Mama Mia!By Lynne Frank (Apr 21st, 2011)
Friday night's supper at our house is most often pizza. If we're out, then maybe some other fare, like cheeseburgers, but pizza is still a top choice. At home, unless I've been really pushed for time or not feeling great, I'll make home-made pizza. It's easier to make than most people think, and it tastes a whole lot better than the frozen boxed stuff. …And if it didn't happen on Friday, I'm about 99.9% sure pizza will happen on Saturday!
Here's a new twist though, pizza flambe! I don't mean like that one time when I forgot to remove the cardboard from the bottom of frozen pizza either. There is an annual, very popular “Pizza World Championship”. It is held in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy. They just finished hosting their 20th and the winner was the American team. Team member Patrick Miller really sizzled in the Freestyle event with his pyrotechnic pizza dough. He spun a beautiful flaming disc, with a little acrobatics thrown in! I have to ROLL my dough out and everyone in my house is nervous of me using sharp knives let alone open flames. Maybe I could try this around the campfire. Hubby always has the water hose near-by!
Other categories included pizza box folding, largest dough stretch, and longest spin. Competitors are serious. If you 'Google' Pizza World Championship, then go to the 6th or 7th listing and read the website address….I personally like the galleries at the Herold Tribune, (Miami, Fl), for photos! I also take pictures of food at my house, but that's usually of cakes that my daughter has decorated, I'm not so sure anything else is as photogenic!… Chicken liver gelatine-jigglers for the dog especially.
It is known that the Ancient Greeks experimented with food. They came up with bread with oils, herbs and cheese. A yummy appetizer, (and an early version of pizza). The 'modern pizza' started in Naples, Italy as a 'pie with tomato.' Then, to mark the special visit by Queen Margarita of Savoy, (Italy) in 1889 chefs cooked up this tomato pie, (red). added Mozzarella cheese, (white) and seasoned it with basil, (green). The colours featured in the Italian flag are red, white and green. This Neapolitan pizza became known as the Margarita Pizza. It and the Pizza Marinara have been granted 'Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) status by the European Union in December 2006. In a nutshell, it's a like special bragging rights for traditional foods, made using the same old recipe & regional ingredients (from an ethnic community). It's a boon for Northern Italy.
Pizza can be found on menus all around the world now. In Australia they put bacon, eggs & cheese on it for breakky! That sounds OK. I don't know if that would go well with a beer though.
I have made up pizza dough and divided it into individual circles for birthday party food & 'craft time'. Most kids really only like cheese and peperoni and maybe pineapple so there need not be a lot of options. I put the sauce on, then let them 'decorate.' Patterns,flowers, faces,… whatever! Really all they want is the cake anyhow but it's nice they can choose for themselves.
Yeast dough recipes are fairly forgiving! If you can make the dough up in the morning, or the day before it helps the flavour even more. This recipe is ready in very short time. Have someone else cut up the toppings for you, that's the tedious part! Some things, like a stick of peperoni, I slice up, bag and freeze ahead. Enjoy! This recipe makes a large pizza sheet, (cookie sheet!) or a couple 12” pizzas. I often go 1 ½ times the recipe so I have 2 of those BIG pizza pan's worth.
- About 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 package (envelope) Quick-rise yeast, (a shy Tablespoon)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup very warm water (120'F -130'F )
- 2 Tablespoons veggy or olive oil
- cornmeal if you've got it
- Tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, (whichever you like) a large can. Freeze the rest.
Grease, or spray oil your pans, then spill a Tablespoon or two of the cornmeal over that to cover the pan and set the pan aside.
Boil the water, fill the measuring cup to about ½ or ¾ and add cool tap water to bring it to the right temperature.
Grab a large bowl; Add 1 ½ cups of the flour, the dry yeast and the salt. I often add ¼ tsp garlic powder and another ½ tsp. of sage or italian seasoning. Don't get carried away, too much can kill the yeast action.
Stir in the hot water and oil. I use a wooden spoon. Add more flour, enough to make a soft dough. It'll feel nice, and be easy to work with, add only a ¼ cup at a time if you're not sure of this yet!
Knead the dough about 4 minutes on a floured surface ( I just use the bowl, it's that big!), till smooth and elastic. Cover it with flour, then a tea towel.
Let the dough rest 10 minutes, (or longer). Pull it into two pieces, roll each out to fit your pan.
Top and Bake at 400'F for 12 – 14 minutes till cooked!
You can also partially cook the dough with just some sauce, then freeze it for a snack later on. It's still better than cardboard!