Homemade Pizza

We love pizza, and I usually make it at home.  (It’s a great use for old ciabatta also.  I’ll  show you that some other day.)  Every so often when I’m dividing my dough for loaves in the bakery, I have an enough extra dough to save for making pizza.  When I discover it in the fridge a day or two later–hooray!  Dinner solved. This past Thursday I saved a piece of dough from my sourdough whole wheat sesame bread , and we ate pizza on Saturday night.  Dough can last  up to 4 days if you’re lucky. But sometimes it doesn’t keep well, and gets gummy and bitter, so it’s best to use it asap.   If you don’t have dough in the fridge, you can make a piece of dough from any recipe, or even buy some dough at the store.  For everyday pizza, it’s the other ingredients that make it great.  I want to encourage you to make your own pizza when you want something really delicious.

pizza dough rolled out

First, if your dough is cold,  let it sit at room temperature for about 15 or 20 minutes before rolling it out to fit your pan.  I used about 20 ounces of dough for this 12″ pizza pan. I  used a rolling pin, with as little pressure as possible to maintain the structure of the dough. If you want, brush with olive oil or truffle oil or pesto before adding anything else.

For the sauce: in the summer, you don’t even need sauce.  Just peel one or two of your best tasting garden tomatoes, slice thinly with a serrated knife, and lay slices over your dough.  This being december, no fresh tomatoes here.  So here’s an idea: plain tomato sauce that you  jazz up. This one is

sauce with additions

unsalted.  There’s plenty of  salt in the cheeses anyway, and of course many toppings also have salt. In my opinion, unsalted sauce is actually a flavor enhancer and it all balances out deliciously.  To an 8 ounce can of sauce, I  added chopped fresh garlic, a chopped home-grown frozen jalapeno, and a few pieces of soaked dried porcini mushrooms.  These aren’t so available, but they’re the tastiest mushrooms of all.  Find them at  the strip in Pittsburgh, or a grocery store that sells Italian ingredients, or by mail order. Of course you can use regular button mushrooms or portabellos.  You can add some herbs to the sauce too if you want.  I used the whole can on the 12″pizza.

ready for the oven

I buy mozzarella and parmesan and keep them frozen.  (I use what I need and keep the rest frozen.)  So–put the mozzarella on top of the sauce, then add your toppings.  The most important is onions.  I  added  some anchovies and some capers. Then sprinkle about 1/2 cup of grated parmesan.  It’s nice to sprinkle some dried oregano and black pepper before putting in a very hot oven.  It should be at least 500 degrees, and up to 600.  Bake till there’s some browning on top and also check under the crust with a spatula and make sure that’s brown too. It will take 15- 20 minutes. If you want, you can slip it off the pan so it’s directly on the oven rack for the last few minutes.   When it’s done, slide it off the pan onto  a cutting board. (If you took it off the pan, use the pan to remove it from the oven and onto the cutting board.)  Cut it, then slide onto a cooling rack to help the bottom stay crisp.

Yum, rarely met a pizza I didn’t like!

– Mimi

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