Friday, March 27, 2009

Pizza Mania!!!

Aloha from beautiful Maui!! It's been a little bit since and I think I'll try to make up for a little bit of lost time with this little gem of a pizza. Now with pizza it's really nice to mix, and proof and put a little love into your own dough. I'll include a recipe for pizza dough in case you are feeling extra frisky and leave you with a piece of advice for making good pizza in a standard home oven that will make you swear it came out of a brick oven. What could possibly give you that sort of crispy bottom texture? It's called a pizza stone. They're readily available at Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma in Easton and are fairly reasonable. If you really want to save a little money get yourself a half sheet pan and a couple of ceramic tiles from Lowe's or Home Depot and set one up in the bottom of your oven. It'll give you the same effect. When you start your oven up turn it to 475 with no broiler and get your bricks nice and hot.

In the states we've become accustomed to having our pizza slathered with tons of tomato sauce or cheese sauce. Loads of processed meats and vegetables aren't really what are being consumed. It's a day that in 90% of american kitchens that has come and gone. Luckily for those of you in Columbus artisan meats, cheeses, organic farm-to-table produce and great imported oils are readily available at places like The North Market, and Carfagna's. There's a reason the midwest is known as the heartland of America. That being said here's a great tasting recipe that will take you back to Italy the second you close your eyes. One of the best parts of this recipe is the bagna cauda that coats the bottom of the pizza. Bagna cauda is typically served hot in a fondue pot and local vegetables are dipped in it and cooked while a bottle of wine is enjoyed along with some nice crusty bread, meats and cheeses. This pizza is sort of a combination of all of that. If time is crunched for you by all means find yourself a nice store bought pre-baked pizza crust and enjoy.

Salumi, Asiago, and Bagna Cauda Pizza with Potato and Fresh Herbs

Pizza Dough Recipe

1 tbsp active dry yeast

1.5 cups water
pinch of kosher salt

3.5 cups flour

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cup flour.
Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch dough down. Using a kitchen scale measure out 3 oz of dough and roll into a ball. On a lightly floured surface roll ball into deired shape. For rustic, country style pizza it needn't be exactly round.

Bagna Cauda Recipe

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 cloves of Garlic

8 ea White Anchovy Fillets (optional but recommended)

large Pinch of Crushed Red Chili Flake

salt and pepper

2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

In a hot pan add a good amount of oil. When the oil gets warm add garlic and turn heat down. Add the anchovies. The anchovies will melt into the oil and as the garlic browns lightly add chili flakes until the toast some and turn off the heat. Add parsley to cook in the hot oil and set aside

For the Pizza

pizza dough


Bagna Cauda

Thinly Sliced Asiago Cheese

Thinly Sliced Salumi

small pieces of boiled or steamed yukon gold potato

chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste (rememeber potatoes suck up salt so season them a little to maintain balance)

If you're using homemade dough be sure to use a little cornmeal on your pizza peel so that it slides off easily. If you're using a prebaked crust you can omit the cornmeal. Spoon on some of the bagna cauda goodness (the solid stuff) and brush evenly. Go lightly on the oil. layer with cheese, salumi and potato. bake (this is where the pizza brick comes in) for 12-15 minutes or until bottom is nice and brown and blistered. Pre baked crust will take roughly half the time. At least 3-4 times rotate and move pizza to a hot part of the stone (fresh dough only) it will help the blistering process.

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