Monday, June 19, 2006

Rome Style Pizza

Ok so Hubby and I went to Rome and spent a week eating and seeing the sites. One thing we learned..we would never eat pizza stateside again. Unless it was prepared like Italy.

So here is a recipe that I got that duplicates exactly what the pizza's were like in Rome. A note - their crusts are very very thin almost a cracker like consistency. They also keep their toppings to a minimum. We never had a pizza with more than 4 toppings and 2 of those were the sauce and cheese.

For the Dough -

1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups All-Purpose (Plain) Flour (10 oz/315 g)
2 cups Semolina flour (10 oz/315g) plus extra as needed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Toppings for Pizza Shown -

1 Can Roma Tomato Puree
6 Tbl - EVOO
1 Container Cherry Tomatoes
2 C. fresh basil leaves

This recipe will make 4, 12" pizzas.

1 - To make the dough, in a small bowl, stir the yeast into 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Let stand until creamy (about 3 minutes)

2 - On a large work surface, sift together the flours and salt into a mound, then make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture, olive oil and 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60ml) lukewarm water into the well. Using your fingers or fork, swirl the liquid in a circular motion gradually incorporating flour from sides. Slowly add 1 cup (8 fl oz/250ml) lukewarm water to the well at the same time, until the ingredients are well combined and a rough dough has formed. Knead vigorously, stretching and pressing the dough against the work surface until it is soft and smooth and comes away cleanly from your hands, about 10 minutes. To check if the dough is sufficiently kneaded, cut off a piece: the cut surface should be pocked with small air holes.

3 - Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Then divide the dough into 4 balls, cover again and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume (about 2 hours).

4 - If using fresh tomatoes, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Put the tomatoes in a single layer in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until soft and shriveled, 45-50 minutes. Set Aside. (Note - I did this in a sauté pan on a medium heat and it took about 15-20 minutes. I only did enough for my toppings as I was not using them for my base. I also added 3 cloves of garlic sliced)

5 - Place pizza stone or unglazed tiles on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 500°F (260°C). (Preheat at least 30 minutes better if you can go 50-60). Lightly flour the work surface using a bit of semolina flour. Place 1 of the dough balls on the work surface, leaving the others under the damp towel. Punch down and flatten into a disk. Turn the disk over, sprinkle with additional flour and using a rolling pin or your hands, roll out or stretch the dough into a 12-inch (30-cm) round, turning it over and dusting regularly with the flour as you work.

6 - Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with semolina flour. Gently lay the dough round on top. Cover evenly with 1/4 of the tomato sauce. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. Bake until the crust begins to turn a tad brown, about 5 minutes. Pull pizzas from oven and scatter 1/4 of the mozzarella and the cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Continue to bake until cheese is melted and the crust is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes longer. Begin assembling the other pizzas while the first one is baking. (I had two pizza stones so was able to make them quicker)

7 - Remove from oven and using the peel remove them from the stone to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Enjoy! Posted by Picasa

Culinary School Here I Come

Ok so on August 21st or 2006 I will begin culinary school.

This is a big step for me. I will be working full time and going to school...well full time. It will be from 6pm till 11:30pm and then I get an hour and a half ride home. But it's's not forever and it's something I want to do.

There won't be much going on this board for a bit seeing as how I don't have anything fun or interesting to share....yet.

This will be where I talk about classes, share techniques and recipes. Maybe even a few horror stories. Hell better to learn from my mistakes in a controlled environment than in your kitchen just moments before your guests arrive.

Well let us all raise a glass of wine and begin this new adventure together! Salute!