One of my goals for 2011 is to make more food from scratch. Seriously, there are so many added preservatives, pesticides and hormones in a lot of store-bought food, I believe in being aware of everything I’m consuming.
For New Year’s Eve my husband and I decided to stay in, make pizzas from scratch, down a bottle of Schramsberg sparkling wine and watch the John Adams miniseries (a great pick as well). This combo of pizza toppings was so delish, I decided to make it again tonight. Here’s the recipe. (Note that the pizza dough makes 6 servings, my pizza was 3 servings, and active prep time is 1 hour – dough prep included). Adjust according to your preferences.
For the pizza dough ingredients, you’ll need 1/4 cup warm water, 1 package of active yeast, 4 cups of either white or wheat flour (I like to use 2 cups of each), 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1-1/2 cups of cold water, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Start by combining the warm water with the yeast and mix with a fork. The scent of this combination will really make you crave a beer. Resist the temptation, and set this mixture aside for at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sift with your hands for about 30 seconds to mix well.
Now, add 2 tablepoons of olive oil plus 1-1/2 cups of cold water to the liquid mix and whisk with a fork.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Dust your clean countertop with flour and kneed the dough for about 5 minutes until you end up with a blob like this:
With your fingers, spread the remaining olive oil on the sides of your large bowl and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for about 2 hours to allow the dough time to rise.
When you return after 2 hours, the dough should have doubled in size. (Or, in my case, you may have left it for 3 hours while you attended a meeting and it may have tripled –oops.)
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Divide your dough in half. The remaining half you can either give to your meat-loving spouse/friend or freeze up to 3 weeks.
Sprinkle more flour on your clean counter top and also on a rolling pin. Roll your dough until it is your desired thickness.
Spray a cookie sheet with no-stick cooking spray and place your dough on the cookie sheet. Poke holes in the dough with a fork to prevent swelling.
To make pizza as delicious as this one, for toppings you’ll need 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 or 2 cloves of crushed or finely chopped garlic (I use a garlic press), 12-15 pre-cooked shrimp, 3 ounces of crumbled goat cheese, 2 handfuls of baby spinach, 1 finely sliced tomato, and half a chopped green bell pepper.
Spread the olive oil and garlic evenly across the pizza with a knife or spoon. Arrange the remaining ingredients on the pizza to your liking. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.