Monday, October 19, 2009

That's Amore!

There's been some interest about our pizza-making adventures. When we moved out here, we quickly realized this isn't really pizza territory. We finally decided we needed to make our own. So at least once a week we whip up some pizzes. Ames took some photos of our pizza-making session last night, and I thought I'd sort of walk through how we did it, and what came out.

First a quick note. There are many styles of pizza, and there are excellent pies in every style. My personal favourite is "New York" style: the pies are large, but thin. The crust is thin and chewy, not crispy. This is the style I've been trying to perfect in our kitchen.

Start with the dough. Pizza crust needs to ferment at least overnight before trying to use it; so I always make the dough as early as I can. This weekend I used dough Sunday that I had made on Saturday, but I prefer to let it sit longer than that.

As I documented previously, I originally started with a recipe supposedly from Peter Reinhart. That works pretty well, but we've tweaked it a bit. So here's what I used this weekend:

  • 2 cups of sourdough starter

  • 4 cups water

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 14 1/2 cups flour


It was raining on the weekend (in Washington? really?), so I used more flour than I normally do. Just for reference, I generally don't measure the flour. You need enough to make a sticky dough.

The dough was split into six pieces and put into plastic containers in the fridge.
From That's Amore



The next day, I had to grate cheese, make sauce, and prepare toppings before cooking. I started with the cheese. Nothing special, just whatever was cheap at the store. I grated it in my Bosch Universal.
From That's Amore


After the cheese came the sauce. Pizza sauce is best as simple as possible, at least for how we're using it. It shouldn't be cooked prior to the actual baking of the pizza, and should contain as few ingredients as possible. So here's my recipe:

  • 4 whole peeled tomatoes from a can

  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

  • enough oregano to see... I typically use 1 tablespoon



This was a double batch:
From That's Amore


From That's Amore


I put all that into a tub and frap it with a hand blender until it's all mixed, but not totally pureed. It should still have some texture.

From That's Amore



After the sauce, I prepared some simple toppings. I like cheese pizza best, but not everyone agrees with me. So last night we used pepperoni, Italian sausage, red onions, and mushrooms.

From That's Amore


From That's Amore



Now to make the pies...

We let the dough warm an hour or so before cooking. I shape it on a floured counter.

From That's Amore


From That's Amore


I used to cook the pizzas directly on the stone in the oven, but I've found it's very easy to mess them up, and the size of the pizza is limited to the size of the peel. So we got a couple 16-inch pans, and we've started to use this technique:

  1. put the pie in the oven on a pan

  2. half-way through, when the crust is cooked enough to hold its shape, we slide the pie off the pan to finish on the stone



From That's Amore


From That's Amore



So here's a crust spread out on a 16-inch pan:
From That's Amore



Once the dough's been spread, time to build the pizza:
From That's Amore


From That's Amore


From That's Amore


From That's Amore


We cook the pizza at 500F.

Having cooked the pizza thoroughly, we pull it out and slice it:
From That's Amore


From That's Amore



This crust wasn't quite right. The colour is a little pale on the edges. But the bottom looked great:
From That's Amore


From That's Amore



The next pie was a half-n-half: pepperoni on one side; pepperoni, sausage, onions, and mushrooms on the other. That's what Mama Lena's calls a "Coney Island":
From That's Amore


From That's Amore


From That's Amore



And being 16-inch pies, they can be eaten properly: folded and eaten "taco style":
From That's Amore



So that's how we do pizza here. Ames got some good pictures, didn't she?

4 comments:

freedomnan said...

Right-O! I'll be there soon and expect some great pie!
I have had a yen for pizza lately and now am willing to wait to enjoy that!

Ames said...

You are in for a treat, Nan.

That pie hits mine eye like a big moon. . .

Andy said...

Wow that looks good!

Gwen said...

Man, that is an awesome pizza pan. I can't get over it. I want one.