Pizza Weather

July 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

New York had some of the hottest weather yet earlier this week, but then cooled down yesterday to what can only be described as a perfect New York summer day. Cool enough in the morning that you have to throw on an extra layer, perfectly warm and breezy in the afternoon, and then cool enough again in the evening to warrant a warm meal. Fresh ricotta cheese in the fridge offered a perfect excuse to make homemade pizza.

Pizza dough, like any other dough, requires patience and practice. Patience, could I get some more of that? Enough so that I don’t have a melt down when my pizza dough doesn’t stretch just perfectly? Thanks.

If you’re not such a patient person (like me), a glass of wine while crafting your pizza will do the trick. Things turned out just fine, and I even have some new tips to share on making pizza (and avoiding melt downs), in my recipe below.

And now it’s Friday! What is everyone doing this weekend? I have back to back days of celebrations. First a childhood friend’s bridal shower, and then multiple parties for my brother’s birthday. He’s home for the weekend, and I’m so excited to have him here. He is truly the funniest person I know. Aren’t all little brothers?

Hope your weekend is fabulous!

Margherita Pizza

Serves 2 (this can easily be doubled)

For the dough: I follow Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. I really like this recipe as it doesn’t require a mixer. To help it rise, I recommend placing the bowl in a warm sunny spot. If it still doesn’t seem to rise enough, place the bowl in a slightly warmed oven (150 degrees or so) for a few minutes at the end of the first rise. When the dough starts the second rise, place a pizza stone or a flat baking sheet in the oven and crank your oven to as high as it will go. If using a pizza stone, let itheat up for one hour, or if using a baking sheet- 45 minutes. This step is crucial as it ensures the bottom of the crust will cook!

For the pizza:

1/2 large ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1/2 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced

2 T garlic, minced

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 grated parm

fresh basil, chopped

s+p to taste

Once the dough has risen, shape it into as close of a circle as you can get. I hate to keep linking to things but Melissa Clark provides an amazing tutorial on stretching out pizza dough, and accepting whatever shape you get- I highly recommend it. I ended up doing smaller individual pizzas, that’s just how my dough worked out.

Take a large overturned baking sheet or pizza stone and coat with flour. Place the stretched out dough on top. Next add your toppings: first spread the ricotta evenly across the dough, then sprinkle on the garlic, next layer the tomatoes and mozarella, and lastly sprinkle the grated parm evenly across the pie. Top with salt and pepper to taste.

When your oven is nice and hot, transfer the pizza to the heated surface in the oven. If you created one pizza, take the sheet it’s on, place it towards the back of the oven, and slide the pizza off on to the heated surface (the flour makes this possible!). If you made individual pizzas, and they’re easy enough to pick up, carefully take the heated surface out of the oven and place the pizzas on top. Return to the oven and bake for 11-13 minutes until the top is blistered and crust is nicely browned. Top with basil right before serving. Eat immediately!


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