Friday was one of those days. Well, Friday itself was a pretty decent – VERY productive – day, but the rest of the week seemed like a full moon was out in force. Anyway, it was definitely a homemade pizza day. And a beer night. Okay, maybe a three or four beer night.
Pizza is probably my favorite food. Rick hates it when I ask him what his “favorite” anything is (he also says he doesn’t eat bacon), but if I’d have to wager, I’d say pizza’s his favorite food, too.
We topped this one with roasted cherry tomatoes & basil, a tiny smear of jarred pizza sauce, red onion, a tiny smidge of bacon, green pepper, roasted red peppers and, of course, mozzarella & parmesan cheese. I always sprinkle my pizza with crushed red pepper flakes, salt & black pepper, too. And extra basil (fresh) or oregano (dried) on top.
This was maybe the best one yet. Although the seafood pizza we made a few weeks ago was killer.
Onions, mushrooms, shrimp & tilapia (because I had some in the freezer) sautéed in a little butter, olive oil & white wine, thickened just a smidge with a dusting of flour at some point during the sauté and seasoned with a dash of Old Bay. That was both a sauce and topping, and I did add some roasted red sweet peppers (jarred, I’ll admit) and just a thin layer of cheeses. (Basil & seasonings, same as always.)
I’ve also made this in a deep-dish version by lining a 10” cake pan with it, pressing it up the sides and pre-baking it for about 5 minutes before adding the toppings – lots of simple pizza sauce, bacon, onions, olives, peperoncini & feta cheese, Greek-like.
One more time and I’ll have this memorized. After the first couple times you make it it’s a fun, organic process that’s very therapeutic and PERFECT for a Friday after a long week. For no other reason than nothing goes better with wine or beer than pizza. Bon jour no!
Pizza Dough (by hand, not by mixer)
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup hot water (120-130 degrees)
pinch of sugar
1 tsp sea salt
3 – 3+1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
First, warm a medium-sized glass or ceramic mixing bowl by swirling some hot water in it. Drain. Put the yeast in the bowl, then the hot water & sugar. Stir with a fork and let sit until the yeast dissolves & gets foamy (5-10 minutes).
Use a wooden spoon to mix in the salt and about a cup of flour until blended.
Mix in a second cup of flour and stir until the dough forms a mass & starts to pull away from the bowl.
Sprinkle about a 1/2 cup of flour on a clean countertop (give yourself PLENTY of room to work the dough and avoid the countertop above your dishwasher or other hot appliance) and start working the rest of the flour into the dough gradually, kneading for about 10-12 minutes until the dough is smooth & stretchy.
Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl with olive oil & put the smooth doughball inside. Cover with a clean damp dishtowel and place in a very warm spot and let rise until it doubles in size, about 40-50 minutes. If you can’t find a warm enough spot, turn your oven on “warm” for about ten minutes, put the bowl of dough inside, turn off the oven and let it proof in the turned-off but warm oven. (
The recipe I use says to test the dough by poking two fingers into it, and if the indentations remain, the dough is ready. This IS so not as scientific as it sounds. I’ve made this dough half a dozen times or more and it seems to turn out slightly different every time, but bakes up great, dependably.
Knead the risen dough for another minute or two before rolling or stretching into shape on a pizza pan. I use a non-stick 14” pan with holes in the bottom that seems to make perfect, non-greasy, lightly crispy crust.
This serves 2 people who are eating WAY late on a Friday after a super long week at work or 4 people if you also have a salad or appetizers to tame the beast.
Recipe straight out of my favorite, simplest cook book: Italian, by Kate Whiteman, Jeni Wright & Angela Boggiano. I would seriously recommend buying this book, actually, and have to thank Linda for giving it to me as a gift, along with her incredible lasagna recipe. Thanks, Lin!