Breads and Crackers · Pizza

Pizza Night

I recently made Feta.  And a batch of Chèvre

We’ve got tomatoes ripening…and plenty of basil.  I decided to make a batch of mozzarella, too.  And I used some of the tomatoes to make a sauce.  And we had some gorgeous eggplant that needed to be picked.

The time was ripe for pizza.

When I told the kids I was going to be making pizza, Alex put in a request.  He asked me – very hesitantly – if I could, maybe, possibly, use a different recipe.  And then he winced, and then his eyes went wide and he assured me that he LOVES the pizzas I make.  But still.  He wanted something…more. 

I had to ask him some questions to find out exactly what he was looking for, and we came up with this:  that I would add seasonings of some yummy kind to the dough, and that I would put cheese in the outer crust.  No problem.  I started playing with flavors in my head.

Well, pizza night was originally supposed to be on a Friday.  And then it was too humid, so we changed that to Saturday.  But then Bill wanted to cook that night, so we moved the pizzas to Sunday.

I did a bit of prep work each day, just because each day I thought it was going to turn into pizza night, and so by the time Sunday arrived, everything was ready, pretty much, except the dough.  And the dough recipe I use is a quick and easy one that I didn’t need to bother with until an hour or so before baking.

I made quite a bit of pizza dough.  Two versions.  The first batch was just a double-sized batch of the dough I liked to above.  The second batch was the same doubled recipe, with the following additions:

3 t dried basil

2 t dried thyme

2 t garlic powder

2 small ice-cube-sized portions of roasted garlic paste from the freezer (easy to do:  roast whole garlic drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in foil, squeeze garlic out of heads, puree, freeze)

a dash or two of ground red pepper

My goodness, that smelled good.

Anyway, when the plain dough was ready to use, I started putting pizzas together. 

I didn’t take any process pictures because I needed both hands to make the pizzas, and because I had started the doughs later than planned, and because we had friends coming over for dinner as well, and because I forgot.

But I did remember to take pictures of the finished pizzas.  So I’ll show you the pictures and then tell you what’s in/on each pizza.  I’m saving Alex’s pizza (as it will henceforth be called) for last.

First picture:

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Thick crust cheese pizza.  Just your basic soft, filling, child-friendly pizza here.  Enough dough to cover the sheet pan I used, then a few ladlefuls (I thought it was ladlesful but my spell check thing says otherwise) of the sauce I made, and a generous sprinkling of (store bought) shredded mozzarella cheese.  I baked that one in a 350 F oven for…half an hour, maybe.  I checked it at 20 and kept baking it until the cheese had started to brown and the sauce was bubbling excitedly.

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The platter in the back has cut pieces of the thick crust cheese pizza I described above. 

Next platter, L to R:  (1) red sauce, grilled eggplant, cherry tomatoes, black olives, and feta…(2) olive oil, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella…(3) red sauce, eggplant again, sauteed onion, chèvre.

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I think these two were my favorites.  On the left:  a mixture of 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt and about 2 T cream cheese (all I had left), smeared on the dough and topped with bits of smoked bluefish.  (Bill and Alex caught the fish the day before.)  And on the right:  A white pizza, consisting of roasted garlic puree and olive oil, blended and smeared on the dough, topped with fresh mozzarella, a sliced White Tomasol tomato, and some crumbled feta.

And finally…Alex’s pizza.

Here’s the before:

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I used 1/4 of the seasoned dough in a parchment-lined 14” cake pan.  I pressed the dough out to the edges of the pan, pressing the dough up the sides of the pan a bit as I went.  Then I sprinkled a ring of shredded (store bought) mozzarella around the perimeter, about half an inch or in from the edge.  I used a fair amount of cheese for this – not enough so it would seep out into the pizza, but enough so I definitely had to wrap the outer dough up and over the cheese in order to seal it in.  Which I did.  Then, in the center (think of it like a pie), I poured some sauce, then a crowded layer of sliced pepperoni, then a sprinkling of more shredded mozzarella, then a less crowded layer of pepperoni, and finally, a little drizzle of olive oil over the outer crust and a bit over the middle.  The middle, of course, didn’t need any more oily stuff, but I was in an olive oil drizzling fugue state, and I couldn’t stop myself.

Anyway, into a 375 F oven it went, and it probably baked for about 35-40 minutes.  The center was bubbling away, and the cheese was golden brown, so I took the pizza out and let it cool for a bit.  Then I loosened the crust and slid a spatula underneath a bit and somehow – so fast, even I didn’t see how it was done – got it out of the pan and onto our thick round cutting board without ruining the look of it.

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And oh, did it smell good.

Alex came in the house not long after I took the pizza out, and he was overjoyed at the sight.  Really.  He gets like that.  He got his camera and took about ten pictures – from different angles, zooming in, zooming out – until I finally sent him out of the room so I could slice it.  I cut the pizza into 12 wedges.  Cheese didn’t ooze out of the crust, but that was okay. 

Alex had 3 pieces.  Bill had one or two.  My friend’s husband had a few as well.  Bill might have had a piece later that night, too.  He liked it very much.  In fact, he told me “You’ve made some damn good pizzas, Jayne.  But this is F***ing GOOD pizza.”  What higher praise could I ask for than a blissed-uot pizza paparazzi son and a husband reduced to expletives?

There were a few slices of Alex’s Pizza left over the next morning.

Here’s one of them:

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And here’s a close-up of the cheese tunnel in the outer crust:

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Mmmm…cheese tunnel.

Anyway, that’s the piece I got to sample, and I will agree with Alex and Bill and our friends – this is a pretty gosh-darn yummy pizza.

I’ll be making it again.  Soon.

With possible variations. 

Oh, the possibilities….

One thought on “Pizza Night

  1. Yummy! Thanks for sharing your process; I’m going to have to try a stuffed crust version, too. My cheese-crazy kids will go bonkers for it. My favorite pizza uses pesto instead of red sauce, topped with artichokes, kalamata olives, feta, and goat cheese. Mmm… making myself hungry:D

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