Hi Guys! How are you?
The kitchen was once the heart of the house. Everyone gathered around the table sharing jokes, talking about their day, and waiting to see what mom made for dinner. The first lessons about healthy eating start at home in the kitchen.
Today I want to talk about pizza. Pizza was, is, and always will be an interesting subject because it is so versatile you can do whatever is in your mind with pizza dough. You can make bread, garlic sticks, crostini to use with salads and antipasto instead of bread, or even sweet pies: brush the dough before you bake it with sugar syrup and then add sweets, whipped cream, cherries, and strawberries… whatever you like! I’m not saying you need to stop going to your favorite pizza shop to order a classic pizza, but this is a fun way to entertain your kids and yourself in the kitchen by discovering the pleasures of being a kid again.
For the dough (makes 4, at 5 oz each):
16oz all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1oz olive oil
1 packet dry yeast
For the sauce:
14oz can plum tomato (chef’s cut)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
You will also need 2 cookie sheet pans.
In a stand up mixer with a hook, add the flour and salt and start mixing on a low setting. Add the water, oil, and the yeast. Let this run for a few minutes until the dough starts to form a soft ball. Take it out and transfer to a big, oiled bowl. Cover with saran wrap and let rise until it doubles in size (about 1 hour to an hour and a half) in a warm place. (Right now, with this weather, pretty much any place in the house will do!)
If you like, you can make the dough the day before, which will give the dough time to develop a better flavor. If you do this, let the dough rise for just an hour and then transfer—tightly covered—to the refrigerator. If air gets into the bowl, the dough will develop a crust. It isn’t the worst situation, but it doesn’t look great.
If you want to keep your pizza white, vegetables make a great topping.
The fastest way to make the sauce at home is just throw all the ingredients in your blender. The sauce will cook when your pizza is in the oven. Remember when working with plum tomato to drain all of the water before you crush them. When the pizza goes in the oven, the tomatoes will release even more water and the sauce will become very runny and ruin the pizza crust.
When you’re ready to do the pizza, preheat the oven to 475 F. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. On a sheet pan, put a little oil and start to stretch the dough (2 pieces to a pan). Have fun stretching the dough with your hands- it will still taste great no matter what the shape comes out to. Try rectangle or circle, but have fun using your hands to play around.
For toppings: Use your imagination! Mushrooms, pepperoni, sausage, ham and pineapple for a Hawaiian, go crazy! We made 2 with ground beef, sauce, peas, and mozzarella, and two with mozzarella, artichoke hearts, and bacon.
Top your pizzas with whatever you like and then place the sheet pans on the bottom rack of the oven and cook for about 6 minutes. Enjoy!
Liam’s Tomato Pie
This recipe is for one of my favorite little customers, Liam and his Dad, Ben.
(Hi Liam! Get your dad to make this recipe for you!)
For one mini pizza, you will need:
5 oz pizza dough (see recipe above)
2oz plum tomato (chef’s cut…be sure to drain the water…see the warning above)
pinch black pepper
pinch dried oregano
1 oz diced onions
1/2 oz olive oil
1/2 lb sweet sausage (or you can buy more and Dad can make sausage, peppers, and onions for his dinner)
To cook the sausage, preheat the oven to 425 F. Put the sausage in a baking pan that is at least 2 inches deep. Add about a cup of water. Cover with tin foil and cook for 25-30 minutes.
While the sausage is cooking, put the tomato, seasonings, onions, and olive oil in a food processor and pulse a few times. You still want it to be a little chunky, not very smooth.
When the sausage is done, remove from the oven and raise the temperature of the oven to 475 F. Stretch the dough on a sheet pan coated with a little bit of oil. Put the sauce on the pizza, and add your slices of sausage on top. With this recipe, be careful when removing the cooked pizza because there is nothing to keep the sauce in place without cheese and it will run all over the oven and make a huge mess. This will cause your wife to kill you and then you will both get made at me! Bake for 6 or 7 minutes and make Liam happy!
Want to know how to make one of your favorite dishes from Antica Trattoria at home? Let us know in the comments!