This winter I came to the realization (after how many years together?!?) that my husband loves pizza. Rightfully so, who doesn’t? But gotta say, for years, though I like pizza, it was not a LOVE thing that I had to have weekly or monthly for that matter. Said husband on the other hand could eat it weekly. And this girl who has spent the majority of her life in the Midwest is still a native New Yorker at heart. Yes, that means I love a New York style pizza. And if I can’t get that than Neapolitan, nice and thin and crispy, with a bit of chew is my preference. My apologies to all makers of Chicago-style, it’s just too much dough and cheese for moi.
After ordering a delivery pizza, a request by the pizza loving-mate, paying well over $30 when all is said and done, waiting for what seems like forever (hey when you are hungry an hour is eternity), and at the end being under-whelmed, thought, I need to do this myself. Yes, I can cook with the best of them (alright maybe not THE best, but I can certainly hold my own) but there has been something about making, and baking, anything that involves yeast. Quick breads, no problem (you did read my last post right?).
There is something about those living breathing minuscule grains (micro-organisms) that just intimidate the heck out of me. Stayed away for years. Until this winter. Paying too much for ‘za and for bread I had to get over my fear. I mean it is basically flour, water, and yeast right? I can do this. And I can do this for pennies.
The other thing about yeast, is that you have to plan ahead. There’s no, oh I feel like making pizza from scratch right now and consuming it in an hour. Yeast needs to rise. (Hum maybe it was really my lack of patience and not fear after all…well, that will be too much analysis for this post. Okay, back on track). So I started reading a lot of pizza dough recipes and trying a lot of pizza dough recipes (whole wheat still working on, but the toppings have been having some fun with. Ask my sister-in-law, who had to recover here post-op, about the short rib pizza and the broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts & lemon pizza.) And yes, unless you want to fight with the dough, give it the rest time the recipe calls for. Example: last Friday got a hankering to have pizza for dinner (darn you Mark Bittman and coming back to the NY Times Dining Guide last week to get that craving all up and going). Made the dough late morning (and honestly think it was either Wolfgang Puck’s or Peter Reinhart’s recipe, not Bittman’s that day) and yes, should have waited to make the pizza until at least the next day. Not that it does not work, it’s that the dough just does not like to work with you (note: lots of bounce back). After I won that fight, the result, a simple Margarita of roasted tomatoes & garlic, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan and basil, was pizza perfection.
Fast forward to today (four days after making the dough), and because I keep forgetting that I can cut the recipe in half, I still have dough in the fridge. Heck, why not make pizza for lunch? Dough ready. Ingredients at hand and ready (thank you warm Spring for arugula and rosemary already up in the garden, sunchokes roasted the other day, and a fridge that is never without lemons). Oven cranked to 500 degrees. Lunch will be ready in less time than I can make a salad. And main reason for that? Not the cooking time (minutes mind you) but that I did not have to fight with the dough. Four days of rest and it succumbed to my touch. Ha, take that!
Sunchoke, Lemon, Rosemary, Pizza
1 ball of prepared (and well rested dough), recipe here courtesy of Peter Reinhart and BHG.com
1/2 cup thinly sliced and roasted sunchokes (potatoes are a good sub)
12 paper thin slices of lemon (or as thin as your knife skills will allow)
1 teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary
1/4 -1/3 cup parmesan
olive oil, for drizzling
1 cup (more if you are like me) fresh arugula
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. And if you have a pizza stone in the oven all the better (get that dough nice and crisp and cooking quick). Mist baking sheet (if not using the pizza stone) with cooking spray or olive oil. Stretch ball of dough into a thin disk (either draping over the back of your hands and using your thumbs to turn and stretch the dough, or if well-rested I found just pressing the dough flat on a floured surface works just as well.). Place disk of dough onto baking sheet.
Drizzle olive oil onto of the dough, then place the ingredients on top: sun chokes, then lemons, then rosemary, then the parmesan. Bake for about 7 minutes (again this all depends on your oven, stone, no stone, so anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes. and if you have your own outdoor woodburing pizza oven like my brother, then cooking time is about 3 minutes.). Place arugula on top of pizza once it is out of the oven and if so inclined, drizzle a bit more olive oil on top.
P.S. okay, admittedly, I am now loving pizza. perhaps too much.