Monday, September 30, 2013

Pie Night (aka Pizza Night) with guest chef Brian

Ultimate Pizza Sauce

We are giving the doubled version, we always make more and freeze what we don't use.

8 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. butter
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart tomatoes 
1 8 oz. tomato sauce
8 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
4 tsp. dried basil
4 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. black pepper
4 bay leaves
5 tsp. fennel seeds

1. In a large skillet, melt butter with the oil. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and saute until soft and transparent.
2. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce and stir until smooth.
3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to slow simmer. (throw in the parmesan rind while it sautes)
4. Simmer for 30-60 minutes (or not at all depending on your taste and time frame.)
5. Remove bay leaves and spread sauce on prepared pizza dough.


For both doughs We used 00 flour, found at Caputo's.  The recipe also says it makes (6) 12" pizzas, but I only got 4 out of it and I would actually do (3) 16" pizzas but i like bigger pizzas
4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast
1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil 
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40°F)
Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting
1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a tea- spoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55F.
2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag.
3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)
4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours.
5. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible, up to 800F (most home ovens will go only to 500 to 550F, but some will go higher). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.
6. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift I piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss as shown on page 208. If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, though this isn't as effective as the toss method.
7. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other top- pings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American "kitchen sink" approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient.
8. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower self before the next round. if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes.
9. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.
Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts.
from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (Ten Speed Press) - reprinted with permission

This is the dough i have used for the last couple years, its simple, its consistent and doesn't need to be refrigerated over night, again we used 00 flour, found at Caputo's. 

Thin Pizza Crust Makes (2) small pizzas or (1) 16"  
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup 110 degree water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

1. dissolve yeast and sugar in water; allow to rest for 8 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
3. Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well with a heavy spoon.
4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. 

Salsa Di Pomodoro Fresco (Naples-Style Pizza Sauce)

Neapolitan Pizzaioli use an uncooked tomato sauce based on whole peeled tomatoes straight from the can, which preserves the bright taste and color of the tomatoes.

2 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes (packed in puree)
2 tbsp. kosher salt

1. Remove each tomato from the can and reserve 3 cups of the puree. Cut the tomatoes in half and , using your fingers, remove and discard the seeds (don't rinse).
2. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until just crushed but not pureed. (Alternatively, crush the tomatoes by hand or pass them through a food mill.)
3. Transfer the tomato sauce to a bowl and stir in the reserved 3 cups of puree and salt.

I forgot step one in making the sauce! We just put the entire can in the processor, still turned out great!

Margherita Pizza
Pizza dough, Naples-Style Pizza Sauce, fresh Buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil. 

Use the mozzarella sparingly. We covered the entire pizza with a whole ball of mozzarella, we would suggest only using half a ball to get a more authentic Italiano pizza. 

Apple, Bacon, and Gouda Pizza


1 pound of pizza dough (homemade or bought fresh from the deli)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into squares
1 large Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
7 ounce round of gouda cheese, grated
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
7-8 sage leaves, chiffonaded
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 450ยบ F with pizza stone in the oven (preheat baking pan if you don't have a pizza stone). In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onions with a little salt a pepper for 4-5 minutes to allow them to soften and begin to golden. Add the garlic and cook for one additional minute. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
Place bacon pieces on a paper towel lined plate in an even layer. Microwave on high for 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 minutes (until pretty crisp). While the bacon is crisping, Hand stretch (or roll if you prefer a thinner crust) the dough into and oblong shape. Sprinkle some cornmeal on the pizza stone (or preheated baking sheet), carefully place the dough on the hot stone and bake for 2-3 minutes just to get a good par-bake on it. Remove from oven using a pizza peel.
Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 1 tablespoon olive oil and brush over entire pizza crust. Layer on half of the gouda followed by half of the apples. Then add the remainder of the gouda and then apples. Last, top with parmesan, bacon, and sage. Bake for another 12-15 minutes (until cheese is nice and melted and the crust is golden and crisp).
Cut into slices (or squares) and serve hot. Prepare to have your mind BLOWN.

We cooked the bacon in the oven. Used half the amount of onion. The directions don't indicate when to add the onion and garlic. We put it on after the honey and olive oil.  YUM

Bacon, Potato, Rosemary, and Fontina Pizza
1 recipe fresh pizza dough, 
3 to 4 baby Yukon gold fingerling potatoes, finely sliced
1/2 small onion, finely sliced
6 slices applewood smoked bacon, finely chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to grease pan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
1 cup baby arugula, optional
1/2 lemon, juiced

In a large mixing bowl, combine the fingerling potatoes, onion, bacon, and rosemary leaves. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss together to coat with olive oil.

Pour the potato mixture onto the pizza dough, then sprinkle with shredded fontina. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until crispy and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with arugula and drizzle the lemon juice over the top. Serve immediately.

We forgot to eat this with the arugula and lemon juice on top! Again we cooked the bacon in the oven before chopping. We didn't love the Fontina at Caputos, Harmon's carries a good one. We put parmesan and smoked mozzarella cheese. 

Asiago Cheese Bread

Just pizza dough, olive oil, rosemary, and asiago cheese (could use any good cheese)

Pizza Bianca

Pizza dough, sea salt, rosemary, olive oil.  

Cured Meats

Dessert Pizza
Apple Sauce/chunks

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