Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Big Night of Pizza
This past Saturday I recreated my own version of the Big Night food spectacle, in which excessive amounts of food are steadily and shockingly produced from a very hot and crazy kitchen. And it was SO MUCH FUN.
It was my birthday pizza party! I made the dough from scratch using (roughly) the following recipe:
2 teaspoons instant yeast (note: this is not the same as "dry active yeast")
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup lukewarm water
I used my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attachment to prepare the dough, but you can just as well do it by hand in a big bowl with a wooden spoon. First mix the yeast, flour,olive oil, and salt, then add the water slowly, stirring as you do, until it forms a shaggy ball of dough. Now knead until it's smooth and slightly sticky and springs back when you poke it. Transfer to a big oiled bowl and let rise for 1 hour before dividing into two balls of dough for pizza, or you can rise for 45 minutes and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours until you are ready to use it (just be sure to take it out about 2 hours before you plan to use it). Roll each ball of dough to your liking (I made mine into about 14-inch pies) and top however you please!
Here's what I had for toppings:
The Margharita: sliced Roma tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, and torn basil leaves
The Sausage: tomato sauce, browned hot or sweet Italian sausage, thinly sliced red onion, and mozzarella
The Goat: (most popular!) pesto with roasted garlic, roasted red pepper strips, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, goat cheese, and oregano
The Popeye: Spinach sauteed with garlic and nutmeg, and ricotta cheese
Once your pizza is topped, either bake it on a sheet tray or slide it onto a pizza stone in a very hot oven - as high as yours will go. Mine was cranked up to 500 deg. F. Set the timer for 10 minutes, check to see if the crust is browning and the cheese melting to your liking, and if it still needs some more time, check back every 1 minute, up to 20 minutes. My oven's sweet spot was 13 minutes flat.
Give it a try! and check out some action shots: