Pizzaby:Admin, September 7th, 2010
Whenever we have a full house, it is a lot of fun to fire up the oven and make an evening of delicious pizza.We are lucky to have a Peter Moore wood fired pizza oven at home. For those of you who do not, a baking stone in the oven works very well.
The toppings for pizza vary so wildly. We always try to have a little of everything so that people can make their own to suit their tastes or mood.
Yield 4 12-inch pizzas
Ingredients: Pizza Dough (make the day before the party)
- 10 Ounces OO Flour*
- 10 Ounces Bread Flour
- 4 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast
- 1 1/2 Cups Room Temperature Water
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Let rest for 20 minutes. Knead on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough should be quite moist, it should stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl, add a little more water if necessary.
Remove to a bowl, rub lightly with oil and allow to rise for 3-4 hours at room temperature, punch down the dough every time it doubles, approximately every hour. Divide into 4 pieces, shape each piece into balls and lightly rub with olive oil. Refrigerate for 12 hours or up to 2 days, covered. (If you leave the dough for a couple of days, once a day, reshape the balls.)
Remove the dough from the refrigerator 1 hour before you are going to start making pizza.
*OO Flour is an Italian flour that has been very finely ground. We are lucky to have Al Ducci’s, a great Italian grocer, here in Manchester Vermont that sells OO Flour. If you do not have an Italian grocery store in your area, you can order it from King Arthur Flour they call it Italian Style Flour.
A quick note on Al Ducci’s: If you don’t feel like making pizza but are craving it, they make the best pizza in town.
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Onion, minced
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1 (35 Ounce) Can Whole Plum Tomatoes, pureed
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and let cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomato, sugar, salt, and oregano. Cook the sauce at a low simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the sauce is delicious.
Ask your guests what type of pizza they enjoy, here are some toppings we have made great pizza with in the past:
You need about 1 Pound Fresh Mozzarella for 4 pizzas
- Ricotta Cheese
- Fresh Basil
- Cooked Sausage
- Sauteed Mushrooms
- Sauteed Peppers and Onions
- Sauteed Spinach
- Sauteed Zucchini
- Sliced Meatballs
- Chopped Clams
- Fried Eggplant
Making the Pizza
If you are using a pizza stone or a wood fired oven, you will need a couple hours to heat the stone. For our wood fired oven, we start the fire 2-3 hours before we are going to start cooking. For a home oven, 2 hours prior to making the pizza, place the baking stone in the oven and set the oven at 500° (or the highest temperature possible) to heat the stone. Preheating the stone like this allows the pizza crust to rise well, creating a great texture.
Lightly dip a ball of dough into flour. Shake off any excess. Using your hands, press and shape the dough into a circle about 12 inches. First press the dough, then lift it and turn it to allow the dough to stretch to a nice round, slightly thinner at the middle than in the edge. Do not be too caught up in making a perfect round, the roundness of the pie does not effect the flavor at all.
You will need a peel (the large wooden board that you have seen pizza makers slide the pizza into the oven from). If you do not have a peel, you will need to use your imagination, your best bet will most likely be one of those cookie sheets that does not have any sides, I have used the bottom of a sheet pan, a cutting board…
If you are making pizza inside in the oven, sprinkle the peel with cornmeal, in the wood fired oven, sprinkle the peel with flour. Place the shaped dough on the peel and proceed with toppings (see below for some ideas).
The cooking time will vary from oven to oven, if set at the highest temperature. It will take about 12 minutes, but keep an eye on the first one to be safe.
When you remove the pizza from the oven, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan Cheese and salt.
Some combination we like:
We always make at least one Margherita Pizza: Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella. Add torn fresh basil when it comes out of the oven.
Tomato Sauce, Sauteed Mushroom, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Cooked Sweet Sausage
Tomato Sauce, Ricotta, and Fried Eggplant
Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, Sauteed Zucchini, and Sauteed Mushroom
Ricotta, Sauteed Spinach, and Italian Sausage
Olive Oil (or Bechamel Sauce) Chopped Clams, Garlic, and Parsley
Caramelized Onions, Pears and Foie Gras? Obviously the possibilities here are endless…