Category: pizza

Deep dish “pizza in a cake pan.”

Deep dish cake pan pizza! So easy!

If there’s one thing you take away from this post, it’s this: pizza is good.

There are people who will tell you it isn’t. There are folks who demonize it, bitch about the cheese or the amount of carbs. There are people who claim it’s greasy & unhealthy or who say things like “Wow, look, a heart attack on a plate.” Those people aren’t your friend. Sure, they disguise themselves as “friends.” But really, anyone who tries to tell you that pizza is bad is a horrible person.

Pizza isn’t bad. Pizza isn’t at fault.

People who eat pizza four times a day, every day, and eat themselves obese? They’re at fault. Those people who don’t get any exercise, eat crappy diets & then get sick & blame cheeseburgers or pizza? It still doesn’t make pizza- or burgers- the bad guy. Pizza isn’t an every day, all day meal. Neither are cupcakes. Or ice cream. Or cheeseburgers. And if you can’t understand that, and you’re blaming food, then honestly you need to sit down & re-examine your life. STOP BLAMING FOOD. STOP LABELING THINGS LIKE BREAD AS “BAD.” BREAD IS NOT BAD. You are bad for food shaming people. YOU are the asshole. By telling people to stop eating carbs or fats or sugar altogether you aren’t educating them in a good diet, you’re making them feel bad. Not to mention spreading false nutritional information, because since when has one or two slices of pizza- or even a whole pie, really- made anyone fat? Never, that’s when.

And let me just say this: one of the things that totally drive me nuts/insane/bananas/bonkers/pick a word about having a food blog that isn’t loaded down with quinoa or gluten-free fad diet stuff are the questions. Ohhh, the questions. Such as…

“Oh mah gah, like how do you NOT weigh 1,000 pounds!?”

“Holy crap if I ate like this I’d be a freakin’ WHALE! How do you stay so skinny?”

“Where do you put all this food??? You’re so thin!”

“Marilla, seriously, how are you able to eat all of this?”

“No really… how is it possible your house is full of delicious treats and you don’t eat them all?”

Have you ever heard of self-control? Moderation? COMMON SENSE? Do you HONESTLY think I eat nothing but cupcakes & pizza four times a day every single day? What planet do you come from? I eat a shit-ton of salads & vegetables, but who the hell wants to read about that? I certainly don’t. Salads are boring. Delicious, yes, but not interesting. Trained monkeys can figure out how to make a good salad, let’s face it, it’s not that hard. Also… these people asking these questions are clearly not food bloggers. Because if they were they’d realize that by the time the food is prepared, cooked & done, the photos are set-up & taken & every one else has eaten, we’re too damn tired to eat or to do anything but nap.

Deep dish cake pan pizza: how to make deep dish pizza the easy way, from the dough up. NO MIXER REQUIRED!Side note: isn’t it funny I posted ice cream and pizza within a few days of one another? I think so. Junk food done right!

Okay now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the good, positive pizza talk. ‘Cause everybody loves pizza! Well, unless you’re one of those buzzkills I mentioned above, anyway… but who cares about them? 

Being from New York, I especially love pizza. I’m partial to New York pizza, of course, but I do love me some deep dish. Thick, oiled crust, gooey cheese. Oh man. It’s some good stuff. I could live on pizza, really. Although like I said- that’s not exactly feasible… either way, I love it. I also love making my own pizza, as is evidenced by the four or five different recipes I have posted on this blog alone! Making your own dough is not as hard as you think it is, even if you don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook you can make your own awesome pizza dough.

EASY PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE

Makes two 8″ deep dish cake pan pizzas, one 9″x13″ pizza or 3-4 free form thin crust pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast (not instant)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups lukewarm water

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast, then make a well in the center.
  2. Add the olive oil and the 2 cups lukewarm water.
  3. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 5 minutes.
  4. Set aside in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel.

 Deep dish cake pan pizza with easy homemade dough.

How good does that look? Drool-worthy. And EASY. I promise you, it’s very, very easy.

DEEP DISH CAKE PAN PIZZA

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch homemade pizza dough (if using frozen or refrigerated, thaw & let it come to room temp)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce or sauce of your liking, homemade or store-bought (this sauce works well), or, two large tomatoes sliced & patted dry
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
  • shredded or finely grated parmesan cheese (I used a combination of both)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • sliced pepperoni, crumbled ground beef, or any toppings of your choice

To make the pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F and get two 8″ cake pans ready.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of dried basil & oregano in a small saucepan. Heat gently until it smells like it’s ready. Turn off the heat & brush the cake pans with it fairly liberally.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Press each ball into it’s own cake pan. If it springs back too much, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Punch & press it into the pan, pushing & pulling the “crust” over the top of the pans by roughly 1/2″.
  4. Brush the crust part with the olive oil mixture and sprinkled a handful of shredded parmesan and a 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over the bottom of each of the pizza crusts. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pizzas and add the sauce or sliced tomatoes and then the remaining mozzarella cheese, as well as any toppings you might want to add. Sprinkle with more parmesan (I used grated for the tops), add a basil leaf (if desired) and put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly & crust is golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before cutting. This dough also works when made in a single 9″ x 12″ baking dish or pan for a “Sicilian”-styled pizza. Cooking directions for that pan size can be found here.

I’d avoid using fresh mozzarella for this as it can be too watery and make your pizza too soupy. If you do use it, make sure it’s drained thoroughly & patted dry as much as possible. Also, if you make your own sauce for it, try using fire-roasted tomatoes. I guarantee you you’ll never want to use a regular can of tomatoes again. And be sure to use fresh tomatoes that have been patted dry of all liquid as well, if you aren’t using sauce & you’re taking the fresh tomato option.

Serve with more cheese, preferably while singing “That’s Amore.” Red gingham tablecloth & bottle of chianti with the straw bottom optional.

Deep dish cake pan pizza!

P.S. the tiki mug giveaway ends TONIGHT at 11:59 p.m. EST! Don’t miss out!

The grilled pizza experience.

Everyone loves grilling in the summer. And even though it’s the end of August, as far as I’m concerned there’s a lot of life left in summer & the grill. Along with the love of grilling, I have a love for pizza. It’s obvious to anyone who reads this blog even fairly regularly that I like to make (and eat) pizza. I have a gazillion different pizza dough recipes on here, all of them delicious in their own right. And here’s another!

This recipe isn’t mine, but it happens to be Joe & Jill Bidens’. Yes. The Vice President, Joe Biden. That guy. You know him? Yeah, apparently he’s got a mean grilled pizza recipe. It was in the September issue of the Food Network magazine, and I had been wanting to try grilling up some pizza, so really it was perfect timing. And the day I chose to make it was a beautiful day, sun was shining and no humidity. Lovely day for eating outside.

This dough requires not only a stand mixer, but an overnight resting period. If you don’t have a stand mixer/dough hook, you’re not into that or want to make this on the fly, check out this recipe for dough. It doesn’t require anything more than your hands and 10 minutes of resting and you can be on your way to grilled pizza paradise. This recipe also doesn’t have to make 6 pizzas, just make yours a bit thicker. Or you can refrigerate the dough for another day, or use it to make rosemary focaccia on the grill another time. I definitely plan on doing that. You’ll also probably have sauce left over, but it would be delicious on pasta too.

THE BIDENS’ GRILLED PIZZAS

Ingredients:

For the dough:
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼-ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,  plus more for the bowl
For the toppings:
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced and drained
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: Put 1 ½ cups warm water (110° to 115°) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk the flour, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a separate bowl, then add to the yeast mixture along with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together and look smooth, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium low and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 6 more minutes (it should stretch 3 inches without breaking). Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Lightly press down on the dough, then divide into 6 balls. Put on baking sheet, cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
  3. Meanwhile make the toppings: Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook about 3-5 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with your hands; add the juices. Rinse the can with 1 cup water and add to the pot. Add a handful of basil and season with salt & pepper. Increase the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly.
  4. Preheat one side of the grill to high, the other to medium. Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil; stretch the dough balls into thin ovals (about 8 x11″) on the sheets. Brush the tops of the dough with more oil.
  5. Working batches, grill the dough over high heat until bubbly on top and marked on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the dough onto the cooler side of the grill. Quickly top with sauce & cheese. Cover until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Transfer pizza to a cutting board, sprinkle with parmesan and remaining basil leaves. Serve!

Okay this was easily one of the best pizzas I ever had. Hands down. It’s a must-try for all of you. And yes, it can be done on a charcoal grill too, just keep an eye on it, it might very well cook faster because it’s unregulated heat. And the sauce? The sauce is fantastic.

As childish as it may sound, I’d be lying if I said a part of me wasn’t secretly filled with glee that I voted for his ticket in the 2008 election, and now I find out his pizza rocks. It was like a replay of my Clinton’s Chips all over again. I wonder if I could make those on the grill…

Margherita pizza all up in your face.

Another one of my obsessions in life is pizza. A good margherita pizza is like heaven on earth. Just a nice dough, good simple sauce, fresh mozzarella (or buffalo mozzarella) and fresh basil. Mmm. So delicious. I also enjoy grandma pizza, a big fat slice of sicilian pizza and regular ol’ pizza too. I’m a New Yorker, come on, these things are ingrained in us since birth, along with the love of bagels.

What is margherita pizza?

Pizza Margherita is a pizza prepared according to a recipe of the Italian chef Raffaelle Esposito. The pizza was first made in 1899 when Queen Marghereta visited Naples to escape a cholera epidemic in the north of Italy. The ingredients used to make a Margherita pizza, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, imitate the colors of the Italian flag. Queen Marghereta liked the pizza so much that she wrote a thank you letter to Esposito, who decided to name the pizza after the Queen.

I’ve made pizza before at home, a lot. It’s one of my favorite things to make. I’ve shared a few recipes on here and it’s starting to become a phenomenon like my macaroni & cheese obsession. But my whole point of this site is making life easy for busy cooks and bakers, yet making good, delicious food as well. And what’s better than pizza? Everyone likes pizza. It’s simple, doesn’t require a lot of planning, and even if you wanna make a more complex dough you still only have to do it the night before. But you don’t have to make a complex dough. There are tons of easy quick pizza dough recipes out there. Some of which you don’t even need to use a mixer for (this makes Lola sad, however). So in this post, I’ll show you a quick margherita pizza, and one with mushrooms as well, and I’ll also give you a recipe for another favorite pizza around here: carbonara. There are no pictures of that, as I didn’t make it this time, but I think you’ll get the idea.

Regular margherita pie in all it’s glory

QUICK & EASY PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (¼ oz.) active dry rapid-rise yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water (105 to 115° F)
  • 1 ½ tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • cornmeal, for sprinkling

Preparation:

  1. Mix ½ of flour with yeast, salt, water with honey dissolved in it, and olive oil.
  2. Beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Mix in remaining flour (dough should only be slightly sticky). Knead 5 minutes on a floured surface until smooth.
  3. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 10 minutes in a warm place.
  4. Punch dough down and divide in half. Punch down dough thoroughly and spread/stretch dough portion by hand and roller on a greased pizza pan. Move dough crust to pizza peel spread with coarse cornmeal or to pizza screen. Add sauce, cheese, and toppings and bake in preheated 500° F oven directly on the pizza stone for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool 2-3 minutes on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

This particular dough recipe requires both a mixer and a pizza stone. If you have neither, then try this recipe. If you’re looking for other pizza dough options, check the ‘pizza’ category. Usually, most recipes can be divided to make more than one, stretched thin to make thin crust, or used to make a thick crust, depending on your preference. Remember that some recipes rise more when cooking too, so go a bit thinner than you normally would if you like a super thin crust. This dough has a bit of a sweeter taste background because of the honey. If that doesn’t appeal to you, one of my other three dough recipes should. I personally prefer these two recipes to this one, but it’s good to try new things. I will say this: if the concept of honey in your pizza dough does not appeal to you, choose another recipe. If you’re open to trying it, then go right ahead. If it’s your first time making pizza at home, definitely use this recipe instead.

I topped it with my homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella (you know, those little balls? Not the shredded stuff in the bag or the block of Polly-O, although if you can’t get fresh then you can most certainly use that) and a basil leaf cut in a chiffonade (I’ll explain how to do that below) and on the other pie I put sliced white button mushrooms. As far as the fresh mozzarella, if you don’t have an Italian deli near you or can’t afford the higher priced fresh ones, BelGioioso now makes fresh mozzarella, it’s in the regular mozzarella section of supermarkets. It’s in a ball shape, and there’s also a larger one that comes in a sort of rounded tube.

Margherita with mushroom… up close & personal


If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, here’s a recipe for making an easy carbonara pizza, thanks to Rachael Ray. Carbonara is traditionally made with guanciale (pig’s cheeks), eggs, and parmesan. This recipe makes it a bit more appetizing by using pancetta, which is Italian bacon without the smoky flavor regular bacon has, ricotta cheese as well as pecorino romano, and it involves provolone cheese as well. Just follow the dough instructions above, or whatever dough creation/preparation you like, and use this as the topping.

CARBONARA PIZZA

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • ¼ pound pancetta, chopped
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Pepper
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups shredded provolone cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)
Directions:
  1. In a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add the ricotta, pecorino romano, egg yolks and garlic to the pancetta; season with pepper and stir to combine.
  2. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pizza dough, leaving a ½-inch border all around. Top with the provolone. Bake until the crust and topping are golden and cooked through. Scatter the parsley on top, cut and serve.

I just love how fresh mozzarella melts, it’s like cream. And let me tell you that the sauce I make is so amazing… I highly recommend you try it. At least once. You won’t be sorry. Delicioso! Go make some pizza, eat some pizza and then get some Red Mango. Yum.

Keep in mind also that homemade pizza dough can be used to make stromboli and calzones as well! You don’t have to always make pizza with it. Also, you can make cheesy breadsticks with it, or garlic knots. And as far as pizza toppings, anything you like can be used. Ham & pineapple (ew), pepperoni, chicken, broccoli, buffalo chicken & blue cheese, any kind of mushroom, cheddar cheese, monterey or pepper jack cheese, meatballs, peppers, anchovies, spinach, baked ziti… the choice is yours! Sauce or no sauce, even barbecue sauce… whatever floats your boat.

Okay… chiffonade. Chiffonade is the realy professional way of cutting basil, the way it comes on your dishes at restaurants: perfect little curled strips of fresh basil. It’s so easy to do, you’ll feel really stupid (just like I did) when you see how it’s done. First, take a basil leaf. Cut off the excess stem. Then, roll it up from the point down to the stem so you have a long tube. Holding the tube so it’s horizontal, use a sharp knife to cut the tube in even little pieces. Each of those pieces will be a “curl” of basil. Ta-da!

Now you can impress everyone you know by cutting your basil in a chiffonade. And if that doesn’t impress them, screw ‘em. They aren’t worth knowing.

The perfect pizza.

I decided the other day for Meatless Monday that I’d try out a new pizza dough recipe. I don’t eat that much meat, really, during an average week, and when I do, it’s chicken. I’ve pretty much cut out red meat for the most part, yes, I still cave in for a good, thick, juicy bacon cheeseburger (can you hear the arteries clogging?) but on average I just don’t eat it anymore. Most of my protein is chicken or fish. But I consciously cut out all meat on Monday’s now. Those of you who read this loyally know that I’m particularly partial to my old standby pizza dough recipe (I get like that, have you noticed how many times I’ve made my favorite cupcake recipe- the Magnolia Bakery vanilla? Lots). So this was big for me.

Mothereffin’ delicious…

First thing I noticed was how easy the dough was to work with. Much more elasticity and much easier to stretch. It was softer (and also stickier, so I added more flour) and came together much quicker; less “resting time.” The next thing I noticed was that it cooked much quicker too, I usually have an issue with my other recipe cooking evenly in the time given. Sometimes it’s perfect, other times not so much, but it tastes so good I forgive it.  But this recipe is so much better! It’s thicker, yet less dense than my other recipe, and it’s absolutely fantastic. I am not exaggerating, it really is the perfect pizza. I topped it with sauce, mozzarella and broccoli along with some Italian seasoning, but again, it goes without saying you can use any topping you want. Even if you’re one of those freaks who likes pineapple on it *cringes*

I adapted it a bit to fit my needs and likes, so that’ll be the recipe I’ll give you, along with a picture of the pizza before it was baked. Mangia!

PERFECT PIZZA

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 tbsps plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a 12″ x 9″ baking sheet. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast, then make a well in the center.
  2. Add the olive oil and the 2 cups lukewarm water.
  3. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 5 minutes.
  4. Roll out dough and press into prepared baking sheet, making a “crust” area that slightly overlaps the edge of the pan. Brush lightly with olive oil just on the center (not on the “crust” part).
  5. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, poke with a fork in random areas in the center to allow for the air to circulate and not create bubbles, then bake for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Remove the crust from the oven and spread sauce and cheese and toppings on top, leaving a border. Bake until golden, 20-30 minutes. It may even be longer/shorter, depending on your oven.
  7. Cut using a pizza cutter, and serve!

I think this has replaced my old recipe. I’m sorry, old recipe… we had good times while they lasted.

In other news, the 2nd birthday of Cupcake Rehab, my little bloggette here, is rapidly coming up on the horizon (September 12th to be exact). In celebration of such, I’m planning a HUMONGOUS giveaway- with a grand prize and a first prize, possibly a second prize as well. Which means two or three very, very, very lucky people will walk away with amazing goodies from TOPSTITCH.ORG (here’s her Artfire store where you can buy her beautiful stuffs), Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies, and Very Small Anna. And that’s just as of now.  I’m hoping the list grows so I can make this the biggest giveaway EVER. My last giveaway was a success, so I thought why not go bigger this time?

So on that note, if there are any Etsy sellers, or crafty people who don’t sell on Etsy,  or people who have things to contribute who have no idea what Etsy is  reading this, and they would like to contribute something (or a few somethings) for this giveaway, I would love to talk to you. I’m talking about button makers, hair clip makers, apron makers, cupcake topper makers/sellers, etc. All of you. If you’d like to help out and also get some publicity and advertising at the same time, please e·mail me!

And everyone else: I’ll be posting more information on it as I figure things out… so check back!

Daring Baker’s Challenge: Pizza & toppings!

Now this Daring Baker’s Challenge was one I was super psyched to do: PIZZA! I’ve posted before that I love pizza, and love making homemade pizza, as well as the fact that I’ve done it many times before… so for me this was a snap. An incredibly enjoyable snap, but a snap.

Pre-baking, regular (left) and ricotta mushroom.

This recipe was different than the one I normally use. My go-to recipe does not require an overnight “resting” period, so its a better spontaneous recipe. However the Daring Baker’s pizza dough recipe was mighty deelish. This is my fourth time participating in the Daring Baker’s Challenge and I have to tell you, I haven’t been disappointed with ANY of them so far. I highly encourage you to join in the fun, whether you have a blog or not!

Our challenge was to create the dough, to “toss it” (like a real pizzaiolo) and the one major rule was that we had to use sauce and toppings. I was not able to film or capture my tossing, as I was the only one around at the moment (and I dare you to take a good picture of something like that on auto-timer). But tossing it was a load of fun! I wasn’t very successful, I admit. I prefer the rolling method myself, or the “punching method” (which I  actually think is my own invention), but tossing it was certainly an experience. I used cornmeal to “dust” it because I use that on my other pizza recipe and I like the texture of it. I created one regular pizza: sauce and mozzarella cheese, and one special pizza: sauce, ricotta, mozzarella cheese and mushrooms. I baked mine on a pizza pan, not stone. I actually haven’t heard great things about pizza stones, but I’m willing to try and kind of want one.

This pizza dough can also be made gluten-free!

The origins of this challenge and the story behind it are somewhat sad. In the words of Rosa of Rosa’s Yummy Yums:

Originally, I was supposed to host this challenge together with Sher at http://www.whatdidyoueat.typepad.com (USA) and Glenna at http://www.afridgefulloffood.typepad.com (USA), but life’s sad events made me stride that horse alone…

As you all know by now, Sherry passed away tragically on the 20th of July2008 after having been struck by a massive heart-attack. Glenna, on her side, has decided to quit The Daring Baker’s and to stop her baking adventure for personal reasons. So that’s why I am all alone on that challenge.

Prior to her sudden death (9 days before), Sher had shared with me her recipe idea for the October challenge that she, Glenna and myself should have hosted together. When she died, it was clear for me that I would respect her choice and that I would still submit her recipe. This is my last ode to a very appreciated blogger, DB member, skilled baker and cook whom I miss a lot!

~ Sherry “Sher” Cermak 1948-2008 ~

Very very sad events indeed. So I dedicate this challenge to Sherry. I did not know her, nor did I ever speak to her, but she seemed like a lovely person and its a very sad story. :(

Since I couldn’t get a picture or video of myself tossing the dough, I’m including this YouTube video of someone else doing it, just to help you out in your pizza adventures. ;)

As per usual for these things, the recipe is hiding behind the ‘continue reading’ link below, so as to avoid confusion and a lengthy post. Enjoy!

Continue reading

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, thats amore!

Is there anyone who doesn’t like pizza? Maybe you don’t like sauce on it, maybe you only like mushrooms and anchovies, maybe you’re one of those weirdos who likes ham and pineapple (thats just sacreligious to me).. but either way, you HAVE to like pizza.

I’m from New York, and here we have quite a pizza tradition. Once you leave New York you will never get a good slice of pizza (real pizza, not Ci Ci’s or Pizza Hut) again, unless you go to Chicago- they’ve also got quite a pizza scene. But New York pizza and Chicago pizza are very different. New Yorkers eat their pizza thin, Chicagoers (Chicagoans? WHATEVER) eat their pizza thick and deep dish. But either way, in NY, pizza is a way of life here. You can’t walk down ANY street without seeing 5 pizza places. They may not all be the best, but they’re better than pizza in, say, Wisconsin… I can bet my life on it. Some of the best pizza I’ve had in my life was at Ray’s pizza (the REAL Ray’s!! I know, there are about 700 Ray’s pizza’s and they all claim to be the original…) at 5 a.m. after a night of bar-hopping. Pizza at 5 a.m.? Yeah, sweetheart, this is the city that never sleeps. Some of the other best pizza’s were at random, tiny, small holes-in-the-wall that you’d never even know were there.

Well today I give you a recipe for crusty pizza dough. Is my pizza dough as good as the “best”? Who knows. But its damn good to me. It involves yeast, and I know a lot of people (including myself, admittedly) get intimidated when yeast is involved, but trust me. Its so easy a monkey could do it. I guess pizzeria owners would get a bit miffed at me for that one… but really its true. You will however need a strong mixer with a dough hook for this recipe. Which brings me to… have I mentioned how much I love my KitchenAid? Have I? I think once or twice I may have mentioned it in passing. Even covered in flour shes gorgeous! I’ve named her Lola. If you love to cook and bake from scratch a mixer like this is really an excellent investment, and I’d seriously suggest it. But an easy shortcut is to buy some dough from your favorite pizza place and make some homemade pizza. This is something kids would love: have a homemade pizza night and let them make their own pies! Plus its fun to watch the dough rise, too.

As anyone knows, what really makes a pizza is the toppings. I prefer cheese or extra cheese, or margherita. Jay likes broccoli and mushroom, chicken and mushroom, pepperoni… you get the idea. You’re free to choose your own toppings… I don’t care if you take it old school classic with pepperoni, make a white pizza, go margherita style and use fresh tomato, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella or go all rustic and use potatoes. Its up to you. I’m just giving you the base- the rest is in your hands!

As Lidia Bastianich would say, “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!” (Everyone to the table to eat!)

CRUSTY PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredienti:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105° – 115° F)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2½ -3½ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp cornmeal

Indicazioni:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in the bowl of a mixer that has been warmed (run it under warm water for a bit). Add salt, olive oil and 2 ½ cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.
  2. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.
  3. Knead on speed 2 for about 2 minutes longer.
  4. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft until doubled in size- about 1 hour.
  5. Punch dough down. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  6. Brush 14-inch pizza pan with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Press dough across bottom of pan, forming a collar around the edges to hold the toppings.
  7. Add desired toppings. Bake at 450° F for 15-20 minutes.*

* For me, in my oven, it was closer to a half hour.

Remove from oven, cut… and eat! This recipe is for one pie. I split it to make two smaller pies (one plain and one mushroom which is the one pictured), and it fed three people total, with no leftovers. You could double this and make two large pies or four small ones, etc, etc. I also added ¼ tsp olive oil to the dough before putting the sauce and toppings on. I find it makes the dough smoother and its easier to spread the sauce on. If you like thin pizzas… make the dough VERY thin before cooking, because it rises and gets thicker in the oven. I thought I made my second pie pretty flat but it turned out more like a deep dish, which was a very nice surprise.

I do not use a pizza stone, I use a regular old school round pizza pan. I’m fairly sure the cooking time would change if you used a stone, so just be aware of that.

I’m told it was the “the best dough” people had ever tasted. Heh. Take that, Ray’s pizza! ;)

Oh- and if you are unaware what the title of this entry refers to, please, meet my husband Dean Martin and learn a thing or two.