Saturday, May 10, 2008

Perfect Pizza!

Easy Steps to the Perfect Pizza From Scratch


Making pizza is a great way for a family or circle of friends to get together and create a meal. This pizza is hard not to love: a crispy crust topped with slices of good prosciutto, spinach, olives, and one of my favorite cheeses, Manchego from Spain. I add the prosciutto after baking because the ham can become saltier when it is heated. To make it from scratch start at Step 1 the night before. Or save time with ready-made dough and begin at step 5.

Make the day before. Makes 4 Pizza Shells

1 cup warm water, 95 to 115 degrees
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I prefer Lucini brand.)
3-1/2 cups all-purpose or multigrain flour
Pinch of kosher salt

Step 1: In a food processor, combine the warm water, yeast, honey, and olive oil and mix well. Process until the yeast dissolves and the mixture is bubbly. Add the flour and pulse. Add a pinch of salt and pulse again. Run the food processor until the dough makes a ball.

Step 2: Remove and place on a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.

Step 3: Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover well, and refrigerate overnight.

Makes 1 (8- or 9-inch) pizza

1 Easy Pizza Dough recipe (see above) or 1 ready-made pizza dough
2 tablespoons pitted and sliced black or green olives
1/4 cup shredded manchego cheese
1/4 cup fresh spinach
12 slices prosciutto
Olive oil for drizzling (I prefer Lucini brand.)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a pizza stone in the oven.

Step 5: Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator. Divide the it into fourths. Roll out one of the pieces to 8 or 9 inches in diameter. (Or use ready-made dough.) Place the dough on a lightly floured pizza peel or baking sheet with no sides.

Step 6: Top the dough with the olives and manchego cheese. Bake on the hot stone for 20 to 25 minutes, checking periodically. When the dough has a nice crust, remove it from the oven and place the spinach on top.

Step 7: Top with the prosciutto, then drizzle with oil, and season with pepper. Cut into four pices and serve immediately.

Note: Tightly wrap the remaining three pieces of pizza dough in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer for future use.