The Super Bowl is next weekend so if you or your significant other are sports fans you're probably preparing your menu as we speak. One of my favorite game day foods is making my own pizza. I make pizza quite often and one thing I’ve come to learn is that where toppings are concerned, less is more. Now, you will instinctively want to load up the toppings, I’ve been there too but this is really a time to show restraint. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. The great thing about pizza is obviously its versatility; make whatever kind you like but it’s also so simple. Making your own pizza is fun and delicious, a break for the ol’ bod that lets me know I’m not 18 anymore every time I indulge in deep fried love. And while I know I’ll never learn to be a sports lover at least I’ve found a way to entertain myself through a certified lifetime of being married to one.
Now please excuse me while I begin preparations for my Superbowl Snack Food Stadium. This 27 (ahem 31, almost 33) year old body has no idea what’s in store for it next weekend. Probably best to eat nothing but wheatgrass and bean sprouts for the next week in preparation.
Dough Recipe (makes 4, 13" pizza crusts):
1 envelope active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water (90° to 105°)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
cornmeal for dusting the stone or pan
1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water and the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water, the 4 cups of flour and the kosher salt and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead, adding flour as necessary until a silky, but soft dough forms. Use a pastry scraper to help knead the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and brush all over with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; punch down and divide into 4 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Rub each ball with oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Cover the balls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, set a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°, allowing at least 45 minutes for the stone to heat. If you don’t have a pizza stone use a baking sheet but the pizza stone creates a crispier crust.
4. On a lightly floured surface, stretch one ball of dough into a 13-inch round, using a rolling pin if needed to achieve a thin crust ; transfer to a floured pizza peel or large cutting board, adding flour where the dough sticks. Spread 1/3 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the dough leaving a 1 inch border. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the pizza followed by the mushrooms then pancetta and finally, crumble the goat cheese over the pizza. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a slight drizzle of olive oil over the entire pizza.
5. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the stone or pan with cornmeal. Immediately slide the pizza onto the stone and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and let stand for 3-4 minutes before slicing to allow the cheese to set.
*Note: you can easily freeze any leftover dough by wrapping it in cling wrap and storing in an airtight container or ziploc bag in the freezer. Remove from the freezer when you are ready to use it and thaw at room temperature. Or simply reduce the dough ingredients to your specified requirements.
Toppings for 1 13" pizza:
1/3 cup Jamie Oliver’s Quickest Tomato Sauce
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup goat cheese
6 mushrooms, rubbed clean and roughly chopped
4 slices pancetta, roughly chopped
6 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped