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Pizza

Arugula Pizza

I previously posted a recipe for pizza dough... here is a simple favorite... Fresh and delicious!

Yield= equivalent of one 12inch round pizza (no, my pizza is not "round"... its "rustic")

Ingredients:

      - Pizza Dough

     -  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

     - Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Basil

     - Fresh Tomatoes (wedged)

     - Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (sliced thin)

     - Shaved Parmesan Cheese

     - Red Onion (thinly sliced)

     -Fresh Arugula

Directions:

     Stretch your dough...

        -At room temperature make sure your dough is in a ball (a little larger than fist size)

        -Lightly coat your hands and pizza pale (or cutting board) with flour

        -Place the dough in the center of the pale, then gently push your fists into it

        -Stretch out lightly with your knuckles and fingers (be careful not to punch holes in the dough) the dough is your friend! The gluten in the dough will allow it to stretch naturally with a little love.  Don't resort to the rolling pin. Get acquainted with your dough and I promise you the end result will be worth all the work!

        -Once the dough begins to form a flat circle, lightly pick up the dough with your fingertips and continue stretching the rim of the dough. 

     - Make sure your pale is well floured and continue compressing and stretching the dough with your fingertips.

     - Once your dough has reached a thickness of 1/4 inch or less let the dough rest and prepare your ingredients.

  Preparing your pizza

   -Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, with a pizza stone, or upside down sheet pan in it

   -Place your toppings on the pizza tomatoes first (for a pizza without tomato sauce I like to      

      drizzle some olive oil on the dough before the toppings)

-Sprinkle some corn starch on your preheated cooking surface then transfer your pizza from the

  pale to the heated surface, and bake until cheese is melted and the crust is at desired crispiness.

-I usually cook between 5-10 minutes depending on the oven. 

-Remove from the oven when ready, and brush a light coat of olive oil on the exposed crust 

-Add a nice heap of arugula on top of the pizza, drizzle olive oil salt and pepper on top, cut and

 serve!

With any luck you should have something that looks like this

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Pizza Dough

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Great dough is the essential building block for one of my personal favorites... Pizza.  After spending years living, and working in restaurants in New York City I can tell you that not all pizza is created equal. In New York the opportunities to try a new pie, or slice where seemingly endless. We all have our favorites, but I personally like a thin crust with simple fresh flavor.  This is the kind of dough that when treated right is the perfect vessel for fresh ingredients.  I have put everything on pizza from fresh tomatoes and mozzarella to Jambalaya. Start here and build yourself a platform that will truly impress your guests.

Ingredients:

Yield = 3-4 small thin crust pizzas

     -3 1/2 Cups flour (you can use all purpose, I prefer bread flour)

     -1 package of dry active yeast

     -1 teaspoon of sugar

     -2 teaspoons salt

     -2 tablespoons olive oil

     -1 1/2 cup warm water (not hot! you can kill your yeast)

Directions:

     -In a small mixing bowl combine warm water, yeast and sugar

     -Let rest for about five minutes to let the yeast activate

     -Once the yeast water and flour are a consistent color and the grains of yeast have dissolved, combine all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl

     -Use your hands to start combining the ingredients (its going to get sticky, but you will survive)

                -Keep some extra flour on hand to prevent your hands from getting too sticky

     - Once the mixture starts to come together as a ball, coat a large hard surface like your counter or tabletop.

     - Knead the dough for about ten minutes

                  -Kneading the dough creates the gluten in your dough, hand kneading is not only therapeutic, it is good exercise and you will have a real feel for the consistency of your product

                  -Again keep plenty of extra flour around, or your dough will stick to everything

     -Once your dough is consistent, stretchy, and one homogeneous ball, put some olive oil in a clean mixing bowl, and roll your ball of dough so all sides are covered. (if you don't cover your dough in olive oil the dough will form a hard crust)

     -Cover your mixing bowl with a towel, or plastic wrap and let rest until the size of the ball is doubled (about 1 hour and 1/2)

Tips:

      -I like to portion my dough into four smaller balls and let them sit over night...

       -You can keep your extra dough in the fridge for a few days and make more pizzas. I personally don't freeze it, but it will hold in the freezer.

       - If you are storing your dough in the fridge make sure that the outside is lightly coated in olive oil, and it is sealed properly. Without those precautions you will get a hard crust that is difficult to work with.

 

     -Once you have your handmade dough.... MAKE PIZZA!