Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekend Fare: Pizza

One of our very favorite meals is pizza night. It symbolizes family time and is nearly always accompanied by finger food and often a movie night. We have pizza at least twice a month and sometimes weekly. The boys love it!

It's perfect for the weekend - watching games, having company, or enjoying a family night. It's not only creative but it can be on the table from scratch in less than 45 min. So, it's  quick, easy and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  You can also use the same dough recipe and make calzones.

My personal favorite toppings are ground beef or bacon, onion, tomato and mushroom or Hawaiian. We all like just plain cheese or vegetarian. I try to use up the vegetables and leftover ingredients in the refrigerator. Bu really, the sky is the limit when it comes to pizza toppings!


(This is a take on Hawaiian Pizza - bacon, pineapple, red pepper, and green onion)

Here is the basic crust recipe which I adapted from another recipe. I'm also including few alternative ideas that make it great!
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 cups flour (I often use 1/2 whole wheat)


Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add sugar, salt, olive oil, and 1 c. of the flour. Mix thoroughly (I use a stand mixer). Add the remainder of the flour.  Knead the dough by hand (about 5 min. or until elastic) or in the mixer (about 3 min. or until elastic). Let dough rest for at least 10 minutes. (I make my sauce at this point). Roll out and press onto a pizza stone or greased pizza pan. Let rest again for 5 minutes. Add sauce and toppings.

Bake at 450 degrees F. for 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned. Brush edges with olive oil to soften and for a beautiful (delicious) finished look.


Alternatives (use any or all): Add 1/4 c. parmesan cheese to the crust. Add 2 tsp. Italian seasoning. Add part or all whole wheat flour (this makes it healthier!).

1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 4 oz. can tomato paste
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. Italian or Pizza Seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and spread on the crust. Top with desired toppings. Refrigerate any leftover sauce and use within 1 week.

Alternatives (use any or all): Use fresh basil (2-3 Tb.) - I do this in the summer! Add other fresh herbs- oregano is especially good. Add 1/4 c. parmesan cheese. Omit tomato paste (for a thinner sauce). Add 1 tsp. sugar for slight sweetness.

You can also use prepared BBQ sauce, a white sauce, or no sauce at all (I've even just drizzled olive oil and scattered fresh herbs on the crust before the toppings).


(This is a vegetarian version - red & green peppers, green onions, and tomatoes)