Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pizza Margherita.

We make homemade pizza in our house about  once a week.  Usually, I stick to a recipe that was my great grandmother's dough paired w/ traditional NYC style sauce, cheese and toppings.  The husband has been asking for Margherita style pizza for a while so last night I tweaked a recipe and it was AMAZING.  Like, the kind of amazing that makes me want to forfeit all calories during the day and eat this for dinner 7 days a week.

Below is my adaptation of La Cucina Italiana Magazine's published recipe.  Mine is basically the quick version with a few specifics. 

 The original:  http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/recipe/pizzamargherita

Heat the Oven to 485 degrees F

You will need:

For the dough
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/8 cups warm water 
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the bowl
For the topping:
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole Muir Glenn Organic tomatoes- if not stick to the original recipe request of San Marzano.  Normally, I use San Marzano for everything I make, but the Muir Glenn organic are OUTSTANDING.
  • 12 ounces of Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella- * I presently live in culinary Siberia so I had to sub w/ a block of Pollio Mozzarella (doing my cross accordingly).  Cut 1/4 in thick slices.
  • 8-10 small fresh basil leaves * this is your call- we like alot, use your judgement to taste.  
  • Extra virgin olive oil ** I subbed my traditional olive oil w/ my home infused olive oil (Rosemary, fresh garlic & thyme).  
  • Kosher or Sea Salt to taste.  

Make the dough.

In a glass bowl combine your water and yeast.  Let rest and activate for about 5-8 minutes.  This is a smaller amount of yeast so the water didn't get frothy like when making bread BUT it should get a creamy look to it.  In a mixing bowl combine the flour and salt followed by the yeast & water mixture.  Finally, add the infused or plain olive oil.  I personally combine this in a stand mixer using a dough hook on a low speed until the dough forms a ball.  Once it combines I flour a dry surface and like the original recipe says, knead the dough for close to 10 minutes.  Form into a nice ball and rest the dough in a lightly oiled glass or metal bowl covered with a cloth at room temperature.  Unlike the original recipe I let my dough rise for 1.5 hrs.  It doesn't get huge but it does rise and has a really beautiful velvety texture.  After the resting period place the dough back on a floured surface and roll out your dough to a traditional 10" round pie and create a nice 1/2" - 3/4" folded edge for the crust.  You can cook on a pizza sheet or preferably pizza stone if you have one. Be sure to flour the sheet or stone to keep the pie from sticking.

Top it.

I crush whole tomatoes by hand. Always have, always will.  If you aren't comfortable with this method you can use a potato smasher or food mill. Add roughly a tsp of salt to the hand crushed tomato's.  Evenly spread by hand your crush tomato's on the pie, a little but of the liquid is useful too for moisture, don't only apply the full tomato's.  Add your basil and place the sliced mozzarella as you like.  Finally, I put a light drizzle of the infused olive oil over the top and in my oven the bake time was about 11 minutes.  Check your pizza starting at the 8 minute mark as every oven cooks differently, especially at these higher temps.

Crack open the vino.