Friday, March 11, 2011

Family Pan-Style Pizza!

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I have had a rough week in the kitchen.

I burned a batch of banana muffins (I very rarely burn stuff to the point of being inedible!), my florentines stuck to my baking sheet (no, we don't get silpat here) and my freezer stopped working for a few hours. And I didn't notice till everything started to smell funky. So, my stash of frozen ready-to-eat goodies (yummy leftovers) was turned to mush. I had to throw away a tub of delicious, spicy chili, some really nice fish cakes & a batch of fudge crinkles, among other things. The crinkles were fine really, but had absorbed too many smells to be edible. Sigh!

But at least I didn't burn the pizza.

My favorite recipe for pizza crust is one I got out of this little cookbook I found at a book sale. I can't even find a proper link for it on Google. It is one of those Little Guides book. Anyways, the recipe is for a Neapolitan crust but I find it works well for both thin crust as well as a pan-style pizza.

Neapolitan Pizza Crust
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups flour

1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water & set aside for until creamy (about 10 minutes).
2. Stir in the cold water and the oil.
3. Add about 1/2 cup pf the flour along with the salt and stir or whisk until smooth.
4. Add the remaining flour gradually until you have a soft dough.
5. Turn this dough out onto your work surface and knead until soft and stretchy (about 10-15 minutes).
6. Cover with a clean, damp dish-cloth & leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough should more than double in this time.
7. Knock the dough back and knead again briefly.
8. Roll out & shape as desired. Place on a greased, lightly-floured baking tray.
9. Leave to rise for 5-10 minutes. Add desired toppings & bake until the base is lightly golden and crunchy.

I like to brush the exposed edges of the crust with olive oil to make it moister & add flavor to often discarded bits of the pizza.

I love this recipe for 2 reasons. One, it is really easy to put together. And two, I love the texture. It is crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft & spongy on the inside. Just perfect!

For my family this week, opinions were divided. One group wanted sausages galore and the other would have none. So we did a half-and-half pan pizza and it was really good.

For my pizza sauce, I used proportions that have
always worked for me. It isn't a recipe from anywhere.

Basic Pizza sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, grated
1 tsp dried basil
4 large ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled & pureed
1 200ml pkt tomato puree
Salt & pepper & chilli flakes to taste

1. Sautee the onion & garlic in the olive oil until the onion is soft and translucent. I add a pinch of salt to keep the onion from browning too soon.
2. Add the tomato puree, fresh tomato puree & the basil & cook until the tomato puree is cooked through. Reduce until sauce is the right consistency for spreading.
3. Adjust seasoning & add chilli flakes if desired.

If the tomatoes are too tart, I like to add a little brown sugar to balance it out.

With these two basic recipes, I like to play with the toppings. This week it was onion, red & yellow peppers, broccoli, zucchini & sausage. The cheeses were mozarella & cheddar. The reason I didn't get a picture of the baked pizza is because it was sliced up and served before I realized it! And that's always a good sign! :)

Here's hoping there are no more kitchen disasters in the coming week! Especially because I plan to do my first Daring Bakers challenge! Fingers crossed! :)

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Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to give this a try, but I will admit that I haven't had much luck with homemade pizza dough. Heck, I'm not lucky with store-bought dough either. My favorite pizza is a Margherita, but I like to explore toppings as well. Second favorite: Buffalo Chicken Wing with Bleu Cheese :)

The Harried Cook said...

I love Margherita too.. but I have never tried Buffalo Chicken Wing & Blue Cheese on a pizza! Sounds very, very interesting... thanks for the idea for my next pizza! :)

Clover said...

I want this also when I visit, PLEASE PLEASE!!

The Harried Cook said...

of course! :)

Vishaalini said...

Hey Marsha.. I tried this last night and the pizza's turned our yummy!!! My hubby was amazed that I managed to do it from scratch. A big big thank you for this amazing recipe.

I am now gonna try every recipe of yours. :)

Hugs!!! :)

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