One of the many reasons I love food is because it has the ability to bring people together whether it’s for a celebration or just a casual night in. Recently, one of my best friends, who we will call Williala, moved to Boston. She actually dates my fiancé’s best friend so them moving here was really incredible for us. They also love food just as much as we do so our time together typically includes a feast of some sort… and tons of wine. I can usually expect a slight headache and food hangover the morning after being with them and I love every minute of it. Williala was recently given a pizza stone for her birthday so Thursday night we headed over to their South End apartment to try it out. By the time we got there, she had already prepared the dough using a Joy of Cooking cookbook recipe:
Ingredients (makes 2 12” crusts):
- 2 1/4 t. dry yeast
- 1 1/3 c, warm water
- 3 1/2-3 3/4 c. flour
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 T. salt
- 1 T. sugar (optional)
- Combine water and yeast in large bowl and let stand 5 minutes, until yeast is dissolved.
- Add flour, olive oil, and salt. Mix on low speed about 1 minute. Knead for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl coated with olive oil and turn once. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Get the pizza stone prepped. It’s important to note the pizza stone has to be preheated to a certain temperature to work and that often means leaving the oven on for quite a while before you begin to cook. It’s best to place your stone in a cold oven and then turn the oven on (475 degrees). The purpose of this is to allow the stone to absorb the heat evenly (usually takes around 45 minutes).
If you aren’t working with a pizza stone, just take a cooking sheet and grease and dust with cornmeal.Once the dough is done rising, dust a second baking sheet with cornmeal and punch dough down and divide in half.
Roll each piece into a ball and let rest, covered with plastic wrap, 10 to 15 minutes. Pull the pizza stone out of the oven and dust with cornmeal. Flatten each ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface and then transfer to the pizza stone/baking sheet. If you want to get fancy with it and you have a pizza peel, do all of this on that and then transfer to the pizza stone/baking sheet. Brush crust with olive oil, put on a layer of sauce and then add desired toppings.
We made two pizzas: one with mozzarella, spinach and Proscuitto and the other with mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni.
After about 15 minutes of being in the oven each, the pizzas came out smoking hot and ready to be consumed.
|Yum a lum|
I give Williala all the credit in the world for making pizza that even the Italians in the North End of Boston would have been impressed by! Pizza is also a great meal to make with friends because choosing the toppings is a group activity (the email banter the day before this was quite amusing) and can be customized to everyone’s likings. Enjoy!