I am pretty confident that Brianna and I never ate Pizza together for the first 5 years that we were dating. Brianna didn’t particularly care for pizza because it was either too doughy, too cheesy, or loaded with an excessive amount of toppings. Since we started making this recipe though, pizza has become one of our date night staples. What we love about this pizza is that the crust is perfectly crispy, and the toppings are FRESH and SIMPLE! To us, the trick to a good pizza is to use a modest amount of the freshest toppings.
Pizza Dough (Recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home)
7 cups of strong white bread flour/ “Tipo 00” OR 5 cups of strong white bread flour/”Tipo 00″ and 2 cups of semolina flour
1 level Tbsp. of fine sea salt
2 X 1/4 oz. packet of active dried yeast
4 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
Sift the flower into a mixing bowl and combine with the sea salt. In a separate container, mix the sugar, water, olive oil and yeast and let sit for a few minutes (this will start to bubble and froth after a few minutes). Slowly combine by adding the water/yeast mixture to the flour. I prefer to make this dough using our Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hood attachment, but this could also be done by making a flour well and slowly incorporating all of the water/yeast mixture. Once everything is adequately incorporated, knead until you have a smooth springy dough.
Place the dough into a floured bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
After the dough has risen, knead the dough on a floured surface to push out the air, and it is now ready to use. If you are not ready to use the dough, there are several things you can do. I prefer to divide the dough into 8 portions, wrap them neatly in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. Make sure to remove the dough 15-20 minutes before rolling it out to make the pizza, or if you don’t plan on using all the dough then you can freeze them in portions for another night.
The Easiest Tomato Sauce (Recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home)
extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
a bunch of fresh basil
3 X 14 oz. cans of good-quality whole plum tomatoes
salt and pepper
In a sauce pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Crush the garlic into the pan and stir for about a minute, until the garlic begins to color lightly (don’t burn the garlic), then add the torn basil and tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes in the sauce pan (I use my hands to crush the tomatoes up as they are added). Season with salt and pepper and turn the heat up to high.
As soon as the sauce comes to a boil, remove it from the heat, and use a fine strainer to remove the basil, garlic, and seeds from the tomatoes. Add the strained sauce back to the sauce pot, making sure to get all of the goodies that hang out on the bottom of the strainer. Discard the basil and seeds.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce is at the perfect consistency for your taste (I prefer a thick sauce so I will usually simmer for about 15 minutes).
Store the sauce in the fridge until you are ready to use it (stays good in the fridge for up to a week), or freeze it in several portions to use on a later night.
Assembling Your Pizza!
At this point, all of the hard work is done and the fun part starts. Because the sauce and dough freeze so well, this makes it a great date night meal (minimal dishes and short cooking time). Here are our two favourite pizza combinations but have fun and try whatever you like! These pizza’s go well with a bottle of wine.
Margherita (Recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home)
This one is a classic!
good quality mozzerella
fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
extra virgin olive oil
First, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (this is the key to cooking the pizza fast and getting it crispy). Make sure to preheat your pizza stone or cookie sheet prior to assembling your pizza.
Once your dough is rolled out (should be rolled out to about 12 inches, and the thickness of a silver dollar), take your pizza stone or cookie sheet out of the oven and place the dough on top. The dough will start to cook immediately. Quickly spread your tomato sauce over the pizza. Tear up the mozzarella and place it sparingly over the pizza. Sprinkle with basil, drizzle with olive oil, and season with s+p. Place the pizza in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes.
While the pizza is in the oven, dress the arugula with olive oil and lemon juice, season with s+p.
Your pizza should be bubbling away in the oven. You will know it is done when the edges begin to turn brown (almost burnt) and you can check the bottom of the pizza using a spatula to make sure it is cooked all the way through. The cheese should also be nicely melted and begin to turn brown.
Once the pizza is done, place it on a cutting board to serve. Tear the prosciutto and place it on the pizza. Cover the pizza with as much of the dressed arugula as you like and add some freshly grated parmesan.
Egg, Spicy Salame, Artichockes, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, and Red Onion
What I love about this pizza is the egg in the middle, and how every bite is different than the one before. Make sure to try this one!
spicy salami (such as genoa salami)
red onion, finely sliced
mushrooms, finely sliced
artichoke hearts, quartered and torn
Remember, less is more with pizza, don’t add too many toppings. As with the margherita pizza, roll out the dough, place on the pizza stone and add your tomato sauce. Then, add onion, mushrooms, and artichokes, making sure that none of these toppings overlap and leaving an open spot in the middle of the pizza for the egg. Tear the mozzarella over the pizza, again leaving space in the middle for the egg and leaving room for the salami. Add the salami to the remaining spaces on the pizza, and gently crack the egg into the middle of the pizza. Drizzle with olive oil and season with s+p. Cook the pizza for 10 minutes, or until the dough is adequately cooked, the cheese is melted, and the egg is cooked. Drizzle with olive oil and serve directly on a cutting board.
There are all sorts of possibilities with these pizzas including white pizza’s (no tomato sauce) or just veggies. Use the freshest ingredients and I am sure you will enjoy.