This week's post features a "Guest Food Artist," something I hope to do periodically so that I don't have to do all the cooking. Josh is our Wednesday bartender at the Motherlode, and an incredible photographer. Check out his web page at: http://www.rominephoto.com/
AND he's a budding chef, specializing in Pizza. I think that I make a mean pizza, but Josh claims that I don't really "make" pizza, because I use the bag-o-dough from Trader Joe's, instead of making my own pizza crust. So to show off, Josh sent me this recipe, which I share with all of you (all 14 of you) with Josh's permission.
And Josh is really cute, so you know he has to make good pizza! Here's the recipe, in Josh's own words:
"hey scott, the other night i wanted a quick pizza. I went from starting completely from scratch, to pulling a hot pizza out of my oven in an hour. i thought i'd share it with you and that you might want to put it up on your blog :)first thing is first. everything in this recipe can be taken to a new level. i'm really going to focus on using ingredients that you can keep stored so that at any moment you can make a quick pizza. using fresh ingredients is always recommended, but for the sake of ease and ability to just have these ingredient laying around, i'm going to focus on that.-Preheat your oven. Before you even start putting together your ingredients, you'll want your oven to be as hot as you can get it. It takes a good 45min to an hour for my oven to get completely heated up, so turn it all the way up as high as it will go before you get started (basically just turn the oven up as high as it will go. mine goes up to 500 and i just turn it up all the way. pizza ovens in restaurants get even higher.)
-3 1/2 cups flour
-1 cup warm water
-2 tbl honey
-1 tbl quick rise yeast
-1/4 c olive oil
-1/2 tea salt
I know that with quick rise yeast you don't have to proof it, but i do anyways. Dissolve the honey in the warm water and mix in your yeast. Let it sit for 10-15 min. While your yeast is proofing, put together the rest of your ingredients into a bowl. Make sure that when you measure out your flour, you don't compact it into the measuring cup. I always spoon my flour out into my measuring cup. Once your yeast has been proofed, pour it into the bowl and mix everything together. If you have a mixer with a dough attachment, use that. If not, knead your dough until it's stretchy but not sticky. If your dough is sticky, add a tiny amount of flour while you knead. If it's too dry, add a tiny amount of water. Shape it into a ball, cover and let rise for 30 min.While your waiting for your dough to rise, let's make the sauce. It's a no-cook sauce, and It's easier than you think!!
-1 20oz can San Marzano tomatoes
-1 tea minced garlic
-1-2 tbl dry basil
-1 tea dry oregano
-1 tea honey
-1 tbl olive oil
The most important ingredient in the entire pizza are the San Marzano tomatoes. I can not stress enough how important they are. They will embody your sauce and your pizza with a flavor that is completely unique. I take all my ingredients, put them in a bowl, and use a potato masher to mix it all up. I like my sauce to be a bit chunky, but you can easily blend this mixture as well for a smooth sauce. You can also add any other spice or herb to this sauce to give it a flavor all your own. I will often add crushed red peppers to mine to give it a little spice. Once your sauce is the consistency you like, cover and put in the fridge. After your dough has risen for 30min, punch down and separate into balls. I usually separate mine into 3 dough balls, but it really depends on how large you want each pizza to be. Cover and let rise for another 20 minutes.After 20 minutes, it's time to make your pizza.
For a wonderful and easy technique on how to form your pizza, I highly recommended watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjYqw1CLZsA. You don't need to be a pro or throw your pizza up in the air in order to make a thin and perfectly balanced pizza crust. Watch this video, it will take your pizza making to a new level.
I use the push dough technique for mine because I like a good size crust. There are many different ways to make and cook your pizza. I use pizza stones, but you can use a pan, cast iron skillets, whatever you have.The basics are pretty much the same for every type of cooking technique. Push out or roll your pizza dough, transfer it to your cooking device (pan, skillet, pizza peel), put on your sauce, put on your toppings, and put it into the oven. I always put a little corn meal on my pizza peel or skillet before putting the dough in to my cooking device so it doesn't stick. You can also drizzle olive oil around your dough before putting it into the oven. They key to making a great pizza: less is more. Piling on cheese and toppings may sound like a great idea, but in the end it will only make your pizza heavy and unbalanced. With homemade pizza, a little goes a long way. Experiment with different toppings and combinations. For me, the sauce and crust are so good that I usually don't put any additional toppings on my pizza.
Once your pizza goes into the oven, you'll want to keep an eye on it. It should cook in 5-10 minutes. On a pizza stone, my pizza's cooks in 5 minutes, and if I don't watch it closely, it's very easy to burn. Most importantly, experiment and have fun!! Don't get discouraged if you overcook your pizza or if the dough doesn't quite fluff up. Every time I make pizza it comes out differently. The bottom line is that no matter what, your homemade pizza will be head and shoulders above anything you'll get from delivery."
THANKS JOSH! Now, give it a try and post your comments on Josh's Pizza. If you want to cheat, get a bag of Trader Joe's pizza dough - but don't expect the same deliciousness as you'd get if you made your own dough.