Ahhh...pizza. A food I crave on a consistent basis. It doesn't matter if it's from Papa Johns, the Italian restaurant down the street, or the comfort of my own kitchen. Once the word pizza is spoken, it's all I can think about. But lately, I'm like every other American - I'm trying to save money, cut costs, NOT break the bank. So I've been experimenting with my own pizzas. If you're not a total foodie like me, pizza can be really cheap to make. It's yeast, flour, olive oil, water, and then whatever toppings you like. A can of tomato sauce and some cheese can make one of the simplest, yet most comforting pizzas.
I started off on the simple route. Cheese, maybe some pepperoni. If I got a wild hair, I'd throw on some mushrooms. But lately I've been trying to put anything I can find on pizza. Here are a few of my favorites:
Cajun Chicken with Pesto, Tomatoes Red Onion, Colby Jack and Mozzerella Cheese.
This is basically the same pizza but with Shrimp and Mozzerella rather than Colby Jack.
And finally, the latest, greatest creation. Shrimp & Scallops sauteed in butter & garlic with a pesto sauce and goat cheese and mozzerella. The goat cheese made this pizza so gourmet tasting. Topped with green onions for color. This pizza was DELISH.
Pizza has got to be one of my favorite foods to prepare because it's so versatile. You can pretty much top it with anything. Any type of cheese, meat or veggie. There isn't anything that doesn't go with pizza. Once you get the dough down (which I think I've finally done thanks to a few tweaks to my New Basics cookbook recipe, my kickass Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook, and my oven that fortunately allows me to preheat to 550 degrees).
I guess my point for this blog is...if you love pizza as much as I do. Don't be afraid to make it at home. I will stress that your first couple of trys should be simple pies. I know my first few crusts were a lot like eating cardboard. So here's the recipe that works best for me:
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups of flour (plus more for your counter and rolling pin)
2 tbsps of olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine water, yeast and flour into your Kitchenaid mixer (no I'm not getting money from Kitchenaid). Mix well. Add oil and salt and allow to mix for a good 5 minutes. This dough will be a little on the wet side, so remember that flour is your friend!
Place dough on a floured surface and knead a few times. For about 2 minutes (there's no way I would ever knead ANYTHING for 15 minutes). Tranfer dough to a lightly oiled (I spray mine with olive oil pam), glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm dark area and allow to rise for about 2 hours (keep your eye on it though, it could take over a room if you allow it to!)
Right before you cook the pizza, punch down the dough and roll out onto your pizza pan. Let this crust rise for another 15 minutes. Top with whatever you please and place it in the oven until the cheese is melty and the crust is golden brown.
And on that note...I'm off to hijack some items in my fridge for my next pizza creation.