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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A few of my favorite things.....PIZZA!

Our Sunday night tradition is home made pizza and a movie night with the whole family. Yesterday we were on family vacation with the whole extended family- all 21- so I felt inspired to step up my same old easy prep pizza crust recipe. The one I have used for years because it is easy, quick (15 minutes rise time) and comes out pretty darn tasty. But after living a few years in New York and eating the fabulous pizza in the city (my culinary weaknesses are dark chocolate and fresh baked breads), I thought this the perfect opportunity to test out a new recipe that promised all the crunch and chewiness of New York City pizza crusts on my unsuspecting family.

After a quick search online (I say quick, but the lake house has dial up so it was actually agonizingly slow), I found a recipe that had been saved by nearly 8,000 people. After reading the reviews, I was sold. I made enough for 5 large pizzas and just as it promised, the crunch and the chewy doughy texture were delivered! I stuck with my favorite recipes: cheese for the kiddos, supreme, caramelized onion with goat cheese and roasted peppers, and spinach, garlic and feta. The pizzas were a hit! (My kids actually prefer the spinach feta so I usually skip the plain cheese altogether.) The recipes follow.

NY Pizza Dough (makes one 16 inch, two 12 inch, or 6 individual pizza crusts)
2 1/2 c warm water
2 t salt (I use sea salt)
4 1/2 c bread flour
2 t active dry yeast
1 c bread flour, as needed

Directions: Pour warm water in to a bowl and sprinkle the flour and salt so it sits on top of the water. Make a hole with a knife and add the yeast. Let sit 20 min. Knead with dough hook 10 min on your food processor (can also use a hand mixer with 1 beater.) Add additional 1/2 to 1 cup flour and knead additional 5-10 min until dough is elastic and soft. Dough will be extremely wet and sticky, so hand kneading is not recommended. Form into round shape. Grease 1 T of a large bowl with the EVOO, wiping the entire bowl to coat. Place the dough ball in the bowl and place in the fridge for 4 hrs to overnight. When ready to use, preheat oven to 500 degrees and allow dough to come to room temp. Roll out and poke with a fork on the surface. Bake for 3 minutes, remove from the oven and add sauce and desired toppings/ cheese. Bake an additional 5-8 minutes, depending on size of pizza.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza: Toast 1/4 cup pine nuts in small saute pan until browned. Remove and add 1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onions. Cook on low heat in a well greased pan until soft and tender. Prepare roasted red peppers by thinly slicing. Crumble 1/2 cup goat cheese and set aside. To assemble pizza: Bake crust with thin layer of mozzarella cheese (no sauce). When fully cooked, add slices of red pepper (so they radiate from the center), pine nuts, onions, and goat cheese. Serve.

Spinach Feta Pizza: Saute 3/4 cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen), 1/3 cup thinly sliced yellow onion, and 2 cloves pressed garlic until fragrant and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Dice a Roma tomato into small 1/2 inch cubes and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil and oregano. To assemble pizza: Prepare crust and top with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. When fully cooked, top with the spinach mixture, tomatoes, and sprinkle with crumbled feta.


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