Thursday, October 6, 2011

Springy Pizza

Here is one of my favorite "getting to know you" questions: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?? 

I always say pizza, for many reasons.  Mostly it's because I take these questions way too seriously and therefore have an answer that I would actually be happy with in real life.  Coz you never know when you'll find yourself stuck in a magical universe where you are only allowed to eat the one food that you specify at the beginning of your stay, like a special kind of hell.  (Clearly I've read too many fantasy books with alternative magical universes.)  I'm determined to be less uncomfortable than everyone else in that hell!  See in my mind, pizza is so loosely defined that you can really put anything on a pizza, and you can switch it up all the time, you just have to have it on a crust.  The possibilities are way better than if you said you wanted to bring steak to One Food Hell, I mean that's just silly!

Also, I just love pizza.  Deep dish Chicago-style, flat and floppy New York-style; thin crust, stuffed crust, or garlic bread crust; square, round, saucey, non-saucey white pizza; vegetarian or supreme or just plain cheese, I love them all!  Do you remember Domino's thin-crust pizza from back in the day?  It was huge and round and as thin as paper and my Mom hated it because she thought it tasted like cardboard, but man that was some gooood cardboard!  Then when I was a senior in high school Pizza Hut had The Insider, which was stacked like this: bottom layer of thinnish crust, layer of four cheeses, more crust, tiny bit of sauce, then more cheese and only one or two toppings.  I think the point was to appreciate the cheese, and appreciate I did.  I distinctly recall going to Pizza Hut like once a week that year with my boyfriend and another couple, and who actually goes to Pizza Hut? 

Last week we gave making our own pizza dough a go for the first time, and I'm pretty sure we'll make it every week for the rest of our lives.  I got the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  It's so easy, I passed it off to Jonno to make the dough, and after a quick lesson on what a dough hook for the mixer is, he was away laughing.  And giggling.  And dancing with glee.  The dough needs about an hour to rise in a warm place, or if you're lacking in warmth during a southerly, in a low oven.  Then you splash some olive oil on a baking sheet, plonk the dough on, spread it out, and give yourself a nice crust around the edges! 

The sauce recipe came from the dark recesses of my brain, but I'm not sure you can call it a recipe because it only uses two ingredients: one can of tomato puree and one 140g pot of Pizza Sauce Tomato Paste.  This will make enough sauce for 4 pizzas if you're thrifty with it, so save the leftovers for next week. :)  And you will make it again.

After reading everyone's tweets about "yay spring = asparagus" and asparagus tarts, I put on my sheep hat like a good little follower and bought myself a bunch of expensive asparagus last weekend, fully knowing that husband hates it.  I had thoughts of making theKitchenMaid's asparagus tart, but decided to put them on this pizza instead coz Jonno had thoughtfully pulled them out of the fridge for me. 

I was reeeeally excited about the asparagus on my pizza!
Then I put on some mushrooms, another food-hate for husband, just to be sure he wouldn't steal any of my pizza.  To round it out I added onions, ham, and pineapple, pretty much because husband had already thoughtfully cut them up for me. 

Verdict?  My own version of heaven, that I will take to One Food Hell if I have to!
This pizza is really just a vehicle for the veggies.  And the cheeeeeeese.
I also love making pizza at home because you can use whatever veggies and cheese you have in the house that you want to use up - last night we used Edam cheese!  You just pop it into a hot oven and bake for 10 minutes!


Great Spring Toppings
  • asparagus
  • onions - yellow or red
  • mushrooms
  • basil
  • courgettes
  • spinach
Pizza Sauce

  • one can tomato puree
  • one 140g pot of pizza sauce tomato paste
Pizza Dough
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, online version here
makes 2 pizzas, each enough for 2 people
can be made a few days before you want to use it!
  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour (or you could use 2 cups wholemeal flour and 2 cups regular)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Sprinkle yeast over water.
  2. In a mixer with paddle attachment (you can do this by hand, you'll just need some muscle!) combine flour and salt.  Drizzle in olive oil and continue mixing on low speed. 
  3. Pour in yeast/water and mix until combined.  Form a ball with your hands.
  4. In another bowl, drizzle some olive oil and then roll your dough around in it to coat it.  Cover with plastic wrap and either (a) leave in a warm place for 1 hour to rise or (b) stick in the fridge for up to 48 hours to use later.
  5. When you're ready to use the dough, sprinkle some olive oil on a baking sheet and spread it out to cover all the surface area.  Plop the dough on said baking sheet, and use your hands to spread it out as thick or thin as you want it.  Don't forget the edge crust!
  6. Spoon on sauce, strategically place toppings, then sprinkle over with cheese.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 220 C oven.
  8. Don't burn your tongue!

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