Sometimes when I meet new people, I tell them I love pizza. I like to be as real as possible lest anyone should assume that I was someone who didn’t like pizza, and therefore, would never invite me to eat pizza with them, and therefore, my life would be awful forever.
Not quite sure about the punctuation in that run-on sentence, but whatever. I really like pizza. However, I have never attempted to make it myself until today. Or shall I say, until yesterday, because apparently, the secret to a really complex crust flavor is to let the dough rest from 10-48 hours before baking it. Who knew?
I consider this near-authentic pizza to be a sort of last hurrah for summer. It’s fresh and grilled and uses up all those tomatoes that are overrunning your garden right now. I didn’t even bother making a real sauce for this. Just chucked some tomatoes, garlic, spices and olive oil in the food processor and slopped it on raw. Excellent choice.
We topped the pizzas with everything from chicken andouille sausage to avocado, but you can really use anything you have on hand. There are some fab ideas for unusual pizza toppings over here, with step-by-step instructions on grilling up the pizzas. If you don’t feel like reading the instructions, I will give you a summary:
Oil the grill. Cook crusts for two minutes until bubbly and beginning to brown. Loosen the crusts with a metal spatula and cook for an additional minute.
Flip crusts and cook for two more minutes. Pile on your toppings of choice. This time, return to the grill with the pizzas on a metal cookie sheet or pizza stone. Close the grill and heat until cheese is melted and toppings are warm.
And then gaze at your colorfully delightful creation. And then devour. And then wonder why you don’t just move to Italy. Wouldn’t life be happy?
Second best thing,
Best-Ever Pizza Dough
Adapted from Rachael Ray
makes enough dough for four 9-inch pizzas or sixteen 3-to-4 inch pizzas
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp. honey
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups (or more) all-purpose or bread flour
1 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
Mix 1 cup warm water and 1 tsp. honey in a liquid measuring cup until the honey dissolves. Sprinkle with 2 1/4 tsp. of active dry yeast and let the mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (This is proofing. Remember proofing?) Meanwhile, using a food processor, pulse 3 cups flour and 1 3/4 tsp. salt to mix.
Pour the yeast mixture and 2 tbsp. olive oil over the flour mixture. Process until the dough comes together in a sticky ball, about 20 to 30 seconds.
Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead, using the heel of your hand, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl; add the dough, turning to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough stand in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down, then turn out onto a cutting board. Using a knife, quarter the dough.
Shape 1 dough wedge roughly into a ball. Place the dough ball on the work surface and cup your hand lightly over it. Rotate your hand counterclockwise, letting the dough roll on the work surface. Continue until the surface of the dough is smooth. Repeat with the remaining dough wedges.
Place each dough ball in a large resealable plastic bag or plastic container with a lid. Refrigerate for 10 to 48 hours (the dough will continue to rise). Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping, or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Let the frozen dough sit at room temperature for 2 hours before shaping.
Turn out 1 ball of dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Press it out on the work surface into a 9-inch round, a long rectangle or an oval. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. To make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas, cut each dough ball into 4 pieces, then press or stretch into shape.