Two of J-Cat's overly generous Christmas presents are represented in this post: the pizzas are made with my new brick walled pizza oven, and the pictures are taken with my new Canon digital SLR (but give me a break, I don't know how to use it yet). Methinks someone was feeling guilty about all the nursing I had to do last month. But it's not like he doesn't benefit at least from the pizza oven. I turned out a batch of 3 small pizzas last night, with gloriously crispy crusts and melty cheese and the aroma of an actual pizzeria.
The first pizza turned out to be our favorite by far, a sauceless combination of brussels sprouts and sweet Italian sausage with fior di latte mozzarella. Pizza perfection. See what I mean about brussels sprouts obsession?
The second was a simple classic of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan. I was pretty happy with my thrown together pizza sauce, it really showed through on this one.
The third was the same as the second with the addition of spicy Italian sausage, and was the one that felt most like a pizzeria pizza. Overall I was really pretty thrilled with the results and how easy it ended up being. The hardest part was waiting for the dough to rise, but really it was an exceedingly simple dough. Recipes for the sauce and the dough after the jump:
THE SIMPLEST PIZZA DOUGH
Makes 4 8" pizzas or 3 10" pizzas, depending on the thickness of your crust.
3 cups all-purpose flour (up to 1/3 can be replaced with whole wheat flour)
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp olive oil
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the water and oil and stir just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes until smooth. Lightly oil the mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return to the mix bowl, turning to coat all sides with a bit of oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours until about doubled in size.
After rising, return the dough to the floured surface and press out the air. Divide into either 3 or 4 balls, depending on what size you want your pizzas. Cover the dough with the plastic wrap and allow to rest for another 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven as hot as it will get. Shape the dough by stretching or rolling to desired thinness. Top and bake for about 10 minutes on a pizza stone or perforated pizza pan until the crust is browned and crispy. Best served immediately.
THE SIMPLEST PIZZA SAUCE
1 15-oz can plum tomatoes, pureed (I just use an immersion mixer, but this can easily be done in a food processor)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the tomato paste and allow to sizzle for a minute or two. Add the tomato puree and the seasonings. Bring to a strong simmer then lower to a light simmer until it reduces by about a half, approximately 20 minutes.