Friday, April 27, 2012

Pizza Night!

Our pizza Wednesday night! 

Wednesday night we made homemade pizza.  We were lucky enough to snag a sample of Chef Jason's (Vagabond Pizza) pizza sauce.  He was making some for a large event and shared some of it with us.  Armed with his sauce, freshly made pizza dough, fresh smoked mozzarella and tomatoes and herbs, we went to work.

The great thing about making pizza is you are free to create what you want.  If you want to use pizza sauce, go ahead.  If you don't, don't.  Making pizza is fun and creative.  Many times, I do not use any sauce, just olive oil.  If you want pizza sauce, you can make it, buy it, or be lucky enough to have a chef give you some.

I crank our oven as high as it will go (550 degrees) and use either a pizza stone or a pizza pan.  In some cases, if you are using ingredients that are more on the liquid side, you may want to cook your crust first for about 3-5 minutes and then take it out and add everything.  Otherwise, it may get soggy on you.

Here are the steps I followed for the pizza pictured above:

  1. Spread out the dough.  I do not use a rolling pin.  I simply stretch the dough and toss it to get a round shape.  This keeps the crust lighter and allows it to get crispy.  Just keep working the dough into the shape you want.  
  2. Once the dough is spread out, rub it with olive oil and add freshly cracked pepper and a little sea salt.
  3. If using pasta sauce, spread it now.  If not, do not spread it now.
  4. I now add freshly chopped garlic.  We like a lot of garlic, so I typically peel and finely chop 5-6 cloves.
  5. Now add the fresh tomatoes.  For cherry and grape tomatoes, I slice them in half.  For everything else, I slice them about 1/4" thick.  
  6. Add freshly cracked pepper and sea salt to the tomatoes.  Not a lot though.
  7. Add your fresh herbs.  Our herb garden has Italian parsley, thyme, oregano and rosemary right now, basil coming soon.  So, I use all four.  I chop the parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary together, pretty finely and then sprinkle it all over the pizza.
  8. Time to add the cheese....mmmmmm!  I slice the cheese about 1/8" thick and shingle it on the pizza.  Add as much or as little as you want.  Drizzle the entire pizza with your favorite olive oil and gently add salt and pepper.
  9. Put it in the oven and let the magic happen.  Watch and make sure it does not burn, but at 550 degrees, our pizzas are ready in about 5-10 minutes.  When done remove it from the oven and let it rest for 2-3 minutes.  Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, slice and serve.
  10. You can also add some fresh arugula to the pizza and put it back in the hot oven for about 2 minutes or until the arugula starts to wilt.  Remove the pizza and drizzle on some Traditional Balsamic. Nice!
As you can see, aside from not burning the pizza, there are not too many rules.  Have fun and enjoy your creation.  Invite your friends over and let them make their own.  As always, if you do not want to make the pizza dough, we have fresh dough in the store.  Ciao.

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