Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pizza Night!

My husband and I make pizza all the time.  Like......way too much.  It's a problem.  We never used to do this until we found our infallible pizza crust recipe.  It is to die for.  It's really simple, it only has to rise for an hour, and I'm gonna share it with you in just a second.  So the other night I had mixed up a crust and it was all ready to go.  I went to grab a can of tomatoes to make marinara and I didn't have any!  What!?  I always have canned tomatoes for impromptu pizzas!  What to do!?!  Then I spotted a jar of roasted red peppers that I had picked up cuz they were on sale.  Hmmmm......... So I roasted an onion and about six cloves of garlic  for about 20 minutes on 400 degrees (I like garlic, you should too).  I added this to the jar of red peppers.  Be sure to drain the water/oil/whatever it is packaged in first.  I added a little olive oil, a few sprigs of basil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning (a bit of red wine wouldn't hurt if you've got it).  Then I pureed it all until it was smooth but still had some chunk to it (I used a hand blender, which I got for my birthday and I have found about 8 million uses for). This was what I used instead of marinara, and it was delicious!  I topped the pizza with chicken and pepperoni.  Here is what that looked like.

 Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.  Gorgeous right?

Finished product.  We ate half for dinner and then the other half for a late night snack.
Ok, so here is the pizza dough recipe that I use.  It's Jamie Oliver's recipe, but he uses olive oil, and I have found it is better with Canola oil.  I know that sounds weird, but trust me, it's better.  This calls for a tiny bit of kneading, but don't be intimidated, and don't bust out the KitchenAid Mixer!  This is super simple, you can do it yourself.

Jamie Oliver's Pizza Dough (Tiny Changes Made by Me)

3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (sift the flour, then re-measure it)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt (Normal salt works too, use what you've got)
1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Canola oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

First you add the water, yeast, sugar and canola oil in a bowl.  That needs to sit for about five minutes.  The yeast will rise up and get all puffy.  It should look like this.

Push the flour to the sides of the bowl so that there is a well in the center.  Once the yeast has done its thing, add it to the well.  Stir the flour into the liquid starting from the sides of the well and moving out. As you are stirring, sprinkle in the 2 teaspoons salt.  Salt kills yeast, this is why it needs to be gently added into the mixture.  Mix it into a shaggy mixture that looks like this.  

Now we are going to knead.  If you have never kneaded dough, it's simply pushing the dough and then folding it, pushing it and folding it.  There are tons of youtube videos on it if you are really confused, but this recipe should work fine even for novice kneaders.  Add a little flour to your surface (a clean table or counter works fine) and knead the dough for just about a minute.  Form it into a dimply ball that should look like this.

Clean your bowl and add a little oil to it to coat the bowl.  I find that a little baking spray works great for coating the whole bowl.  Add the dough ball to the bowl and turn it to get a coating of oil over the whole ball.  Top the bowl with a clean, damp towel and put it in a warm place.  An oven works great but be sure not to turn it on!  After an hour, your dough should look like this.

Another sexy rise!  This is what you are looking for.  Oil a pizza pan, and gently tug the dough into the shape of the pan.  This should be relatively easy, it won't fight you.  Now let that sit for fifteen minutes. Don't skip this part!  It needs to rise just a bit more.  Turn your oven up AS HOT AS IT WILL GO!  Top your pizza with desired toppings and throw it in your hot oven.  In my oven, the pizza cooks in about 12 minutes, but I have found that this recipe varies from oven to oven.  So keep an eye on it.  I know this seems like a lot of steps, but trust me, this is a very simple recipe that will give you amazing results. 

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