formats
in Pizza.

It’s Sunday!

What’s going on this Sunday? It’s experimentation time. A month ago, after months of hint-dropping, eyelash-batting and feminine wiles, MWCWF caved in and got me a present I’ve been wanting for a long time: A Kitchenaid Stand Mixer! Gentlemen, if your wife enjoys cooking and you enjoy eating, it is totally worth spending a couple hundred bucks for a versatile and sturdy kitchen appliance. It’s not the kind of thing to use only once and allow it to collect dust. I like to associate it with having a hot rod/rice rocket. Get the base model, and pimp it out. I got my base model, and I will be pimping my mixer out with attachments once I save up a little money. Boo ya!

What I love about having the Kitchenaid is the ability to knead dough with putting too much muscle into it. I didn’t use to have a problem kneading until I broke 5mm off the tip of my wrist. Yes. The bone is totally floating in there. It hurts. A lot. But! I like my baked goods, and more importantly, I love homemade pizza. MWCWF got a pizza stone last week and I have been dying to use it. Earlier today I finally got the chance.

I had no bread flour so I had to search Google for a recipe that would be able to use the items I had on hand. I settled with Emeril Lagasse’s Basic Pizza Dough Recipe. I had to make a few modifications as I had no honey. I used agave nectar instead. I also used organic unbleached all purpose flour.

Basic Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling on the pizza stone

In a large bowl (in this case my Kitchenaid mixer bowl), combine the water, yeast, agave, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt,and mix until smooth. Continue adding flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. It said on foodnetwork.com that you might not need all the flour, I actually had to add an extra 1/4 cup. I used the paddle with the first 1-1/2 cups of flour and I used the dough hook after that. Knead for 5 minutes. Once I had a smooth ball of dough, I took it out and misted the inside of the bowl with my olive oil sprayer. Place the dough back in the bowl, and cover with a wet tea towel. turn your oven on to about 150F for 3 minutes, turn it off and stick the bowl in there. It will rise much faster. We live at an altitude of 6,200 feet so our dough rises twice as fast. It takes about half an hour for the dough to double at this altitude. I decided to punch it down, knead it some more, and let it rise one last time. While the dough was kneading with the dough hook attachment, MWCWF heated the oven up to 425F. You need to heat the pizza stone before you knead your pizza on it, is what he told me. I trust him, he’s the head chef in this DiPane household! Be really careful and use some good oven mitts. It is really freaking hot.

Pizza Sauce

I recommend starting the sauce before you start the dough so it has time to simmer.

I had to call DD (my father-in-law) and ask him for his recipe. This is basically what he said:

“Throw some crushed tomatoes in the pot. Garlic powder, garlic salt, italian seasoning, oregano, basil, some salt and pepper. Taste it and see how you like it!”

I don’t quite have the talent of throwing things together and magically making it delicious. I’m more of a baker than a cook. I need measurements! But DD makes the best sauces. Right after MeMa. So I had to suck it up. Here is what I came up with:

DiPane’s Pizza Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 5 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped (don’t pack the cup)
  • 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • a dash or 2 of red pepper flakes
  • Season with pink himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper

Sautee the garlic and basil leaves until fragrant on medium-low. Add tomatoes and herbs. Turn heat up to medium, sauce must be gently bubbling. Turn heat down again to medium-low and simmer for at least an hour. The longer the better! Cook down some of the liquid. You want the sauce to have some consistency to it so that it spreads welland doesn’t make the pizza crust soggy.

The Toppings

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (we used button but you can use whatever you like, cremini and porcini are delicious)

1/3 cup pancetta, sliced into squares

1/4 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/4 lb fresh mozzarella sliced thin (or you can use grated mozarella)

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Take your pizza dough and roll it out onto  your warm pizza stone that has been dusted with cornmeal. Make sure you dust a lot of cornmeal! Parts of our pizza stuck to the stone. If anyone has any advice on other ways we can avoid having our pizza stick to the stone, that would be awesome.We rolled the dough out to the edge of the stone, since we knew it would shrink. (Make sure to leave an inch around the rim of the dough when you spread the sauce if you want a visible crust. As the pizza bakes in the oven, you will see the edges rise and turn golden.) Layer the mozzarella in a circular pattern if you are using slices, then spread the toppings evenly over the cheese. Pop your pizza in the 425F oven for about 20-25 minutes.

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When the pizza is done, take it out of the oven and slide it onto a tray or pizza peel. (That is, if your pizza is not stuck to the stone) Don’t cut the pizza on the pizza stone with a metal cutter. Some of the pizza was stuck to the stone, so we unfortunately had to cut it up on the stone with a plastic pizza cutter. I got the pizza cutter for free at a trade show. It works ok, but I guess we should cough up the money for a wooden pizza cutter and pizza peel. I originally thought we could have leftovers after I made the pizza, but I was wrong. MWCWF and I each had 3 slices and our little one had 1. That leaves only 1 slice for leftovers…which means MWCWF will get up later at midnight tonight and eat it as a snack. I guess the pizza was a success right?

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