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A BALANCED LIFE
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Date Night Goes Italian - Pizza
Perfect Pizza from your own kitchen



date Night PizzaA shared cooking experience is always fun and creates a lively forum for discussion and gossip. One of our favorite dinner dates at home is Pizza Night and the results are so good that we don’t hesitate to invite friends over to share in the prep and eating. Try combing a Pizza Date night with a movie at home and you’ll not only save money but have a lot of fun. Don’t restrict your company to adults only. Our recent Pizza Night involved three generations.

Excluding the cost of flour and olive oil (we had them in the pantry and prorated would add around 25 cents to each pizza.), we made three, 15” diameter pizzas for less than $9.00  total; one guest suggested that the next time the host assign toppings for guests to bring…great idea. We served 5 hungry adults and three children and had half a pizza left over.

The dough recipe given is for one 15” diameter pizza crust.  Repeat the recipe for additional pizzas -  do not double up.

Date Night Pizza

Equipment

Cuisinart or other processor that can handle dough
15” pizza pan. Cuisinart makes the best we’ve found; it’s perforated and allows for the bottom of the crust to bake to a perfect crispness.
If you have a pizza stone you can use that and adjust the shape of your crust to fit.
Ceramic bowl for proofing dough
Pizza paddle if using a stone or smooth surface cutting board

MAKES ONE CRUST
Start this at least 2 hours before assembling pizzas
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • ½ TBS of Maldon Sea Salt  (please do not use regular salt) you can substitute another sea salt but test for saltiness before adding to the flour. Maldon is NOT salty hence the amount.
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 Cup water …do not be generous with your measurement, better too little than too much (follow package directions for heating). If your dough does not form a mass, add a little more water. If it appears sticky to the touch, incorporate a little more flour.
  • 2Tbs Olive oil
  • Pinch of  sugar


METHOD

Heat water per package directions in a small bowl, add yeast, sugar and salt. Let stand about 5 minutes or until you see activity bubbles and a “clotting” of the yeast on the surface of the water)  in the yeast and know that it is live.

Pizza DoughPlace flour in the bowl of the processor and using steel blade pulse a few times to fluff it up. Add most of the olive oil, save about a tsp. for the proofing bowl.
Pulse until the dough forms a mass and is shiny and soft to touch.  Put remaining oil in the ceramic bowl; place the ball of dough in the bowl and coat with the oil. Cover with a clean dry cloth and leave to proof (rise). Location and ambient temperature will determine time needed but most dough will double in size in about an hour. Just ignore it and prep toppings.

TOPPINGS
We’re fans of the less is better school of thought when it comes to toppings and like the crust to have a role in this taste experience.
Begin with a good quality ready made marinara or flavored spaghetti sauce. We used an Arrabiata Safeway Select brand. You’ll need no more than ¼ cup per pizza

Selection of toppings. We raided the fridge and came up with asparagus, baby broccoli, mini tomatoes, pizza toppingsbasil, scallions, garlic, red pepper and two pre-cooked Italian turkey sausage (JennieO lean). Sliced the tomatoes, removed tough peel from broccoli and asparagus, diced the scallions, garlic and sausage, slivered red pepper

Cheese: for two pizzas we used a pre-shredded Italian 4 cheese blend and used ¾ cup per pizza. Our third (grownup) pizza we used 2 oz. of crumbled feta cheese.


METHOD
Pre-heat oven to 410F   If using a pizza stone, pre-heat it in the oven for at least 30 minutes.
When you are ready to assemble, punch down the dough, knead it gently and form it into a ball. It should not be sticky and should look shiny.

Flour your work surface and gently pat and roll the dough to fit the pan or stone. If it tears, moisten the area with water and re-seal.


Gently fit the dough onto the pizza pan.  If using a pre-heated stone, generously dust a flat pizza paddle or cutting board with coarse corn meal and ease the dough onto it. Check that the dough will slide if you tip the paddle or board….you want to be able to slide it onto the hot stone in the oven.

Using a spatula, lightly spread the sauce over the surface of the dough to the very edge and then gently crimp the edge over the sauce to form a shallow ledge.

Arrange chosen toppings on top of sauce.


Sprinkle with cheese

Lightly sprinkle with olive oil

Place pan into hot oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Check that the exterior edges of the crust are crisp before removing from oven.

If using a stone slide from the board onto the stone. It’s an art!

Buon Appetito!                                      
Thinking Italian - you might enjoy reading
Cooking School in Tuscany



Off-beat Topping Suggestions

Fresh mozzarella with basil and slices of vine ripened tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella with sprigs of thyme and quartered fresh figs
Shaved good quality Parmesan with prosciutto and olives

 
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