Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mama's Pizzeria!

When we first moved to our little corner of Northwest Georgia two years ago, we almost immediately discovered an authentic pizzeria that became a Sunday afternoon habit. Giovanni's Pizza was the best. The service wasn't always great, but we could get two large pizzas overloaded with stringy, stretchy, full-fat version mozarella for $10. The middle of last year brought a disappointment when, without warning, Giovanni's disappeared. So began my quest to duplicate his recipe. The secret, I think, was in the cheese. Pizza is not a good choice for curtailing culinary no part skim mozarella, if you can help it.

As a family, we prefer a thin crust. Yes, you can have really, really good homemade pizza on the table in 35 minutes (not including oven preheat time to 425 degrees).

Starting with the dough...

In your Kitchenaid, using your dough hook, following ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour or freshly milled wheat flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

You may need to add water to the dough one Tablespoon at a time, depending on the humidity. Your dough should be very pliable, but NOT STICKY!

After you've mixed your ingredients for three minutes on low, separate the dough into two balls and roll out onto your two pizza pans. I prefer to cook on baking stones, well seasoned. I prebake the rolled dough at 425 for 8-10 minutes, then add my toppings. Toppings are an individual preference, all the way down to the sauce. I use whatever sauce I have on hand, but prefer tomato puree seasoned with oregano, basil and thyme. After you've loaded your pizza with toppings and cheese, bake in oven again for 15 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

So easy! And you read that recipe rising time for the dough.

Some other variations (think CiCi's!) that we've tried:

Sauteed onions, bell peppers and black olives (for the grownups, of course)

Mexican Pizza: I've been known to use leftover taco meat, but you can fry one pound of ground beef and add an envelope of taco seasoning, prepared according to directions. Replace the mozarella with Jack or cheddar cheese, and after cooking, load on the taco toppings: lettuce, sour cream, chopped tomatoes...whatever you like!

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza: Fry one pound of ground beef, add one envelope of onion soup mix, and one cup of water with two tablespoons of flour (hint: whisk in flour well to the cold water before adding to the meat) . You can grill some more onions, bell peppers and mushrooms for a topping and finish with melted velveeta!