Pizza night!

April 18, 2012

Margaux says…

I’ve always wanted to do a “pizza night” regularly in our house, but never got around to it.  Whenever I think of it, it always seems like too much work, so I figure I’ll just do it another time.  And until I get better at it, it is kind of a lot of work.  But let’s be honest, not much more than any other meal that I prepare on a regular basis.  So tonight, I’m starting a new tradition of making pizzas once a month (or so)!  Because with this new pizza dough recipe that I got from last month’s issue of Bon Appetit, these pizzas are REALLY GOOD.  Like, as good as a fancy Italian pizzeria good.  And it’s a lot easier than other recipes I’ve used, where you have to knead it and stuff (probably one of the main reasons why pizza night hasn’t happened regularly yet).  You just have to remember to make the dough the night before, and you’re good to go.

I’ve always been one of those, “pizza isn’t pizza without a ton of sauce” people, until recently.  I loved my pizza drenched in tomato sauce, and would be happy with some on the side to dip it in.  But lately my pizza tastes have finally grown up, and I’m actually preferring “white” pizzas, no sauce included.  Tonight I made a couple of these sauceless pizzas, and they were fantastic.  My topping suggestions that we tried out tonight are below.

Basic Pizza Dough

from Bon Appetit, March 2012

This makes three 10-12″ pizzas.

Make this dough 18 hours before use.  You can make it up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerate it (just make sure you take it out 2-3 hours before using).

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups room temperature water

Whisk flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl.  While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add water; stir until well incorporated.  Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball.  Transfer to a large clean bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature in a draft-free area until sufrace is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours.  Transfer dough to a floured work surface.  Gently shape into a rough rectangle.  Divide into 3 equal portions.  Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds.  Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball.  Dust dough with flour, set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining portions.  (If making ahead of time, wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until using).  Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour.

To make the pizzas:

During the last hour of dough’s resting, prepare oven:  preheat oven to hottest setting, 500-550 degrees, for 1 hour. Working with one dough ball at a a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface.  Gently shape dough into a 10-12″ disk.  Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with toppings (see ideas below).  Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a work surface to slice.

Kale, marinated tomato, and kalamata olive pizza

1 bunch of kale, stems removed, chopped into 1-2″ pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

kalamata olives

shredded mozzarella cheese

To prepare kale:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add kale and minced garlic, and saute until greens are bright green and softened.  Set aside to let cool.

To prepare marinated tomatoes:

**best if made night before, or at least 2-3 hours beforehand**

Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1/4 tsp salt until emulsified.  Pour over halved tomatoes in airtight container, cover with a lid and toss until tomatoes are all coated.  Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

To build pizza:

Spread sauteed kale over pizza dough, then cover with desired amount of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Arrange tomatoes and olives over the top, and bake.

Italian sausage, caramelized onion and marinated tomato pizza with basil and parmesan

1 mild italian sausage

marinated cherry tomatoes (see recipe above)

caramelized onion (I used one onion, and I like this recipe)

several basil leaves, chiffonaded

shredded mozzarella cheese

grated parmesan cheese

To prepare sausage:

Remove sausage from casing and roll into small balls.  Saute over medium-high heat in a large skillet until cooked thoroughly and browned slightly.  Remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.  Set aside.

To build pizza:

Scatter sausage and onions over prepared pizza dough.  Top with mozzarella cheese, then scatter tomatoes and basil over that.  Add a little parmesan cheese over the top.  Bake.


Aunt Suzy says

When I first saw this shaved asparagus pizza recipe last week from Smitten Kitchen, I thought it looked delicious, not to mention beautiful to look at.  With great asparagus so plentiful right now, I wanted to make it at my first opportunity,  My friend Sue had asked about adding goat cheese and that got me thinking about other ingredients.  Randy and I made pizza on Saturday night using Vicolo Pizza frozen crusts which are cornmeal based and are our go-to pizza crusts.  I wanted to try the recipe as described on Smitten Kitchen and also to add some other ingredients to see how they worked. True confessions . . . I might be posting this just so I can show these cute Mozzarella Pearls that I just discovered at Whole Foods.

On top of that base of Parmigiano and Mozzarella, I placed the shaved asparagus.  On the right in the photo below is the basic recipe and my riff on it can be seen on the left.  I added roasted red pepper, Niciose olives and feta cheese.  Both sides of the pizza were delicious!  Randy went even further and used pizza sauce as a base, green olives, red onions and roasted red pepper and no mozzarella.  He said it was one of the best pizzas we’ve ever made, and we both agreed that shaved asparagus is a winning pizza ingredient!