July 22, 2010

Pizza Night is Always a Good Night!

The crust was perfect! A light and slightly fluffy outer edge, yet a perfectly toasty brown bottom that gently yielded to each bite.

It's not easy to find the perfect chemistry of dough thickness and baking time to yield an all all-around great pizza crust. I'll be the first to admit that my crusts come out different every time. Sometimes I make square pizzas, and sometimes a rectangle. Sometimes the crust is paper thin because I've stretched it big, and sometimes it's doughier and thick. It depends on my mood, but having no method to the crust madness does not make it easy as all consistency goes into the wind. Regardless, it is always delicious, which is really the main goal.

What you never want, though, is a soggy crust. To avoid this, pre-baking is the key. Generously flour the work surface, stretch out the dough by letting gravity do its work as you pass it between your floured fingers, then lay it out on your floured dough pan (all the flour is to avoid sticking). Bake the crust on its own until it shows the first signs of becoming firm and lightly browned. Remove it from the oven: now it's a toasty-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside palate that can hold it's own against the sauce, cheese, and toppings. Yum. Time to lose the delivery guy's number!

Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Peppers, and Onions:
1 package store bought pizza dough (or homemade, it you have the time and forethought)
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Yellow, Red, and Green Bell Peppers, sliced
1/2 Spanish Onion, thinly sliced
Cooking Spray

Prepare the crust as instructed above in a 500 degree oven. Evenly distribute the sauce on the pre-baked crust, leaving 1/2 to 1 inch around the outside for the crust. Top evenly with the mozzarella, then top with peppers and onions. Lightly spray the entire pizza with cooking spray. Return the pizza to the oven for about 8 minutes, checking often. Remove when the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Let stand for a few minutes, then slice and serve.

(Please excuse the strangely colored photos... it was dark and use of the flash was necessary!)

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