There are approximately two things that Tim and I have in common when it comes to food. The first thing is that we both like to eat it. The second: we both agree that pizza is awesome. But that’s just about where this agreement comes to an end, you see, because our preferences for toppings could not be more polar opposite. I would prefer not to have pepperoni, sausage or lots of meat of any kind on my pizza. And especially when different types of meats are mixed; in any type of food, mixing meats just weirds me out. I’d much rather devour a veggie slice, or dig into a pineapple jalapeno. I also really like weird pizzas with interesting flavor combinations. Tim, on the other hand, is pretty simple when it comes to pizza: he likes lots of cheese, and lots of meat.
The other day I read a post on this cute little blog I found online, Love and Olive Oil, that described making his and her’s frozen pizzas. What I liked so much about this idea is that the compromise is that there is no compromise, really. Instead of combining fav ingredients into a then mediocre pizza or one person having to bend to the other’s preference, in this situation both people get to be selfish! Each person gets to pick their own toppings and yet the whole cooking part is still an activity that the two people can do together. Genius!
I’ve made a few pizzas here and there, but I’ve always just used the pre-made pizza dough you can get from Trader Joe’s or most specialty food stores. Tonight was the first time I can recall ever making pizza dough from scratch, and one reliable recipe to stick to is nearly impossible because it seems like everyone has their own specifications. For instance, some people insist on refrigerating the dough overnight before preparing the pizza, while others necessitate using an electric mixer that I do not yet own. The truth is, however, that there really is no one uniform dough and crust consistency preference. What I learned tonight is that making pizza dough really isn’t all that complicated if you aren’t too picky about how your crust comes out. Good thing Tim and I can also agree on that.
For my pizza dough recipe, I referred roughly to the ratio of ingredients in the Love and Olive Oil recipe mentioned above.
Homemade Pizza Dough
- 2 1/4 cup of flour (plus more for de-stickifying)
- 3/4 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 7 oz cold water
- cornmeal for dusting
First, I mixed the dry ingredients together (flour, salt, yeast), then added the olive oil and water in small increments, first whisking the ingredients together and then getting down and dirty with my hands. The mixture was at first incredibly sticky, so I had to periodically coat the gooey mess in flour for it to eventually form a ball. Other recipes will tell you to allow the yeast dissolve in warm water for 15 minutes to activate it or whatever, but this is my blog so I will tell you how I made the dough and you can decide for yourself whether or not to go by my word.
After kneeding the dough for a few minutes and then letting it sit, we split the dough in half and each got into flattening it out separately. I personally don’t think you should worry about getting your dough completely circular, as homemade pizzas are all unique and an asymmetrical shape only adds to the rustic appeal in my opinion. Once the desired shape and thickness was achieved we coated our baking pans in olive oil and then sprinkled a healthy amount of cornmeal onto the baking sheet and placed our pizzas down on top of the cornmeal. Once this was all taken care of, we could now focus our efforts on the fun stuff: the toppings.
Hers: Pear, Prosciutto and Fig Pizza
This is a recipe that takes me back to the good ol’ days when I was just a wee one attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. One of my best friends Taylor and I had lunch at a restaurant where we shared a delicious pizza with similar ingredients that inspired me to attempt to recreate it once back at school, another time when I was home visiting my parents, and again tonight. It’s got the whole sweet/salty combination going on and thus far the flavors have never disappointed.
- 1/2 a ripe pear, chopped
- 1/4 of an onion, chopped
- A few slices of prosciutto
- Goat cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. On the stovetop, heat a small pan with olive oil and saute the thinly chopped onions until caramelized and translucent, about 8 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile, spread the fig spread very thinly on the unbaked dough, leaving about 1/2 perimeter uncovered for the crust. Thinly slice the pear down the middle vertically, and then chop the half to create many thin slices and disperse evenly around the pizza. They should not be entirely covering the pizza, just enough to get a piece every other bite or so. Shred the slices of prosciutto into small pieces, spacing them evenly throughout the dough and in between the pear slices. Sprinkle the caramelized onions around the pizza. Lastly, with your hands break apart the goat cheese into small pieces scattered evenly as well. Your pizza should look roughly like the above picture before it goes into the oven.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, keeping a close eye on it so as to ensure it doesn’t burn. In the meantime, coat some arugula with olive oil, salt, pepper and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice. When the crust starts to brown, remove pizza from oven and allow to cool. Scatter the arugula on top of the pizza before eating and enjoy.
His: BBQ Chicken Pizza
- BBQ sauce of your favorite variety
- Ground chicken
- Sauteed onions
- Mozzarella cheese
- Pepper jack cheese
The basics to this recipe are quite similar to mine. Cook the ground chicken and bacon before assembling them evenly onto the pizza. Spread the BBQ sauce around the pizza evenly, then add bacon bits, chicken chunks and sauteed onion. Top with a generous coating of cheeses. Bake at 450 for 10-15, checking frequently.
WIN WIN WIN.