.  I let mine sit for over 30 minutes.  



Mike's Arugula Pizza

What You'll Need:



- pizza dough, brought to room temperature
- goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
- pesto
- arugula, roughly chopped
- pecorino romano (or parmigiano)
- truffle oil (optional)

This pizza is a showstopper.  Just like the perfect date outfit, it looks good, makes you want more, and yet you won't look like you're trying too hard.   



What You'll Do:

1. lay your pizza peel out and sprinkle corn meal on the board.
2. lightly flour your surface (counter or cutting board) and your hands.
3. stretch the dough to desired size (I never use a rolling pin.  I simply hold the dough with both my hands side by side, and let the dough hang for a moment.  Then I slowly rotate the dough, always keeping my hands at the top and allowing gravity to do the work for me, almost as though you're turning a car wheel with your hands at the top of the wheel.  If you get a lot of resistance, the dough is too cold.  Once the dough is almost to the size I'd like it, I then turn the pizza horizontal and use my fists to gently stretch the dough from underneath.)
4. transfer the dough to the pizza peel. 
5. spread pesto across the dough, leaving a 1/4" margin at the perimeter.
6. place the red onion evenly on the dough.
7. repeat with the goat cheese.
8. bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the bottom of the pizza is crisp and the top is golden brown. 
9. once removed, immediately place arugula on top of the pizza (we do heaping handfuls, not only because we love arugula, but also because it wilts a little from the heat of the pizza dough).
10. shave pecorino/parmigiano over entire pizza, including the crust.
11. sprinkle truffle oil on top (sparingly) and enjoy!

Think I'm lying about just how much people love my husband's pizza?  How else do you explain this?



Or this?


Or this?





Traditional Pizza


What You'll Need:



- pizza dough, brought to room temperature (our favorite is still Trader Joe's)
- a little flour for your hands and your counter
- marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- dried oregano
- fresh basil
- shredded mozzarella
- pecorino romano (or parmigiano) 

my sous chef
What You'll Do:


1. lay your pizza peel out and sprinkle corn meal on the board.
2. lightly flour your surface (counter or cutting board) and your hands.
3. stretch the dough to desired size 
4. transfer the dough to the pizza peel. 
5. spread the marinara in a thin, even layer across the dough.
6. sprinkle with oregano.
7. get your mozzarella cheese on.
8. top with basil.
9. bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the bottom of the pizza is crisp and the top is golden brown. 
10. shave pecorino/parmigiano over the entire pizza, including the crust.







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