Thursday, March 09, 2006

semi-quick: Pizza alla Mom

Mom makes killer homemade pizzas. She uses Brick Oven pizza sauce from the grocery store (may need to squish it through a strainer so it's not too watery first). Her signature toppings are garlic, mozzarella, ground sirloin and fresh jalapeƱos. The dough she makes with Fleischmann's yeast (comes in packets or jar) according to the Mario Batali recipe appended below.

The dough is pretty quick, but all the chopping could slow the project down. I might try to roast some garlic and pay homage to the "Bela Lugosi," a pizza from Frank & Angie's that is studded with garlic cloves every square inch, I swear.

Notes from the Mom herself:

I slice garlic cloves very thinly with my ceramic knife and I used to lay them around on top of the tomato sauce, but last night I just stirred them into the sauce and spread the sauce on the pizza. They were distributed evenly and it was quicker. This only works if everyone wants garlic. Then, for one kind of pizza I use fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced, and chopped fresh jalapeno. For the other kind, I use shredded Stella d'Oro mozzarella from Sam's, good lean ground sirloin (cooked and crumbled), pepperoni, and chopped fresh jalapeno.

I am very complimented that you like the pizza.

Pizza dough (from Mario Batali)

1 cup tepid water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Stir the water, oil, sugar, and salt in a liquid measuring cup until the sugar dissolves. Whisk the flour and yeast in a large bowl, make a well in the center and add the liquid mixture. With a wooden spoon or your hand, gradually stir the flour into the liquid to make a rough dough. Pull the dough together into a ball (if there is a bit of flour left, don't fret).

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface dusted with flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, using more flour if necessary to keep from sticking. Divide into 4 equal portions, form into balls, and put on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops of the dough with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Yield: 1 (12-inch) pizza dough
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 45 minutes


Place oven rack pretty low, about 1/3 from the bottom, and preheat to 400 or 450. Smoosh the pizza crust into the pan and bake 6 or 8 min, til it starts to look dry and firm (but not brown).

Then take it out and top it with whatever. Bake at 400 or 450 til the topping looks hot and bubbly. That will be about 15 or 20 minutes, depending on how thick the toppings you put on. Since all toppings are precooked, it just needs to get hot and the cheese needs to melt and bubble.

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