Friday, March 27, 2009

My Pizza Obsession

Ever since we got our cob-oven, I've been obsessed with the perfect pizza. To me, a perfect pizza is thin crust that is crispy on the outside and slightly chewy in the center. It has to have just the right amount of pizza sauce (and the perfect pizza sauce, of course), 100% mozzarella, a little bit of fresh basil and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. But I think the two most important components of the perfect pizza is the pizza dough and the pizza sauce.

I made the two components below: the dough recipe comes from Andrew Green from the April 2009 Food & Wine magazine. And I came up with the pizza sauce recipe. You can always tweak the sauce to your liking, but I made it the way I like my sauce: tangy, slightly sweet with just hints of spices. Also, since I'm not allowed to use the cob-oven while my husband is not here, I made the pizza in a super hot oven, and it almost comes out as crispy and delish as it would in a cob or wood-fired oven.

Pizza Sauce

  • 1 can (1 lb. 12oz) of 6 in 1 All-Purpose Ground Tomatoes (6 in 1 Brand is a MUST!)
  • 1/2 Tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 Tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/4 Tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/4 Tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Grey sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil

In a glass or plastic container with a lid, combine all ingredients and mix well. Place in the fridge overnight to let the flavors meld together.

Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

In a small sauce pan bring the water to 125 F. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor temperature. Stir in the salt and sugar and let it dissolve. Next stir in the yeast and olive oil and let it rest at room temperature for 5 minutes until foamy.

In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour with the yeast mixture at low speed for 10 minutes. Let the pizza dough rest for 10 more minutes, then mix again at low speed for an additional 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl (ceramic or glass). Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel and let the dough stand in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours. This batch will make 2 large pizza, or about 4 to 5 individual 7" pizzas.

Margheritta Pizza

  • Pizza dough
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves
  • dash of dried oregano
  • good olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Roll out pizza as thin as you possibly can. Place dough in a pizza pan, lightly dusted with corn meal. Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough, then spread the pizza sauce, leaving about 1/4" border around the pizza. Place the cheese slices over the sauce.

Bake at 500 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges of dough are cooked and cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven and drizzle a little more olive oil and a dash of dried oregano. Sprinkle fresh basil over pizza and let cool a couple of minutes before cutting.

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