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Archive for the ‘pizza’ Category

We went to Pizzeria Delfina a little while ago, and were instantly smitten with their pizza. With the help of a friend, we polished off two pizzas (although I probably could have finished an entire one on my own), in addition to a couple of appetizers. Imagine my surprise when, the day after our visit, I flipped open Sunset Magazine while at the gym (their reading selection was greatly limited to beauty and golf that day) and spied a recipe for their Broccoli Rabe pizza. While we didn’t try this pizza at the restaurant, I was still eager to follow the recipe at home. Until that moment, pedaling on a stationary bike had never been more exciting. (Am I the only one who reads about and salivates over food while working out?)

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Making the pizza was even more exciting, as this was my first stab ever at making pizza dough. Sad, but true! Sad, because pizza dough is actually very easy to make. You mix yeast with water, flour, a drop of oil and some salt. After some kneading, this forms a dough that you let rest for a short time. Then, you divide the dough, playing with and shaping the pieces into nice, round lumps. These are left to rise for four hours. That’s it. The dough is done.

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The next step is just as easy — preparing the toppings. Mix the cheeses, cream (I used milk), and buttermilk, sauté the broccoli rabe with garlic, olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes, and tear the olives into smaller pieces. Decorate the top of the stretched out pizza dough with the broccoli rabe, cheese mixture, and olives.

“Slide” the pizza onto a 550°F-hot baking pan (see notes below) and jump up and down for ten minutes in anticipation for the pizza to brown, bubble, and sizzle.

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Now, I’m not saying that a 550° F oven comes close at all to competing with the wood-fired pizza ovens you find in restaurants. (In those ovens, pizzas are fired at 650° F – 800° F.) But there’s something about a chewy and crisp, airy crust that holds just the right amount of toppings that makes this pizza so gratifying to make at home. And if we’re ever in the mood for more blistery pizzas and the complete dining out experience, it’s nice to know that we’re just a short walk (and a long wait) away.

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Pizzeria Delfina’s Broccoli Rabe Pizza
Adapted from this recipe (as many readers before me have discovered, the original pizza dough recipe is full of errors). I also reduced the dough recipe by one-half.

Makes: 3 (12-in.) pizzas
Time: About 2 hours, plus rising time

Dough:

* 1 tsp dry active yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water (original recipe calls for fresh yeast)
* 3/4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 cups “00” pizza flour, preferably Caputo*, or all-purpose flour (I used 00.)
* 1 ½ tsp salt
* extra water to add to dough if too dry

Topping:

* 10 oz. fresh mozzarella packed in liquid
* 1/3 cup liquid from mozzarella container
* ¼ cup shredded caciocavallo or parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup each heavy cream (or milk) and buttermilk
* A couple pinches of salt
* 1 lb. broccoli rabe (about 1 large bunch)
* 2 garlic cloves, well smashed
* 4 tbsp olive oil
* About 1/4 tsp chili flakes (I used crushed red pepper flakes)
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup oil-cured black olives (soaked in water and drained if salty), pitted and torn in half
* Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Make dough:

1. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water (about 5 minutes). Put dissolved yeast in water and oil in a large bowl. Add flour and knead with hands for about 5-6 minutes. Add more water if dough is too dry, 1 tbsp at a time.
2. Add salt and knead for a few minutes more.
3. Cover dough in bowl with a damp towel and let dough rise 20 minutes.
4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 3 equal portions. Roll each into a tight ball. Place on a lightly floured tray.
5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at least 4 hours at warm room temperature. Dough balls have risen properly when they are soft, pillowy, and full of air. (I like to place my dough in a preheated oven. I heat up the oven at the lowest temp beforehand, and then give it some time to cool off before putting in the dough.)

Make topping:

6. With flat side of a chef’s knife, mash a third of the mozzarella into a pulverized mass. Dice remaining mozzarella into 1/2-in. cubes. In a medium bowl, mix both mozzarellas with mozzarella liquid, shredded cheese, cream, and buttermilk. Season with a pinch of salt.
7. Cut broccoli rabe into 1-in. sections, discarding tough lower stems.
8. In a large frying pan over very low heat, cook garlic in oil, stirring often, until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add chili flakes and toast for a second, then add broccoli rabe. Add a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper.
9. Crank heat to medium-high, stirring and cooking broccoli rabe until liquid starts to evaporate and broccoli rabe is tender.

Make pizza:

10. Heat a pizza stone or baking sheet on lowest rack of oven at 550° F (or as high as oven will go), at least 30 minutes.
11. Set 1 dough ball on a well-floured pizza peel or baking sheet and stretch into a circle, 11-12 inches in diameter.
12. Spread about 2/3 cup cheese mixture over dough. Top with 1/2 cup broccoli rabe, a sprinkling of chili flakes, and 2 tbsp olives.
13. Shove pizza onto stone. (I don’t have a “shover” or a stone, which made the transfer a bit difficult. The pizzas didn’t come out the prettiest, but they were good enough for me.) Bake 5 to 6 minutes, or until puffy and browned (Mine took about 9-10 minutes). Drizzle with oil. Repeat with remaining 2 dough balls.

Make ahead: Chill dough balls overnight or freeze up to 2 weeks (let come to room temperature before stretching).

*Find at well-stocked grocery stores and Italian markets.

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it’s not delivery

One of J’s expertise in the kitchen is making homemade pizza. His secret to homemade pizza is ready-made pizza dough from his favorite store, Trader Joe’s. The ready-made pizza dough comes to the rescue when you’re short on time. And at $1.99 per lump, your wallet can afford many more pizzas to come.

First, allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Flatten the dough out into a pie shape and rest it on your knuckles, slowly stretching it out while rotating. When it reaches the desired size, place it on a baking sheet. Spread a layer of pizza sauce (or tomato paste if you don’t mind a less saucy pizza), and top with mozzarella cheese.

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Then, add whatever toppings you wish. We made a vegetarian pizza this time, with fresh zucchini, frozen artichoke hearts, sliced tomatoes, and red onion. Top with another layer of mozzarella.

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It’s not delivery; it’s so much better.

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