Two Crusts Are Better Than One – Stuffed Spinach Pizza

There is a pizza place here in town that has always had the best stuffed pizza I’ve ever had. It’s long been my favorite slice anywhere, and yet, I’ve never even attempted a stuffed pizza! This recipe is along the same lines as my local spot – not an exact match, but it gets us moving in the right direction – and I plan on trying this out soon. As always, photos and a review will follow soon.

Let me know how it works out for you. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; divide into thirds. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Transfer to a 9-in. springform pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan.

In a bowl, combine the spinach, mushrooms, onion, salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over crust. Cover with spinach mixture; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a second portion of dough into a 10-in. circle; place over cheese layer. Pinch together top and bottom crust. (Save remaining dough for another use).

Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread pizza sauce over top crust; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5-6 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

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Cheese and Herb Pizza Recipe – My Favorite Pie

When Ryan asked me to collaborate on his pizza website I knew this was a great opportunity to share my trials and tribulations on pizza making. It was also a great opportunity to find that passion I once had in “Finding the Perfect Pie!”  When Ryan began his pizza quest I hopped on his pizza wheel, on the East Coast, and began my journey of tossing the perfect dough. While I haven’t gotten my recipe 100% perfect it’s pretty darn close. Recently, I had been fighting with a soggy-ish crust, which lead me to post a question on his blog.  After answering my question he then asked me to be a co-author. How exciting!

Now that pizza making is second nature to me it’s found it’s way into the weekly rotation of dinners.  It’s become a bit hum drum to say the least. When I first started out I experimented constantly with different toppings and tried recreating pizzas we had in restaurants. One in particular is from a restaurant here in NH, Nonni’s (http://www.nonnisitalianeatery.com).  Their cheese and herb pizza was unique. Sweet and salty, my two favorite combinations.  Once home, I was able to recreate the honey and roasted garlic paste used as the sauce and the rest is history.  I have never actually measured any of these ingredients.  These amounts are not exact.  You made need two heads of roasted garlic to make the sauce depending on how big your pizza is.

Cheese and Herb Pizza a la Aimee

Honey and Tyme Paste-

1 Head Roasted Garlic

1-2 Tbsp Honey

1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme

3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Fresh Mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut 1/3 off the top of a head of garlic to expose all the cloves.  Place on a sheet of foil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of olive oil and a bit of salt.  Wrap the foil to around the garlic to create a pouch. Roast for 45 min. Uncover and roast for 15 min more or until the garlic is a deep golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.  In a small bowl squeeze out all the garlic.  Add the honey, thyme and olive oil and mix well. All the flavors should be balanced and you should be able to taste them all. Add enough olive oil to make a spreadable paste.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

On your dough spread s substantial amount of paste  add your mozz and bake until bubbly and brown.

Guy’s Crispy Deep-Fried Pizza

Guy Fieri of the Food Network brings us todays video in the form of do-it-yourself fair food: Deep-Fried Pizza! Now I know what you’re thinking, or at least I think I know, and just give it a chance. Check out this three minute video and look at what that final product looks like. It’s actually pretty tasty looking!

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for frying (amount determined by vessel used)
  • 1 recipe Perfect Pizza Dough, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 ounces whole pepperoni
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely shredded
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oil to 365 degrees F. A deep-fryer is best, but if using a stove top method, fill a cast iron Dutch oven or heavy chicken fryer with oil about 4 inches deep.

Roll dough out and cut it in half. Stir the oregano and basil into the pizza sauce. Slice the pepperoni. Spread half of the pizza sauce on half of each side, of the dough, add the cheese and pepperoni, distributing evenly. Apply a thin line of the water to the edge of the dough and fold each over onto itself and press to seal.

Check the oil temperature and carefully add the pizza pockets. Cook for 2 minutes, turn over and cook for 1 minute more. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Transfer the pizza to serving plates and garnish with remaining pizza sauce, Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

Perfect Pizza Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)

Combine all the dry ingredients in bowl of food processor or stand mixer. Or if by hand, combine in a medium bowl. Add the warm water to small glass bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Add oil and yeast mixture to dry ingredients and depending on method using, combine until a dough ball forms. For food processor, pulse on dough setting until dough is smooth and elastic. For stand mixer, slow speed until dough is smooth and elastic. For hand method, knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball. Lightly oil a large bowl, add the dough ball to it, cover tightly with plastic wrap or a well-floured tea towel, and set in a warm place or a 100 degree F oven until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down, and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half for 2 large pizzas or into 4 equal pieces for calzones or small individual pizzas. Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Cooks Note: Can be made ahead and also freezes well.

Yield: 2 large or 4 small pizzas or calzones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Inactive Prep Time: 1 to 2 hours

Ease of preparation: Easy

This Curds for You – Making Fresh Mozzarella

So you know how you’ve been futzing over tiny changes in your pizza dough? Or maybe you’ve been looking for that certain something to brighten up your pizza sauce and because it might be a bit dull right now? Well forget that – you’ve stend plenty of time worrying about dough and sauce, but how many sleepless nights have you spent worrying about how fresh your cheese is?? My guess would be less than you would care to admit. Here are two mozzarella making videos that will get you started on a whole new level of “pizza obsession”… whatever that is.

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Pizza from… Not Martha!

This was too good to not pass on to you. It’s a Thanksgiving pizza… pie! The Not Marthas, over at wearenotmartha.com created this genius Thanksgiving invention, complete with homemade cranberry sauce, turkey, herbs, and what else, an apple pie in the middle! I personally consider it a step towards the futuristic meal-in-a-pill – just this pill is about 16″ in diameter. What can I say, they’re working on it!

Check out the Thanksgiving Pizza Pie at wearenotmartha.com.

White Pizza from the New York Times

Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza (from the NY Times)

This flavorful autumnal pie uses winter squash purée as the pizza topping; the purée is spread like a sauce on the crust. You can find puréed winter squash (sometimes labeled as “puréed acorn squash” or “puréed butternut squash”) in the freezer section of most markets — thaw according to the package instructions before using.

  • Yellow cornmeal to dust the pizza stone (or nonstick spray to grease the baking sheet)
  • 1 pound fresh dough (from a pizza shop) or a frozen dough, thawed; or prebaked pizza crust – Or even better, try making your own dough!
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved through the stem, then thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup frozen winter squash purée, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano or pecorino, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

1. Preheat pizza stone or oven. If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes; if using a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Prepare the crust. If you’re using fresh dough on a pizza stone, dust a pizza peel lightly with cornmeal. Add the dough and form it into a large circle by dimpling it with your fingertips. Pick it up and shape it by slowly turning it by its edge, stretching that edge all the while, until the circle is about 14 inches in diameter. Set it cornmeal side down on the peel.

To use fresh dough on a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, grease the tray or baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray. Lay the dough on the baking sheet and dimple it with your fingertips — then pull and press it until it forms a circle about 14 inches in diameter on the pizza tray or a 12-by-7-inch, somewhat irregular rectangle on the baking sheet. If you’re using a prebaked crust, place it on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or on a greased pizza tray or a large baking sheet.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then swirl in the oil. Add the onion slices, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring often, until soft, golden and very sweet, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, stir the squash purée, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until uniform. Spread this mixture evenly over the prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border at its edge.

5. Top with the caramelized onions, then sprinkle the finely grated cheese and pine nuts over the pie. Slide the pizza from the peel to the very hot stone, or place the pie on its tray or baking sheet with the pie either in the oven or on the section of the grill grate that’s not right over the heat source.

6. Bake or grill with the lid closed until the crust is golden and somewhat firm to the touch, perhaps even a little darkened on its bottom, 16 to 18 minutes. Check fresh dough occasionally to prick any air bubbles that may arise so you’ll have an even crust on the pie. Slip the peel back under the pie to get it off the stone, or set the pie on its tray or baking sheet with its pie on a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing. If you want to make sure the crust stays crunchy, consider transferring the pie directly to the wire rack after a minute or so.

Fixed!

Ok, I think I’ve actually, finally, probably, (maybe) fixed this damn thing which apparently broke about a week ago when I migrated from wordpress.com. Looks like most of the usual traffic had been blocked from finding me here for the better part of last week, but I think we’re up and running now! Here’s hoping. And here is a quick and easy video on white pizza.  And sure, Claire looks like she’d rather eat you than any sort of silly pizza, and sure she “LOVVES” store bought pizza dough, and… well, I guess suffice it to say I needed a video to test and make sure that the video embedding was all nice and happy. So do like I do, and watch this one with the sound off… and a hand held up in front of your faec so you can’t see her overly emotive face…. Oh what the hell, here it is – enjoy!

Oven Dried Tomatoes – Your New Favorite

There was a great, quick little article about oven drying tomatoes in Food & Wine magazine recently, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. The product is an awesome dried tomato that is much less tough and ‘raisiny’ than sundried tomatoes – and they make GREAT pizza toppings! They are soft and easy to bite through while remaining sweet and carmelized tasting. The best of both worlds! Try this recipe out today and you’ll agree, oven dried tomatoes are your new favorite 🙂

Update: The tomatoes made a guest appearance in a recent video.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 pounds firm but ripe plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for packing
  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 12 large thyme sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and position 2 racks just above and just below the middle of the oven. Working over a medium bowl, pry the seeds and pulp out of the tomatoes and discard. Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil onto each of 2 very sturdy, rimmed, light-colored baking sheets. Arrange the tomatoes cut side down on the baking sheets and scatter the garlic and thyme all around. Make a tiny slit on each tomato.
  2. Bake the tomatoes for about 45 minutes, until the skins begin to wrinkle. Shift the pans from top to bottom halfway through. Carefully pinch off the skins. Flip each tomato and bake until the surface looks dry, about 1 hour. Flip the tomatoes again and continue baking until the surfaces look dry but the tomatoes are still slightly plump, about 2 hours longer. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and let cool completely.
  3. Discard the thyme sprigs and peel the garlic cloves. Layer the tomatoes with the garlic in five 1/2-pint jars. Add enough olive oil to cover the tomatoes by at least 1 inch. Slide the blade of a knife along the side of each jar to release any air bubbles. Seal the jars and refrigerate for up to 2 months or freeze for up to 6 months.

My Latest Variation on a Thin Crust Dough Recipe – Bacon Grease Anyone?

Hi Ya’ll,

Just wanted to share with you my latest variation on my dough along with a new little video I shot for you the other day. Things to note in this new variation: Vital Gluten, malted syrup, bacon grease, and a rolling pin! Enjoy.

Recipe

  • 22.5 oz of flour
    • First put in 2oz of vital gluten
    • Then 20.5oz of all purpose flour
  • 1T malted syrup
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1tsp Instarise yeast
  • 2T bacon grease
  • 1.75c + 1T warm water (’bout 100 degrees)

Toss all the ingredients into your stand mixer and mix on slow ’til everything comes together – should be about 2-3 minutes. Once it looks like a chunky, cohesive mass, turn the mixer off and let the dough sit for 10-20 minutes with a nice clean shower cap over the top of the mixer bowl – many people like to put a towel over the top of the bowl, but many other people claim that the towel absorbs the moisture in the air, which isn’t great for the dough, so I like the shower cap. Reusable as well 🙂 Once at least ten minutes is up, start mixing again on slow for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the mixer off and rest for another 10-20 (remember that shower cap). Finally, pull the dough out and form 4 10oz balls and place into air tight containers (this could be tupperware, plastic bags, etc). Put the containers in the fridge and let them hang out for two to three days. After at least 48 hours, pull the dough out two hours before you plan to bake the pies. One hour before you want to eat, put your stone in the oven, crank it up as hot it will go, and let it pre-heat for the last hour. Lastly, pull your dough out onto a lightly dusted counter, flatten your ball out with your knuckles – try pushing the bubbles that have formed out to the outer rim of the dough. I’ve been playing with a rolling pin recently and liking it a lot, so grab a floured rolling pin and do some rolling out til you get a nice flat disc going. Lastly, pick it up and slap it back and forth to dust off the excess flour, toss it a few times to get that final thin stretch, then plop it on a peel, top it, and slide it in the oven. If your oven gets nice and hot, you won’t need to cook it more than five minutes or so. Enjoy!

A Great Pizza Read – Recipes from a Pro

Recently I’ve purchased Peter Reinhart’s fabulous pizza book, American Pie, and let me tell you: best – pizza – book – ever! The book details Peter’s travels through Italy, New York, California, Chicago and other locations in search of his most favorite pizza in the whole world. The first half of the book is his tales of pizza travel. The second half of the book, however, is a giant pizza resource center wherein Peter tries to re-create all of the various pizzas he had across the world and shares his recipes and findings with you. This would be cool enough for me to pick up a copy, but then you consider that Peter is a professional baker AND recipe product developer and suddenly his collection of dough, sauce and toppings recipes seem like the Lost Arc of the Pizzanant! I guess what I’m trying to say is that Peter’s book was not only a mouthwatering good read, but also has become my #1 go-to guide for new dough and sauce recipes.

I wanted to share with you a recent recipe I made from his book, as well as some photos of the results. This dough was much different to work with than my dough that I usually make, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly, and the flavors and texture (not to mention the great big bubbles that formed out on the crown of the pizza) were well worth the learning curve. I would highly recommend you go spend $15 and pick up this great resource!

Peter Reinhart’s Neo-Neapolitan Dough

The dough to use for making New-Haven-style pizza and/or pizzas in the style of Lombardi’s, Totonno’s, or Grimaldi’s. Makes a “thin, crisp crust with airy pockets in the crown”. Slightly sticky and may be tricky to work with. Requires high-gluten flour.

Makes 4 10 ounce dough balls ( but I like to make 13.3 ounce balls)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. With a big metal spoon, stir together all the ingredients in a 4-quart bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer until combined.
  2. Fit mixer with dough hook; mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball.
  3. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on med-low speed for 2 more minutes, or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom.
  4. *If the dough is too soft and sticky to hold its shape, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful; if it is too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the tablespoonful.
  5. The dough should pass the windowpane test—snip off a piece of dough and gently tugging and turning it, stretching it out until it forms a paper-thin, translucent membrane somewhere near the center; if dough does not form this membrane, it probably needs another minute or two of mixing).
  6. Immediately divided the dough into 4-equal portions; round each piece into a ball and brush or rub each ball with olive oil.
  7. Place each ball inside its own zip-lock freezer bag; let the balls sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator overnight or freeze any pieces you will not be using the next day.
  8. The next day, remove the balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to roll them out to take the chill off.

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