Fresh Food Thursday | Homemade Pizza
I love food. I love photography. I cook and bake like crazy, but I’m constantly forgetting to photograph what I’m making; after all, when your hands are covered in dough, the last thing you think about is grabbing your camera for that “in-process” shot!
But, thanks to a wonderful suggestion from my hubby, Tyler, I’ve decided to challenge myself. Every week (preferably, but not necessarily every Tuesday), I’m going to make something brand new and photograph it for my Thursday blog. I’ll include the recipe for all of you, along with any changes I made to it since I usually adapt all recipes to fit what I have on hand.
For my first Fresh Food Thursday post, I’m going with homemade pizza. Yes, I’ve made it before (already breaking my rule a bit), BUT I’ve never combined the assortment of toppings I’m using. And this was one good assortment! Before starting my little project, though, I had to get my playlist going with this week’s favorite song. After all, we all still love Adele, right? Right.
Now, back to the pizza. The dough recipe is definitely my favorite one EVER, and I’ve made a few different varieties. It’s Emeril Lagasse’s version, and pretty much everything of his that I’ve ever made, I LOVE! I generally double the recipe and freeze half of the dough for a lazy dinner day, but we were having company this weekend, so I opted to make four pizzas instead of just two.
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
A dash of sugar
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour plus more if necessary
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
(Note: This is the “by hand” method I have and use since I don’t have a mixer or dough hooks, but I’d use a mixer if I had one!)
In a large bowl, combine yeast with water, olive oil, salt and stir well to proof. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add half of the flour and salt and mix well to thoroughly incorporate. Add all remaining flour except 1/2 cup and mix well with your hands. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough for at least 5 and up to 7 minutes, adding enough additional flour as necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough. Dough should not be sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled 2 or 3 quart bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. And if you have one, place a pizza stone (or caste iron griddle) on the bottom rack of the oven.
Divide dough into 2 portions (for 2 (12-inch) pizzas) and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape as desired and roll out to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Transfer dough to a pizza peel and top with toppings of choice. Transfer to the preheated pizza stone and bake until crispy and golden brown, usually 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the toppings). Remove from the oven with a metal peel or spatula and serve immediately. Another note: I don’t have a pizza peel, so I make the pizza directly on my cast iron griddle, working quickly so the dough doesn’t cook prematurely.)
Before I get to my toppings, here’s a little side note: I am in love with my pastry frame! It’s a cheese cloth, for a non-stick surface to roll any kind of dough onto, stretched over a frame. It’s made complete by edge grips so the force of the rolling pin doesn’t make it slip and slide everywhere. It also came with a rolling pin cover. Seriously, I use this constantly and LOVE IT! I don’t know what I did before it.
Now, onto my toppings. For sauce, I used two. The first was simple spaghetti sauce (Kroger brand). I’m not a big sauce fan, so for one pizza I simply sliced two Roma Tomatoes and drizzled an olive oil concoction (EVOO, a garlic clove — minced, oregano, onion powder, and some parsley. I’m sorry I don’t have measurements. I kind of created it on the fly, but it was very good!) over the tomatoes. The cheese was simple part-skim mozzarella.
And, my all-time favorite pizza topping is Gaspar’s Linguica, found online or at Kroger (maybe other places, but I’m not 100% sure where.) It’s the best Portuguese sausage EVER, and Gaspar makes it best. I may be biased since my uncle owns it, but try it for yourself and decide!
The two best concoctions were as follows:
Option 1: spinach, feta, chicken and linguica
Option 2: yellow pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion, and linguica (something about the combo of jalapenos and linguica was incredible!!)
Obviously, you can make your pizza with whatever you love, but this was one incredible meal — healthier than ordering pizza — and fun for my guests and me!
What are some of your favorite pizza toppings? Share them with other reads for ideas!