Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Pizza with a Mediterranean Twist
I love pizza, but I'm always disappointed when I order a pizza and find the crust is soggy or that there are hardly any toppings on the pizza so I decided to make my own, my way. I think you'll enjoy homemade pizza even more than ordering out. You control the crust and add what you want and as much as you want. Below is my pizza recipe, which I've given a Mediterranean twist. I've used feta cheese and 2 types of Mediterranean meats. One meat is called soujouk and it is a spicy, dry sausage and the other is basturma, which is a highly seasoned, air-dried cured beef. You can find these at your local ethnic market. However, if you can't find them, you can leave them off and the pizza tastes just as good.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green pepper sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 yellow onion sliced
1 tomato sliced
8 pieces soujouk, cooked
8 pieces basturma
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
12 pitted black olives
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (or as much as you want to add)
Ragu Tomato sauce (use as much as needed to spread over crust)
Add yeast, honey, and oil to the warm water and stir. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add salt to flour and then add the water mixture. Knead for 5 minutes . I use a KitchenAid mixer to make the kneading easier. Form a ball and put in a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and turn the ball a couple of times in the bowl. Cover with a towel and place in warm area. Let stand for 1 hour.
In a non-stick pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season the vegetables by adding 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt, black pepper and oregano. Sautee vegetables until they are soft and there is no more water in the veggies.
Sauteeing the vegetables will prevent your crust from getting soggy when the vegetables are added on top of it.
Making the Pizza
Pre-heat oven to 450 F. To assemble the pizza, roll the dough over a floured surface and make a circle. Place on a pizza pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray such as Pam. I recommend using the Food Network's pizza pan. It allows the crust to bake evenly and makes it crispy.
Add the Ragu sauce to cover the surface of pizza and then add all of your toppings. Place on bottom rack of oven and bake about 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. I recommend checking on the crust frequently so that you get it exactly to your liking.
***PIZZA CRUST TIP***
For a thinner, crispier crust follow these steps:
After letting dough stand for 1 hour in a warm place, put dough in a plastic bag and seal bag. Refrigerate for 48 hours. Remove from fridge and let stand for 1 hour before rolling it out and baking.