If you have been following me at thegardenofeatin on instagram over the past year, you may have already figured out that my husband and I have a weekly ritual – PIZZA NIGHT.
I think I know how this started. We like to exercise after work on a Tuesday night. The thought of preparing a difficult and time consuming recipe when we both walk through the door after the gym or yoga was not going to fly with us.
Easy quick meals are part of my vocabulary so what better recipe to throw together on a night were I need to eat the second I set foot in the house after a gruelling hot and sweaty class? PIZZA fits the bill. Now listen to me. You don’t need to make your own dough BUT it’s really easy to do so I’m going to give you my favorite basic “GO TO” recipe.
If my hubby can make this…..so can you. It really is the best and you can make your dough in advance so that you save precious time when your ravenous and your running shoe starts looking good to eat. All you need to do is throw the crust into a pizza pan, slap on your toppings, bake and HERE THERE YA GO. Now every time I eat this pizza I burn the roof of my mouth because I have no patience for it to cool off. That’s simply because I hate waiting for my food….especially when I’m starving.
So there is a story behind this pizza post. My husband has pretty good taste. He’s also notsobad in the kitchen. BUT….when it comes to pizza toppings, here’s where we differ. I like light and pretty – he likes weird and gross looking. Last night, he actually allowed me to DRESS the pizza baby. He let me go to town using PRETTY instead of WEIRD. Here’s what the baby was wearing: plum tomato sauce, Fior di Latte Cheese, Feta Cheese, baby pickled red peppers (they are so cute I can’t stand it), fresh basil leaves, shaved red cabbage, mixed greens and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Wait. Maybe I’m the one who is weird? You decide.
- MY FAVORITE PIZZA DOUGH
- · 1 package quick rise yeast
- · 1⅓ cups warm water (about 130F)
- · 3 ½ cups of unbleached all- purpose flour
- · 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- · ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- · 1 tbls granulated sugar
- · 1 tbls honey
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
- This stage is called PROOFING the yeast. Add flour, olive oil, salt, honey and sugar. Mix by hand or with the dough hook on low speed for about a minute.
- Turn the speed to medium low if you are using a dough hook and knead for about 7 minutes. You can do this by hand as well on a floured wooden board with a little elbow grease. If your dough is way too sticky, don’t be afraid to add a little flour. Your dough should be smooth and elastic.
- Now take your finger and give it a poke (just like the Pillsbury Dough Boy except this dough doesn’t giggle when you touch it). If it bounces back, you are ready to let it rise.Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large mixing bowl which has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around and around in the bowl to coat all sides.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise. Here’s a trick. Preheat your oven to 200F. Stick your dough in the oven. Now turn your oven OFF and keep the door slightly open. This will create a nice and toasty environment for your dough to rise in. You are going to let it rise for about 1 to 2 hours.
- Close the oven door after the first 30 minutes. The dough should be doubled in size. Now comes the fun part. PUNCH IT DOWN with your fist. Ya…punch it baby. This will release the air in the dough. Divide into two, form into balls and put in two separate bowls, lightly covered for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400F – If you have a convection oven that’s the perfect temperature, if not, kick up the heat to 425F. Take your dough and press into a pizza pan, baking sheet or onto a pizza stone. I like to coat my pan with salted butter but you can use any oil and even sprinkle it with some cornmeal.
- Just lightly grease it so the dough doesn't get too wet from the oil. Once the dough is flattened out, spread on some tomato sauce, sprinkle with shredded cheese and your choice of toppings. Bake for 22 minutes or until nicely browned.
- Note: IF you really don’t want to make your own dough and you are in a rush, pick up a fresh one at your local bakery. I have an amazing Italian Bakery near my office that makes the best dough in the world. #nomoretakeout