Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Simple Standards

Being an Italian lady, it's pretty much required that I know how to make the standard Italian dishes. But until recently, I hadn't really tried my hand at something simple that I see all over New York: PIZZA. Who doesn't love pizza?! Exactly. And after trying these two recipes, you won't be able to find anyone that doesn't agree. The dough takes thirty minutes to rise, and the sauce should sit for about twenty minutes to really blend all the flavors. Thus, I start with the dough, and by the time I'm done with the sauce, it's just enough time to wash the dishes and preheat the oven.

Made this one on a real pizza stone. Looks legit, right?  
So Simple It's Scary Pizza Dough:

1 package (.25 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 cups bread flour (I use self-rising enriched flour, and it works just fine.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the cup of warm water. Let it stand until it's creamy, or for about ten minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Then add the olive oil and yeast/water mixture. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. I find that using my hands is just fine to do this, also it allows me to add more flour if I think it needs it. Shape the dough into a giant ball in the center of the bowl, then cover it and let it rise until it has doubled in volume, about thirty minutes. Now, move on to the sauce!

*Don't forget to preheat the oven to a toasty 350 degrees F.

Savory and Completely Customizable Pizza Sauce:
*All my spice choices are optional, really. Consider them a starting p
oint to grow from, dependent on your own personal tastes.

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water (use the can to measure!)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste
*1 teaspoon anchovy paste (completely optional! I'm not a fan of anchovies, and didn't use any and my pizza tasted great…)

You'll also need some shredded cheese to top the sauce with later, I stick with the standard shredded mozzarella.
You can add anything else you like; mushrooms, onions, peppe
rs, pepperoni, etc.

In a bowl, combine it all together, making sure to whisk it a little to break up any cheese chunks. Let it sit for about twenty minutes, then spread it on the pizza dough and prepare your pizza to your hearts desire! This recipe makes enough to make one cookie sheet sized pizza. I don't own a pizza stone, so I just spread my pizza out on a cookie sheet, spread out the sauce, add my desired cheese and toppings and pop it in the oven at 350 F for about twenty minutes.


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