I like the gourmet pizzas as much as anyone else but I always go back and never tire of the classic pizza with pepperoni, mozzarella, mushrooms and green peppers. I will in no way try to sway you from your favourite ‘Za but please, take the the time to make it at home. If you have kids, let them help you…you’ll have “sous-chefs” in-training in no time!
For those that are reading my blog from Greece, your pizza requires um, improvement! Greeks love pizza (Greekstyle), which is a super-thick crust, salami or ham, little tomato sauce, jarred/canned mushrooms and they use any white cheese save for mozzarella! Pizza is not one of the Greece’s strong points.
Onto proper pizza. Make your own dough, it’s not that hard (especially if you have a food processor). Use good & fresh ingredients and be generous with toppings, you’re making this at home, baby! Make your own pizza sauce. You can once again control the salt content in your food and you can tailor the taste to your family’s liking. I’m providing a recipe for 1 large pizza.
Pizza Dough (food processor)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp active yeast
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
- Pour in warm water. Test it with your hand. It should feel very warm, but comfortable. Add the honey and salt. Mix on low for about 20 seconds. Add the yeast and mix on low for another 5 seconds.
- Add 1 cup of flour, mix on low for 10 seconds. Add the olive oil and mix until blended (about 15 or 20 seconds more). Add the rest of the flour and mix on high for about a minute or two. The dough should turn into a ball and roll around the processor. If the dough does not ball up because it’s too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until it does. If your mixture is more like a batter, add flour one tablespoon at a time. Adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency will assure you always get a perfect dough. Just remember to do it in small amounts.
- Once the dough is balled up, place the ball on a floured board and knead for about a minute. This builds the gluten which helps the dough to rise and become fluffy when cooked. Place the dough in a plastic grocery bag or a covered bowl and store in a warm, dry area to rise.
- After about 45 minutes the dough should have about doubled in size. Punch it down. That’s right, give it a good smack so it deflates. Let it rise for another hour to an hour and a half. The dough is now ready to be rolled out. Make sure you have plenty of four on your rolling surface. Before placing your pizza dough on in your pan, line the bottom with some flour and corn meal. This will prevent sticking and give your pizza that authentic pizzeria texture.
I use a bottle of good pomodoro sauce. Look for the jars of Italian tomato puree. Pour the entire bottle into a pot and gently bring to a boil then lower to simmer. Add the following ingredients according to your tastes: salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano.
Don’t get too busy with the pizza. A traditional pizza has pepperoni, mozzarella, mushrooms and if you like, bacon.
I like to buy my pepperoni whole so that I can slice it to my desired thicknessand it’s cheaper. Buy decent mozzarella. Not the best mozzarella, just good mozzarella ( I think the primo stuff gets lost in pizza). Slices of green bell peppers work well and slice fresh white or button mushrooms. As for the bacon, you’ll need about half a package to cover your entire pizza.
Finally, this is the order in which I lay out my pizza:
- Spread your sauce on the dough and do not oversauce, just cover
- Spread out your shredded mozzarella
- Lay out your pepperoni slices
- Place your mushrooms and then your green peppers
Place your pizza on the middle rack of a pre-heated 400F oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the edge of the crust has just browned.
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