Homemade Pizza, or, How to Overcome a Stressful Week

Sometimes life gets a little stressful, you know? There’s just always so much to do, so much to think about, and it can get to be a bit, well, much. So what can you do about it? Make a pizza, that’s what. Just forget about all the reading you have to do, all the “shoulds” and to-do lists, and just make something with your hands, something you can eat, something you can share. That’s what I did yesterday, and now my Chefskis talkin‘ ‘bout how maybe, just maybe, we can have this twice a month! If that isn’t a culinary victory, I don’t know what is 🙂

Pizza you can make yourself!
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: One small thin crust pizza that can serve 2 well (with a salad). Double the recipe for a fluffier, doughier dough. 
8 Tablespoons warm water (the original recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons white wine, which I didn’t have, so I incorporated that here; if you do have wine use 6 Tbs water)
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour (the original recipe calls for 1.5 cups flour, so I chose to do half n half)
Toppings and Additional Preparation
homemade sauce (ingredients and directions below)
a sprinkling of cornmeal
torn-up or shredded mozzarella
torn-up basil leaves
fresh, sliced mushrooms
1/2 clove minced garlic
whatever you want!
Dough Directions
1. In a medium bowl combine water and yeast, whisking together until completely dissolved.
2. Add the honey, olive oil and salt and combine thoroughly.
3. Add flour and work together with your hands to form the dough. You may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water to make it hold together (I did).
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes.
5. Like the author of smittenkitchen, I also like having fewer dishes to do, so I washed out the bowl I’d mixed the dough in, dried it, and used a dab of olive oil to coat the inside. Place the dough inside it, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1-2 hours (until doubled in size). A great tip I learned while making challah is that you can preheat the oven to 100 degrees, turn the oven off, THEN place your bowl inside the oven to let it rise faster. I forgot to preheat the oven this time but still chose it as the location for my rising.
At this point you can make your own sauce! (whoa!)
Sauce Ingredients:
4  Roma-ro-ma-ma, Roma Tomatoes (I used 4 Roma Grape Tomatoes + 2 Vine-Ripe Tomatoes instead)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Hefty pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (I love these so I used lots; adjust to your specific heat level)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
Splash red wine (I may not have had white on hand, but red…)
Sauce Directions
1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil.
2. Plop the tomatoes in the boiling water and leave them in for 1 minutes (you’re poaching them!)
3. Drain the pot using a strainer, and splash some cold water on the tomatoes. Now you can easily peel the skins off by cutting a little slit in the skin and pulling the whole thing off. 
4. In a medium sauce pan heat olive oil on medium-low heat. Be careful, because olive oil tends to get hot fast and then quickly start to get smokey… when you have a small kitchen with an inordinately closely-situated smoke detector… you just have to be extra careful. Add minced garlic and toss around with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute — don’t let them get brown.
5. Add pepper flakes, splash of red wine, and tomatoes, sugar, and salt. Use your spoon to break up the tomatoes a bit, then cover and let simmer at low heat for about 30 minutes, checking every now and then to break up tomatoes and toss ingredients together.
6.  Taste adjust spices if necessary (though, seriously, I added nothing to the above and loved it). 
Back to the dough!
1. Preheat your oven to it’s highest setting. Here it’s 500 degrees (so do it now! because it will take a while to heat).
2. I don’t yet have a pizza stone (something else to lust after), so if you don’t either, just sprinkle a baking sheet with some cornmeal. 
3. Now that the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and press it down with your hands. Roll it into a ball and cover with some plastic or an upended bowl for 15 minutes to rest.
4. Roll out the dough until it’s as thin as you want (as thin as possible around here). Now put it on the baking sheet.
5. Now whip out your toppings: add sauce, mozzarella, garlic, mushrooms, and basil (and whatever else you want. I’m too excited about making this again given the endless possibilities!)
6. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes. 
7. Succumb to the savory sensation before you 🙂 
This entry was published on February 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm. It’s filed under bread and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Homemade Pizza, or, How to Overcome a Stressful Week

  1. these photos are delicious. mmmmmm

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