Traditionally, my boyfriend would pick up the phone and dial for Panago, but not last night. I was adamant about making two fresh “manly” pizzas in my PJs. When people hear about making pizza from scratch, it’s the dough-making that scares them away. I’ve tried many recipes; an old-fashioned recipe where it takes over 4 hours for the yeast to rise, which was my first attempt. Needless to say, I sucked at kneading the first time: one small slice was good to feed a hungry man. My second attempt at pizza was delicious; Chatelaine always has amazing tested recipes. (October 2010 issue) However, the goat-cheese, cherry tomatoes and spinach margherita pizza was “too girly” for my boyfriend. Humph, one girlfriend even said that even her husband would enjoy a pizza like that! Note to self: boyfriend does not like goat-cheese. (Mind you, goat-cheese IS expensive!)
For my third attempt, I made two pizzas, combining recipes and methods from Chatelaine and Jamie Oliver. Proudly presenting deemed “manly enough” pizzas:
My review from my food critics/guests was: The crust was perfect: bread-like texture and thin. At least I won the thin-crust battle. In hindsight, I still wish I made a vegetarian pizza for myself. This was too much meat for any girl to handle. Nonetheless, not having to deal with leftovers for pizza meant that for my pizza-making, third time’s the charm!
Enough with my blabber, let’s get to how to make them! Please do note that, however, if you are running short on time, slightly doubling your yeast helps with rising your dough faster. A friend gave me a quick 5 minute dough-rise recipe. For your dough to be smooth, you need to literally “work it”. I like my dough taking 45 minutes to rise since it gives me time to prepare my toppings. Do look up Jamie Oliver’s dough technique on Youtube. Semolina flour can be found at our local Italian Centre.
PIZZA DOUGH (ingredients borrowed and enhanced from Chatelaine, Oct 2010; dough techniques borrowed from Jamie Oliver)
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast (original Chatelaine recipe: 1 tsp)
1 tbsp sugar (original Chatelaine recipe: 1 tsp)
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl (Bertolli is a good brand)
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading; (I used 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour. Sh..)
- Stir water with yeast and sugar in a measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes or until frothy.
- Pour flour onto a silicone pizza mat or table. Make a well in the centre.
- Add yeast mixture and olive oil to the well.
- Stir with a fork to incorporate. Mixture will be sticky (and moist/messy).
- Add some extra flour on the surface you are working on and knead. If you watch Jamie Oliver doing it, you should be pulling the dough together on the bottom, shaping it into a ball. Add more flour to help prevent sticking.
- Lightly grease and flour a large bowl.
- Cover bowl with a damp tea towel. Dough rises best when you provide the yeast a warm and moist environment. Let it rise at room temperature until it’s doubled in size. Takes about 45 minutes, at least. (Doubling your yeast helps)
- Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin. Don’t forget to flour your rolling pin as well. Useful tip: give your dough a good spin, with both hands, to stretch the dough out evenly. One hand spins the dough while the other hand catches it. You could split your dough into halves and make two medium pizzas.
The best thing about making home-made pizzas: you can come out with your own renditions. Yesterday was a lazy day, so I stuck to using what was in the fridge. For fresh pizza sauce, you could follow Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
STEAK PIZZA SAUCE AND TOPPINGS:
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes for both pizzas
Steak, cut in strips
Curry Ketchup (can be found in a German deli/import store)
Curry leaves, in lieu of basil (leftover from my curry night; can be found at T & T Supermarket)
1 fresh chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp basil
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced vertically and de-seeded
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp Divella tomato sauce
3 to 4 fresh mushrooms, more if desired, sliced
1 tsp Montreal steak spice, optional
- On medium heat, sautee the onions in cooking oil or butter. Add dried basil and mushrooms. Set aside to a bowl; this can be added for any other pizza toppings.
- On medium low heat, fry finely diced garlic, add barbecue sauce and steak. Slighly season steak with the fresh cut chilli, a titch of salt and pepper, and Montreal steak spice.
- Add curry leaves and bell pepper. Let simmer on low heat. (You can add a small splash of burgundy cooking wine for flavour while simmering, if you’d like.)
- Brush prepared pizza dough with pizza sauce, barbecue sauce and curry ketchup: more barbecue sauce than curry ketchup.
- Add toppings and grate cheese of choice over pizza. For both pizzas, we used smoked gouda. Mozzarella, parmesan or any light cheese works.
Pyrogy Pizza (“It tastes better than Boston Pizza’s”)
Frozen pyrogies, cut in half
3 side or back bacon, in lieu of bacon bits
sauteed onions and mushrooms from first pizza
1 Italian sausage, sliced
Mild casalinga — you can substitute with hot ones for your manly taste buds from the Italian Centre
1/3 cup of Delizie Campagnole Divella tomato sauce
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 to 3 tbsp of sour cream, for garnish
Optional: Rosemary and/or Thyme leaves
- Fry Italian sausage in some barbecue sauce until cooked.
- Fry bacon and slice into smaller pieces.
- Brush tomato sauce over pizza; sprinkle rosemary and thyme leaves — 1 tsp each. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over sauce.
- Spread casalinga, Italian sausage, pyrogies and bacon pieces over pizza. Lightly sprinkle olive oil over pyrogies with a tablespoon. Grate cheese over pizza.
- Put in oven for 20 to 24 minutes. Garnish with sour cream over pyrogies.
Crack open a bottle of beer and enjoy!