Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza

Have I ever met anyone who didn't like pizza? I don't think so. Why is that? I don't know. Is it important? Maybe, maybe not. In any case, it is not the topic of this blog. Pizza is one of the few dishes my very picky 3-year old actually eats. Well, he eats the crust, anyway. Our pizza is always homemade. I make the dough in my bread machine, and then we put whatever topping we like. We have only sampled pies from in-town pizzerias on various kids' birthday parties - but they just don't do the pizza the way we like it. There's just something about the tomato sauce on bought pizza that I don't like. And they usually put way too much of it which makes the pizza soggy. Before we moved here, we had never heard of Greek pizza places either but they seem to be quite popular in this area. (Why don't you serve Greek food, by the way? It's one of my favorite cuisines - I already start drooling, thinking about moussaka or roast leg of lamb...)  We did like the pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso in Northampton, though. Another joint in that same town has probably the worst pizza I have ever eaten. I won't name the place here, of course. The amazing thing is, that that place is super popular and always crowded. Go figure. I guess my European taste buds just don't take to pizza that seems to be deep fried instead of baked. Well, here is how HubbyGrouch and me like our pizza. I only have to add that this recipe uses the metric system but I tried to convert it to US units.

Feta-Olive-Rosemary & Salami-Mozzarella Pizza
Ham-Olive-Caper-Mozzarella & Salami-Mozzarella Pizza

(makes two 12.5 inch pizzas)
250 ml (1 cup plus 1 tbsp) lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
375 g (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
olive oil in spray bottle
corn meal (or polenta) in a salt shaker
1  8oz can tomato sauce
freshly ground black pepper
pizza seasoning (or Italian seasoning or oregano)
dried crushed rosemary
6 slices genoa or hard salami
black or green olives, pitted and halved
1-2 oz ham (in cubes or slices cut into 2 inch  pieces)
1/2 tsp capers
1  8oz ball fresh mozzarella
2-3 oz crumbled feta cheese

If using a bread machine, use the (pizza) dough setting. Add the water, salt, sugar, oil, flour and yeast in the machine specific order to the bucket and start the program. If you don't have a bread machine, place flour in a large bowl. Push it to the sides from the center, forming a pit. Add water, salt, sugar, oil and yeast, and mix, slowly incorporating all the flower. Knead 15-20 minutes until dough is smooth. Cover bowl and let rest until dough volume is about doubled. Spray oil onto two 12.5 inch pizza dishes. Sprinkle corn flour onto pizza dishes (this makes the pizza crustier). Divide dough into 2 parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough into 12.5 inch round. Press into pizza pans. Put oven racks on 2nd and 4th position from bottom. Preheat oven to 450°F. Divide tomato sauce and spread onto both pizzas. Season with herbs and pepper, using rosemary for half a pizza. To the half with rosemary, add olives and feta cheese. Spread ham, capers and olives on another pizza half. Use 3 slices of salami for each of the remaining halves. Slice mozzarella and use for salami and ham pizza. Bake pizzas staggered for about 12 minutes (one in far right, one in near left corner of rack), using both racks (pizza pans should overlap as little as possible for best air circulation). Switch positions after half the time. Cut into slices and serve.

Feta-Olive-Rosemary & Salami-Mozzarella Pizza
Ham-Olive-Caper-Mozzarella & Salami-Mozzarella Pizza

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