Monday, June 6, 2011
Homemade Margarita Pizza, So Easy An Adwoman Can Do It.
So I work a lot. Have I told you that? Probably (complaining comes naturally to creative types kinda like breathing or going pee.)
Anyway sometimes the thought of cooking stresses me out almost as much as the idea of blogging about cooking (btw this isn't a guilt trip lovelies - just a confession. Fellow bloggers feel me on this, right?)
And sometimes because of aforementioned work schedule I have to resort to making something so simple it seems dumb to even blog about it. Like this pizza. I mean at this point the margarita pizza is practically a cliche of itself. I wouldn't be surprised if you could order one at McDonald's. They're the culinary version of flip flops or hair scrunchies. But I'll be honest. Even a subpar margarita (pizza) ain't bad.
But every now and then you have a really good one and it kind of changes your whole view on life. Reminds you that simple is brilliant. That something as basic as dough, cheese and tomatoes can be so much more than dough, cheese and tomatoes. Especially when the dough is homemade, the cheese is of stellar quality, and the tomatoes are still warm from the summer sun. Oh and boxwood basil doesn't hurt either - little green leaves scattered like confetti over a sea of milky white mozzarella.
Honest to God this pizza makes me want to move to a farm and grow my own wheat, tomatoes and basil. Hell - even milk my own cows. But then again, I do enjoy a good mani/pedi now and then... And bathing. And shaving my armpits. Okay day job - I'll keep you. Along with this recipe.
*The key to this pizza is making the dough a day or a few days ahead when you have the time, then letting it sit in your fridge to be at the ready when you need it. Or skip making your own dough and use store bought. No one's going to call the cops.
*This dough often turns out a little 'wet' from all the olive oil. If so it's totally fixable, just use plenty of flour on your board and rolling pin when rolling out. This way it will bake up crispy and not soggy.
1/2 of a recipe of Pioneer Woman's pizza dough (follows):
3 large clean mixing bowls (one of which can be your stand mixer bowl if you have one)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra flour for rolling out
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water.
2. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. With an electric mixer on low speed, drizzle in the olive oil until just incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, gently stir in the yeast/water mixture.
5. And drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture. Mix until the dough forms a ball. (You can also mix by hand until it comes together.)
6. Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean bowl and turn the dough over in it to coat it in the oil.
7. Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel (I used paper towels) and set in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours. After the dough has risen, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days (it freezes well too) or proceed to the next step if making right away.
8. To prepare the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
9. Divide the dough in half. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray then sprinkle with cornmeal or quick cooking grits.
10. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough (coating the pin and counter with flour to keep from sticking) - the thinner the better and place on the prepared sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then brush evenly over with a pastry brush (or spread with the back of a spoon being careful not to put too much on to make soggy)
11. Put the desired toppings (listed below) over the dough scattering them evenly - the tomatoes first, then the cheese, and a bit of sea salt and pepper and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown - holding the basil leaves until AFTER the pizza is baked, scattering over the top along with more olive oil if desired.
1-2 balls fresh, best quality mozzarella sliced thinly (pressed dry with a paper towel if overly wet)
2 medium heirloom or vine ripened tomatoes, the freshest you can find, sliced into thin/medium slices and gently squeezed to get rid of excess moisture to keep your dough from getting soggy
Olive oil for brushing over dough and drizzling over baked pizza, optional
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional
2 big handfuls fresh boxwood or regular basil, for topping after baking