Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pizza, My Way

This time of year, most people look forward to the gentle harbingers of spring: lightly chirping birds, fragrant spring rains, the year's first crocus buds pushing through the soil. In Kansas, however, just in case we miss all the delicate signs of the season, we have more forceful reminders that spring has arrived- namely, tornadoes- and this weekend, spring arrived with a vengeance. It took less than 5 minutes to turn our clear blue Kansas sky into a whirl of angry darkness, spewing forth hail, heavy rain, strong wind, and other storm-associated wrathfulness.
Once the sirens started blaring, the hubs and I hung out in the basement for all of ten minutes, and then, as quickly as it started, the storm ended. We found out later that a few tornadoes had either touched down or been spotted in the area, but nothing severe. No damage, no injuries- just a quick announcement that spring is here. Yay spring!

To celebrate the official change of season, I made the (un)official celebratory food: pizza! Really, I just had a bunch of random ingredients that I knew I could use for a good pizza, but that's why I love this stuff. It's so versatile- you can put pretty much anything on it, so you can cater it to your own tastes and nutritional needs- and it covers all of the major food groups. I can almost ALWAYS find a nice melange of ingredients laying around to make a good pizza. What more could you want?

I prefer pizza with very little to no sauce (with a few exceptions) and I don't like any meats gracing my pizza except prosciutto. Fortunately, I had some leftover various mushrooms, spinach, shallots, random sprigs of fresh herbs, and chevre lounging in my kitchen just waiting to be utilized in a manner pleasing to moi. This recipe guideline (it really is just a guideline- no set amounts of anything, just however you like it) is my usual fallback for pizza (though I love making pizza margherita almost as often), but you can put whatever you want on yours. You know, have it your way.

Shallot

Pizza, my way

1 batch pizza dough (recipe follows)
Olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced OR a few shallots, sliced
various wild mushrooms, sliced OR sliced portabellas
Flake salt
Spinach leaves
A few sprigs of various herbs
Chevre


Preheat oven to highest heat with pizza stone in oven. If you don't have a pizza stone, use a baking sheet.

Sautee red onion/shallots and mushrooms for a few minutes in olive oil. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt, add spinach and herbs and cook a few minutes more. After pizza dough is formed and ready to cook, cut/break small chunks of chevre and scatter across pizza dough. Top with sauteed mushroom mix and a few more chunks of cheese and lightly drizzle with olive oil, then transfer pizza to pizza stone and bake 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately.



Pizza Dough
(Adapted from smittenkitchen


Yield: One small, thin-crust pizza

Dough
6 tablespoons warm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more water)
2 tablespoons white wine
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups flour

Assembly
Cornmeal for sprinkling
Flour for dusting counter


Wee Yeasties

Whisk wine, water and yeast in a medium bowl until yeast has dissolved. Add honey, salt and olive oil and stir. Add flour and no matter how dry it looks, work it with a spoon and your fingers until it comes together as a dough. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if you need, but this is almost never necessary.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for a minute or two.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise for an hour or up to two, until it is doubled.

Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured counter and gently deflate the dough with the palm of your hands. Form it into a ball and let it rest on a floured spot with either plastic wrap over it (sprinkle the top of the dough with flour so it doesn’t stick) or an upended bowl. In 15 minutes, it is ready to roll out. Do so on the floured counter until pretty thin, then lift it onto a cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet or pizza paddle.

3 comments:

  1. Kansas isn't all boring, eh? Guess a land as flat as that needs *something* to make it stand out... And what better way than the pierced tongue that is a tornado??? Okay, that was a stretch, I know...

    I LOVE pizza, so I'm excited for this. With all the recipes and advice about pizza dough, I'm glad someone I trust has already gone there. I'm following YOUR footsteps, my dear!

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  2. This recipe makes a good crust, but I'm still searching out the PERFECT crust. I need to try Reinhart's, but I haven't made pizza again since I got the book.

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