Pizza! (Cause It’s OUR Time)

This post is brought to you by one of Sean Penn’s most brilliant moments in cinematic history:

I have a special place in my heart for pizza and I make it all of the time. I even made green pizza dough for Saint Patty’s Day last year (see the bottom of this post if you’re curious).

Pizza is such an easy meal to prepare in advance. I usually do all of the prep work on Sunday afternoon, making dough, grating/slicing cheeses and mixing sauces so that when dinner times comes during the week all I have to do is throw it together and put it in the oven.

I tried cooking pizza on the grill last March and it went horribly wrong… But thats another post altogether. I’m going to post just a couple of my favorite pizza recipes for now, but there will be more coming. So here are the basics:

FOR THE CRUST (MAKES TWO CRUSTS):

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (really whatever sugar you like, I’ve used all sorts)
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and  sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Using a mixer and dough hook, stir the salt and oil into the flour.
  3. Slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour. Mix in more flour, if necessary, until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.
  4. Using a fork, poke holes all over the pizza dough to prevent it from rising in the oven. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Add  your favorite toppings and bake in a 500 degree preheated oven for 12-20 minutes until cheese and crust is golden brown.
Basil Pesto-Tomato Pizza
This is a spin on the classic margherita pizza. Instead of sprinkling the top with fresh basil I use basil pesto.
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 8 ounces weight fresh mozzarella
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes/ 1 pint of cherry tomatoes/ or a handful of heirloom tomatoes sliced thinly
 Just layer the ingredients evenly on top of the pizza dough, salt and pepper the top, and bake for 12-20 minutes in a 500 degree oven.
Potato Bacon Pizza (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
This pizza really is as delicious as it sounds. I mean come on… BACON!
Ingredients:
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bundle of green onions, chopped (you can also use leeks in this recipe)
  • 5 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced paper thin
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until cooked but not crisp, then remove and set aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the skillet. Return it to the stove and, over medium-low heat, saute the onions until soft, about 3 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the potatoes very thin. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer all over the crust, slightly overlapping the edges. Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt, then lay the mozzarella slices in a single layer on top of the potatoes. Place the onions on top of the cheese, then sprinkle the fried bacon pieces over the top. Add a generous dose of crumbled goat cheese, grated Parmesan, and a sprinkle of pepper.

In an oven preheated to 500 degrees F, bake the pie for 10-15 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Slice it into wedges or squares and serve immediately.

Green pizza dough just requires a few drops of food coloring in the yeast mixture before you add it to the flour….
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