Saturday, August 02, 2008

pizza.... mmmm, pizza

I am done buying carryout pizza.


Hear me?

Not because of a bad experience, but because, as with so many other things, I can do a better job, and cheaper.

Last night I used the Perfect Pizza Dough recipe from Culinate. This is the third or fourth time I've made it, and it is extremely satisfactory, although I usually add a bit more salt and sugar than is called for. It's not the ingredients that make the difference, really, it's the method: the long cold rising in the fridge, and the preheating of the pizza stone. My oven will heat to 550 degrees, so that is the temperature I use. It yields a terrific, tasty, crunchy crust that will support a surprising overload of toppings.

While the dough was rising, I went out to my garden, plucked a handful of basil and oregano leaves off my plants, brought them in and mashed them up with some farmer's market garlic, olive oil, sea salt and a few raw cashews. The resulting pesto-ish pulp I mixed with half a can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes, half a can of tomato paste, and a generous dash of black pepper and red pepper flakes.

After the crust was pre-baked, I smeared it with the doctored tomato sauce, then topped with Italian sausage, chopped mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, sliced olives, and plenty of fresh-grated mozzerella and romano cheese.

My husband said, "You could make a lot of money selling this stuff."

Only I couldn't, because I'd eat all the profits.

Such wealth is not good for the waistline.

But I am never buying a carryout pizza again. We've even got some pretty decent shops here in town, but they can't touch the flavor you get when all the ingredients are fresh and high-level to begin with. What's great is, I can mix up the dough before leaving for work in the morning, and it's ready to use when I get home. High level, indeed.

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