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Mrs J called for pizza and because it’s been a while since we had a white pizza, this broccoli/chicken/roasted garlic pie was just perfect. I rolled some string cheese into the edge of it and made a sauce from Monterey jack and a basic white sauce. I added two heads of roasted garlic to the sauce and troweled it on then added the par-boiled broccoli and the grilled chicken breast. Brush some olive oil on the crust and add a good sprinkling of kosher salt. It spent about 17 minutes in a 350 oven while in the pizza pan but still wasn’t quite there. I managed to get it out of the pan and onto a peel without mishap for transfer to the pizza stone that pretty much lives on the bottom rack on my oven. I kicked the dial up to 500 and kept an eye on it, giving it an additional 5-7 minutes.A cheese crust seems like overkill, given the cheesy nature of the sauce but I find myself eating the crusts apart from the rest of the pizza, saving them for the last. They eat like a big soft pretzel – a cheese stuffed pretzel.I placed the uneaten slices back into the pan for flash freezing in the big box. When they’re frozen solid I’ll vacuum seal the slices, they make great lunches for Mrs J to haul with her to the shelter on her volunteer days.
I wish this had worked out better. I tried to carry the Cajun theme too far and made a sauce of celery, green pepper, and onions with a ton of garlic and butter. The crust just didn’t support the load when I added the crawfish tails atop that, too much moisture for the thin crust to manage. Lots of Cajun seasonings. It had pretty good flavor but it was just too soggy. Back to the drawing board! I have some of the tails left but no idea right now what to do with them. Cajun tacos? hmm…
This is another one of those doughs that stayed out on the counter all night – two cups of bread flour, a quarter teaspoon of yeast, one cup of water, a wee pinch of salt and a sprinkle of sugar. I massaged it into place in my pizza pan and let it rise there for another hour then par baked it at 425 for five minutes. There isn’t a real sauce, per se, just some roasted grape tomatoes that I made last summer and then froze just for something like this. It also has bacon, thin sliced coppa, some ham, a caramelized onion, mozzarella, and some nice Parmesan grated over it at the table.
I’ll just pop these leftover slices into the freezer just like this and then seal the individual slices in vacuum bags, they make great grab-’em-and-go lunches for Mrs J when she heads out to the shelter.
I started the dough for this yesterday, 2 cups of bread flour, one cup water, 1/4t tsp yeast, a pinch of sugar and a dash of salt. It was pretty well inflated by noon, I dumped it into a pizza pan and massaged it into shape while the oven preheated to 425-ish. It par-baked for eight minutes and then I pulled it to furnish with toppings. I had some leftover roasted plum tomatoes that went on first in lieu of a sauce, sprinkled on shredded mozzarella, sparingly, and then piled on the meats. Italian sausage, already browned and drained, crispy bacon pieces, fried ham, and prosciutto that was tossed in the bacon grease to brown a bit.
Mrs J’s side got pickled
onion pepper rings, I added mushrooms and chopped ripe olives. I gave it another sprinkle of mozz and slid it back into the oven, it needed another ten minutes or so. It must have been better than usual because Mrs J went on and on about how good it was. I thought it one of my better efforts – she wasn’t just blowing smoke.
This was just a spur of the moment thing. I started the dough the day before, not really sure yet what the toppings would be or I would have made a run after rye flour for the crust. I did look for rye flour today and finally found some at the local co-op store. I talked to a fellow there about the hard time we had finding it and he said there was a crop failure last year and it was a bit early yet for this year’s crop. This one was so much fun I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing something similar here, soon.I didn’t use any sauce, as such, but I did brush the crust with garlic oil before laying the provolone on. Next layer was pastrami, then dill pickles, then the rest of the provolone we had on hand.The mustard was left off for the picture of the whole pie, I knew I wanted to use the bright yellow mustard on mine. Mrs J favors honey mustard.Enjoy!
This year, the margherita pizza celebrates its 125th birthday. One of the world’s favourite foods was reputedly invented at a pizzeria nowadays known as Brandi (00 39 081 416 928;brandi.it) at Salita Sant Anna Di Palazzo 1-2 in the city’s Chiaia neighbourhood. In 1889, its pizzaiolo, Raffaele Esposito, and his wife, Maria Giovanna Brandi, were summoned to the nearby Capodimonte palace and asked to invent a pizza for the then-queen, Margherita.
(Via)I’m sure this crust is much too thick for a purist. I started the dough yesterday with 2 cups of bread flour and then added water to equal 65% of the weight of those 2 cups. I used a handy electronic kitchen scale to weigh the flour but I don’t remember now what that came to. Anyway, multiplied that by .65 to get the weight of the water I wanted. Add a scant 1/4 tsp of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to the liquid, plus a tablespoon of olive oil and stir into the flour. The dough was very wet so I only kneaded it a little and then plopped it into an oiled bowl and covered with plastic and a damp towel. It was left overnight to rise.I punched the dough down this morning and returned it to the bowl to continue proofing. Why the fuss with weighing the water and flour?
Hydration affects the process of bread building and the nature of the final result. Generally speaking, the more water in the dough, the more open the final bread’s crumb. Bread can also be classified according to three categories based on hydration: stiff, standard or rustic.
I rolled the dough out on a floured board and transferred it to my rimmed pan for baking, brushed the top with garlic oil, and distributed the toppings. This one got the traditional Margherita treatment with mozzarella and Roma tomatoes and went into a 500 oven until the crust and toppings got a nice color. Add the basil after the pie comes out of the oven or it will burn to a crisp.I like ground red pepper on my slices, along with fresh grated black pepper and salt. Drizzle more of the garlic oil over it and enjoy!
These may be my favorite pizzas. For today, anyway. I roasted three heads of garlic and squeezed them into the white sauce along with fresh grated pecorino. The dough used up 3-1/4 cups of bread flour so there was plenty for a 14″ pie. The edges puff up so that they are like soft pretzels, especially when they are brushed with butter and sprinkled with kosher salt. I rolled string style mozzarella into the edge to make it a cheese crust. I gave the crust five minutes in a 400 oven before I added the toppings. I’ve done it both ways, par-baked and not, and I have yet to decide which method works the best, my practice hasn’t really been rigorous enough and the time between pies is playing a role.I par-boiled the broccoli for a couple of minutes and cooled it in running water prior to assembling the pie, the chicken was sauteed to just barely done as well. The completed pie baked for about 12 minutes then finished under the broiler until it looked good enough. I like to see a little crust on the cheese topping and the edge should be browned nicely. Let the finished pie sit for a few minutes before slicing to give the cheese time to settle a bit.I have to wait to get my slice to the plate before I can add the red pepper flakes. I usually give it a grind of black pepper, too.
This one is a cheese stuffed crust pie with my own homemade Italian sausage. I added a caramelized sweet onion along with a few dried tomatoes atop a base of awesome sauce. Plenty of cheese over all of that.The cheese in the crust is a string style snack mozzarella blend. The cheese on top is a packaged “Italian blend” along with additional fresh mozzarella and grated Parmesan.I like to trick my platter out with garnishes and extra pepper flakes. These are marinated garlic stuffed olives along with a few baby kalamatas. The marinade is olive oil and red wine vinegar with rosemary and lemon peel and pinches of dried basil and oregano.Leftovers! I slide the extra slices around so they aren’t touching and place the whole thing into the freezer. In the morning I’ll pop them loose from the pan and seal them into freezer bags.
I tried out a half pint of the latest Awesome Sauce on this pie. I made sure to add plenty of garlic as it simmered down to a thick sauce. Mmm… Extra Awesome! This also has Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, and a generous handful of those dried cherry tomatoes. I hurried the crust, so the pie wasn’t perfect but Mrs J went back for another slice. I’m going to try this same recipe again, and start the dough a lot sooner! There are just enough of the dried tomatoes for one more.