Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday night is pizza night!

Like many American families, Friday night is pizza night at our house. After a long week nothing tastes better than good pizza and a glass (or two) of red wine. We used to do the whole takeout/delivery thing, but recently we have been making our own pizzas. It is actually quite fun and you can top your pizza with whatever your heart desires, or rather whatever your fridge has in stock. Personally, I like our pizzas much better than most of the pizza you can get in San Francisco.
Homemade Friday Night Pizza:

1 ball of pizza dough
pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese (or other)
topping of choice, the options are endless

Buy or make pizza dough. We have been buying the Trader Joe's dough. We purchase several balls and freeze them so we always have them on hand. They have white, wheat, and herb varieties. The night before, move the dough from the freezer to the fridge so it is thawed by Friday evening. Then, about 10 minutes or so before you are ready to cook, take the dough ball out of the fridge and set it on the counter to warm to room temperature.

Move your oven rack to the middle. Put your pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, prep your ingredients. Get out your pizza sauce and cornmeal. Slice or shred your mozzarella. Slice your veggies and/or meats.

Once the oven is heated, generously flour your counter top. Lightly flour your dough ball and rolling pin. Roll your dough into a 12 to 14 inch round. This works best if you don't overwork the dough and the dough is at room temperature. There is more elasticity and it will stretch better. Do not be discouraged, making the dough into a sizable round is the most difficult part. The first time I made a pizza I ended up making a calzone. Don't ask, everything was sticking. I still sometime have odd-shaped pies if I am not paying attention.

Remove the pizza stone from the oven and set on a clean counter top near your ingredients. Sprinkle cornmeal on the stone. This will keep the pizza from sticking. Place the dough round on the pizza stone. Sometimes I have to roll it back out a bit. Then top with sauce, cheese, and other goodies. I personally love fresh basil on my pizzas. Work quickly as you do not want the pizza stone to lose too much heat.

Place the whole contraption, pizza and stone, in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melting and the edges of the crust are browning. Watch for air bubbles. You might have to reach in the oven and pop them with a fork.

Remove the pizza and leave on the stone to cool for 5 minutes or so. This will make it much easier to cut with your pizza slicer. Meanwhile, if your are of age, pour yourself a glass of wine. Then slice, serve, and enjoy!

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