Monday, September 20, 2010

Recipe: Homemade Gourmet Pizzas

We love love love Freschetta frozen pizzas. When I could get them on a good sale, I used to stockup. It was much cheaper than buying takeout pizzas or delivery pizzas, and tasted great too.  It was definitely cheaper than going to a local pizzeria. One day, though, I decided to make my own pizza. I've often had "casserole" dish pizza from home which IMO doesn't taste anything like delivery pizza...and only leaves you wanting "someone else's" pizza. I wanted something that would make my house smell like a pizzeria....and my taste buds to wonder whether I had gone to a sit down gourmet pizza restaurant. Well, I think I've finally made the homemade pizzas that have made us never eat pizza out ever again.So without furthur ado.... THE Pizza. :)

The Dough Recipe:
1 and 1/2 cup of hot water
1 Tbsp of yeast
1 Tbsp of Honey
1 Tbsp of Sugar
1/4 cup of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
4 and 3/4 cup of flour

#1- Preheat the oven to 475F.
#2-In a bowl (or your stand mixers mixing bowl), mix the water, sugar, honey, and yeast.
#3- Let that mix for a few minutes.
#4- Mix in the rest of the ingredients. (If you're using a stand mixer, I'd suggest smearing a little olive oil onto your dough hook before adding the rest of the ingredients.) 
#5- Mix together until blended and forms a slightly sticky ball of dough. (I know. I'm very technical. *wink*)
#6- Let you dough sit. Below is a pic of my big lump of dough while it's sitting on my cooktop rising. I leave it sitting there in the open because I don't like my dough to rise too terribly much...I like a denser, thin crust pizza. I usually leave it sitting there for 30-45 minutes. If you like a fluffier crusted pizza, I would recommend either wrapping your dough lump in plastic wrap (flour the outside of it first to prevent sticking) or placing it in a container and leaving it to rise about 45 minutes (keep checking though to make sure it's not getting crusty). The heat generated by the yeast in the lump and kept inside by the plastic wrap or container will activate the yeast and cause your lump to rise more.
#7- Next, split your dough into 2 pieces (if you're making 2 larges. You could split it into several smaller individual pizzas too). Then roll your dough out or punch and stretch it out to fit your pizza pan or stone.
I like to flour and roll out my dough on my stove's cooktop. It seems to keep the flour all on one surface and it's easy to see and clean up since its light colored flour on a dark cooktop.
#8- Place your rolled/punched out dough onto your pizza stone or your (floured or non-stick sprayed) pizza pan. 
#9- Next add sauce and your favorite toppings. I usually use about 2/3 cup of sauce for the base and about 1 and 3/4 cup of shredded cheese for the last topping. For the pizza in the pic above, I used 2/3 cup of sauce, some spinach, tomatoes, pepperoni, 1 cup of Italian 5 Cheese blend, and 3/4 of a cup of 2% Milk Mexican 4 Cheese Blend (b/c that was already open). I will say I almost always make sure that one of the cheeses has mozzarella in it, since that's a taste typically expected in a pizza. Lightly spray cooking spray on the crust  edges to get it to brown and crisp up (you could always brush butter on too).
#10- Then stick'er in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes at 475F.
Slice up and enjoy with a cool, crisp salad. Yummy!

1 comment: