Thursday, April 22, 2010
- Libyan Spaghetti-- "I don't like it, it tastes weird."
- Fried Rice-- "Its too spicy, why did you make it spicy?"
- Salad-- "Doesn't taste like much."
- Cassoulet-- "You added way too many beans." (He repeated this to me at least ten times over the next day or two.)
- Moroccan Stew-- "I don't like that it has a sweet smell, I'm going to have a steak."
So you can imagine my relief and feeling of utter triumph when last night he finally, really, truly, without reservations or critiques liked something I made: Pizza.
I found the recipes for the dough and some of the more interesting variations of toppings on the site smittenkitchen.com, shortly after the homemade pizza-making craze of last summer (you didn't hear about that?) that made the food blogs useless for me because I didn't think I could make pizza. This is a common misconception, specially considering pizza's humble beginnings.
For a homemade pizza, here's a really simple recipe for the dough, my recipe of the sauce, and I'll include the specific mix of ingredients I used to create the pizza that actually got my Dad to finally say, "That was really good, honey."
Easy Homemade Pizza (with Mushrooms and Onions)
Dough recipe adapted from SmittenKitchen
3 cups flour (I split the difference between whole wheat and all-purpose)
1 packet Dry Active Yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
For Sauce: (Bonus: you will have leftovers so you can use them for pasta)
1 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 white onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (Disclaimer: I used a North African spice mix RX gave me for Christmas so I know cayenne is included but not sure what else, you can also use crushed red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
Splash of red wine
Salt and Pepper
For Mushrooms and Onions:
1/2 cup buffalo mozzarella, shredded
2/3 cup smoked mozzarella, shredded
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained (you can also use one packet of fresh mushrooms sliced, I was working with what I had)
1/2 white onion, sliced into half moons
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Starting with the dough, mix together all dry ingredients then slowly add the water, mixing as you go. Add more water is necessary. When dough is sticky, place on floured surface and knead for a minute or so. If its too sticky, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes under a mixing bowl.
When the dough is soft and malleable, roll into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Make sure all sides of the dough are coated in oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 1-2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat up olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onions, salt lightly. Sweat them until they are soft then add Italian seasoning, cayenne, if using, and garlic, allow to cook for a few more minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, some more salt and pepper and the sugar, and stir. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer. While its simmering add the wine. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for at least twenty minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
During this time, start on the topping. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan or skillet, add the onions. Sweat them until the become limp then add the mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.
When the dough has risen, place on a floured surface and flatten it to get all the air out. Knead it gently once again, roll into a ball, and allow to rise under the plastic wrap for another twenty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a pizza pan or cookie sheet by sprinkling cornmeal evenly over it. If no cornmeal, I find oiling it has also worked.
When the dough is ready, use your hands to stretch it out then place on the pizza pan or cookie sheet and gently spread it out with your hands. This can get greasy. When the dough is sufficiently spread out, cover the surface with sauce then top with both cheeses. Add the mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper over everything and glide it into the oven. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes (check it occasionally depending on how hot your oven gets). The crust should be golden brown and the cheese melted and slightly seared.
Posted by Andrea Moya at 8:23 AM