Saturday, March 17, 2012

pizza pizza

Lesson 1 from the pizza-baking adventure earlier this week: after a pizza comes out of a 500 degree oven, even after it has sat for a bit and in spite of the fact that you really want to experience it's deliciousness, be cautious. And watch out for a tomato that is out to get you, like the incredibly hot one that slipped from the crust when I took my first bite and decided to attach itself to my chin. Ouch. 

Lesson 2: prebake the crust.

It was a certain someone's birthday earlier this week. I can't recall a time we've gone into a kitchen store together when he hasn't admired a pizza stone or peel, so those had been on my list for him for a while now. Pizza tools plus an evening baking pizzas together sounded like a fun way to celebrate the special day.

I made the dough in late afternoon (using a flour blend that claimed to be the perfect mixture for fabulous pizza crust - it seemed to work fine) and let it rise until we were ready to bake. Neither of us were clear on whether we should pre-bake the crusts or not (due to recipes with conflicting guidance), so we decided to try both ways. After all, we had enough dough for 4 pizzas...might as well experiment, right?

We also experimented with toppings. We started with the standard margarita pictured at the beginning of this post: homemade tomato sauce plus fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Pizza number two is shown below (recipe follows). Pizzas three and four were combinations of the toppings on the first two. My favorite was definitely pizza number two. In one word: delicious. And it didn't contain a single attacking tomato.

Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola and Other Great Things
homemade or store-bought pizza dough, ready to be topped (see lesson 2)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
a handful of crimini mushrooms, sliced
2-3 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
prosciutto, thinly sliced
a handful or two of arugula

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook onion until caramel brown, about 10 minutes. Spread onions evenly over pizza dough. Top with mushroom slices and gorgonzola. Bake until crust is golden*. Remove from oven. Top individual slices with prosciutto and arugula. Drizzle with olive oil.
*With a hot pizza stone in a 500-degree oven and pretty thin pre-baked crust, this took about 11 minutes for us, but cooking time will vary as all of these inputs do.

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