Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pizza Night

this was the most photogenic slice: a rainbow chard, proscuitto and egg pizza
Last night was homemade pizza night at our house. I made two pizzas from scratch, inspired by recent visits to two very good pizza restaurants: Co. in NYC and Pitfire Pizza, a local LA chain. I made the dough in the morning using my usual recipe:
  • combine just over a cup of warm water (about 110 degrees) with a packet of active yeast in the bowl of my kitchenaid stand mixer. after a few minutes, I also add a drop of something sugar related, such as honey, maple syrup, or of course sugar, to help "feed the yeast"
  • while the yeast is bubbling away in the water, in a separate mixing bowl, I whisk together the dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of bread flour (I use King Arthur), 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (fromTJs), and three teaspoons of salt. I also turn on my oven to the lowest setting (170 degrees) for a couple of minutes and then turn it off
  • then, using the whisk attachment on the stand mixer on the low setting, I slowly add the dry ingredients. In between adding the dry ingredients, I also add 3 Tbs of olive oil
  • as soon as all the dry ingredients are incorporated, I switch to the dough hook attachment and kneed on the slower settings for about 3-5 minutes, until the dough is nice and elastic
  • I divide the dough and put it in two bowls that have been lightly covered with olive oil and move the dough around so it is all covered with olive oil
  • I cover the two bowls loosely with plastic wrap and stick them in the just slightly warmer than room temperature oven for at least 3 hours (my kitchen is generally too cool for the dough to rise)
  • I then punch down the dough, sprinkle a little flour on it, and put it in plastic baggies in the fridge until it is ready to use
I used the same first couple steps for both pizzas
  • Heat up the oven to 525 degrees with the pizza stone already in it
  • Lay out a piece of parchment paper that approximates the size of the pizza stone and sprinkle it with a little cornmeal and flour
  • Start stretching out the dough. I generally do it in the air for the first couple minutes, holding it up and letting gravity stretch it down. As it starts to get very thin, I then lay it down on the parchment paper and stretch it out by hand
  • Once it as thin as possible with just a little crust, I brush it all lightly with a little olive oil
  • I made two white pizzas, so I scattered around lots of sliced cave aged gruyere, sliced fresh mozzarella, grated parmigiano reggiano, and lots of slices of garlic (4-5 cloves maybe)
Here's where the two pizzas slightly diverged:
  • For the spinach pie, I popped the pizza into the oven just like that until the edges of the crust was just starting to turn brown (about 7-8 minutes). I then took the pizza out and topped it with lots of fresh spinach, a little olive oil and salt, and then put it back into the oven until the pizza was done (another 5 or so minutes). I took the pizza out, sprinkled it with a little olive oil, parmigiano reggiano, and coarse sea salt, and then pizza was served
  • For the chard pie, over medium heat, I sauteed half of an onion, chopped up, until soft, and a couple cloves of sliced garlic for just a minute, and then added the rainbow chard (I cut out the thick stems and chopped into bite size pieces and used the entire bunch). I added a little water, covered the pan and let it steam until the chard was wilted. I topped the pizza with the chard mixture and popped it into the oven until the edges of crust was just starting to turn brown. I then took it out, laid out about 1/4 lb of proscuitto, and topped it with four eggs (try to make little indentations with the proscuitto so the egg doesn't run everywhere). I then pop it back in the oven until the pizza is done and the egg whites just start to set (it will continue to cook a little). I sprinkle with a little olive oil and parmigiano reggiano and pizza is done!
My favorite was the spinach pizza, it tasted very fresh, with just enough piquancy from the cheese and the garlic. It could have used even more spinach; I think I used about 1/4 lb. The chard pizza was also very good. It was a little salty (I seasoned the chard mixture, but probably didn't need to because proscuitto is so inherently salty). Along with a box of TJ's organic low sodium tomato soup (shhh...) and a bottle of 08 Sterling Sauvignon Blanc with Organic Grapes from Mendocino, it was a satisfying and delicious meal for four people.
dough before rising
dough after rising (usually it is even puffier, my water may have been too warm or I allow didn't enough time to let it rise)
slice of the spinach pizza
whole chard, proscuitto and egg pizza

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