Just another result of men playing in the kitchen. Try it..you’ll like it.
In fact, change the ingredients and have fun.
Half the fun is preparing it.
The rest is pure pleasure, I promise.
Here’s what you need to get started:
(Makes one large pizza – Serves 4 to 6 – But it’s never enough)
Pizza Dough: – I prefer to buy my pizza dough premade and wrapped in plastic from an authentic Italian Deli. My favorite: Amici’s Italian Deli in Westmont, IL. A large Boboli is OK, but you may as well just throw the ingredients on a cracker and you’ll get the same result. (Sorry Boboli)
BUT, if you prefer to make your own and don’t mind a mess in the kitchen, here’s a great recipe for an outstanding Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe. Or skip this and go to “Continue”, below.
Papa’s notes: This recipe says the olive (or vegetable oil) is optional. I use Olive oil every time – always olive oil, not vegetable oil. I love the moisture and suppleness it adds to the dough, and it makes my hands soft too. Smelly, but soft.
4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten, bread crumbs, or all-purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast
1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil (optional)
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40°F)
Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting
1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn’t come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a tea- spoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55F.
2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag.
3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)
4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours.
By now, you figured out why I buy my pizza dough from an Italian Deli, yes?
Ok, let’s Continue:
Pizza Sauce: 6 to 8 0z. Just enough to cover the top of the pizza dough with about ½ inch border, with some left over for a final drizzle
1 medium thick slice of Italian Pancetta (Italian bacon) chopped and par-cooked
(You can also use two slices of bacon)
Chop or slice the bacon into small bite sizes while it is still raw and pan fry it slightly til just before it turns brown.
½ to 3/4 cup mild Italian sausage, out of the skin.
3/4 cup of thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained and patted dry
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1/4 cup ea: Mozzarella and Romano cheese (grated or shredded)
½ teaspoon each: oregano, basil, salt, ground black pepper
1 (yes, only one) garlic clove, chopped.
1/2 cup diced or chopped tomatoes, added to the pizza sauce.
The “Mix” (pay attention now…this is very different)
Be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before preparation. (If they are all refrigerated, cooking time will be longer)
Place all ingredients, except the pizza sauce, sausage and spices in a 2 quart seal-able plastic bag and mix it until they are evenly balanced (Don’t knead it, just mix it like you mix a salad)
At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 500F. If you do not have a baking stone, you can use a perforated metal pizza pan, but do not preheat the pan.
Knead and press your pizza dough into a large, thin circle (or square, if you feel funky) and place it on the pizza stone or on the metal pizza pan.
Here’s the fun part!
Using a large spoon or ladle, spread about ¼ cup of the pizza sauce onto the pizza dough, leaving about ½ inch border around the edges.
Give the “Mix” one more tumble and spread about 1/2 of it evenly over the sauce, sprinkling with your fingers.
Place the sausage in bite sized bits, evenly across the top of the pizza, and sprinkle on the rest of the “mix”.
Drizzle the balance of the sauce across the top of the mix.
Place the stone or pan on the middle rack in your oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the toppings turn golden brown.
Let the Pizza sit out on the counter for about ten minutes before you slice.
Enjoy and repeat as often as you like.
Yes, of course you can change the ingredients. You don’t like onions, switch to black olives. No, try some pre-roasted red or green pepers. You get it now? That’s what a Pizza is. Just don’t go overboard with too much “wet” ingredients, otherwise we have to change the name to Pizza Soup. Hmmm, now there’s an idea!