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IN THE KITCHEN

P 'n B
updated: Feb 08, 2014, 12:00 PM

By Rosie Sullivan

I quickly tire of the same ol' same ol'. You know - sandwiches, pasta dishes, burritos, pizza…that's a lie, I would have pizza and beer for every meal, if possible, I really would. And the fantastic thing is that pizza dough is incredibly simple to make. It's only a few ingredients and once you mix everything up, you let it sit for a few hours. Then you come back, the dough has magically doubled in size, you punch it, and roll it out!

To me the artistry of pizza lies not only in a good dough (the crust is the foundation of a good pizza, after all), but also in the variation of ingredients that you can top it with. There are so many combinations of tasty things that go great together and are definitely made to be eaten in the form of a triangular piece of deliciousness.

For beginners, a pizza stone and good rolling pin are not crucial but certainly recommended. You can use a cooking sheet and an empty wine bottle instead. Once you get serious about pizza making (as I did after trying it out only once) then these tools are mandatory.

Here is a simple dough recipe:
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 c warm water
3 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Step 1. Dissolve yeast in water, let stand for five mins.

2. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.

3. Gradually add yeast to dry mixture, add oil.

If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour and maybe a touch of water.

4. Turn ball of dough onto floured surface and knead for ten minutes (here's where you can take out any anger or stress you may be carrying around on the dough.)

5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel.

6. Let rise for 1-2 hrs., until doubled, then punch and divide in two.

7. Roll out, sprinkle pan or stone with cornmeal, top with lots of cheese and other goodies, bake around 450 for ~12 mins.

A slightly different recipe calls for 1 tbsp sugar to be dissolved in the yeast and water and to add ½ c of cornmeal into the dry ingredients. If you’re feeling fancy, spice up your savory dough with herbs and/or parmesan!

Another thing to do when making pizza from scratch is to make your own sauce! Pizza or marinara sauce from a jar will do in a pinch but it’s just so easy to make your own. And way more satisfying.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for tomato sauce:
1 c canned crushed Italian peeled tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper

And you just combine all of that in a bowl.

I always use a big can of diced tomatoes and simmer it with a bit of tomato paste and LOTS of herbs. I advise adding fresh basil to your sauce.

Now that the sauce and dough are complete, the toppings must be readied. Here are a few variations to try:
Chicken with rosemary and garlic and a touch of parsley

Pesto, sausage, and sautéed onions and mushrooms

Roasted vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers)

Try salami instead of pepperoni. Also, in addition to mozzarella, cheddar, and/or parmesan cheeses, experiment with gouda!

 

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