It’s My New Favorite Pizza

Spinach-Basil-Pesto-Pizza_Slice

It was thanks to our friends Amy and Russell that we first experienced how amazing homemade pizza could be (link: Pizza Perfected). So of course it was only fitting that they once again led us to a pizza revelation. One night, when we all went out together for pizza and beers, we decided to order a couple of pizzas. The special that night was on any combination of four toppings, and Jan ordered a combination of meat and veggies (very standard supreme). For her order, Amy told the waiter: pesto sauce (doesn’t count as a topping), tomatoes, spinach, grilled chicken, feta cheese, and artichoke hearts (added that as an extra topping).

Never being a fan of “new age” pizzas (sorry, CPK and any fans of barbecue chicken, mushroom alfredo, and/or brussell sprouts and lemon pizza), I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as always, kept an open mind. Continue reading

Easy as Pie

A pizza pie, that is.  We used to mostly just eat pizza at a pizzeria or out of a delivery box, but now with so many more options for ready-made crust, it’s become one of our favorite things to make at home.  Before we discovered the refrigerated dough from Fresh and Easy, making pizza at home was this time-intensive process of making the dough, waiting for it to rise, and doing all this work before even getting to the fun part, which is putting on the toppings.  It was always worth the effort, but one of those things we just didn’t do very often because of the time involved.

But now, skipping all those dough-preparation steps gets us to the part we like faster—putting on the toppings—which is probably why pizza has been on the menu every week for the past month.  We’ve tried both the whole wheat and regular versions, and I think the regular dough comes out a bit crispier and crunchier (a good thing when making a thin crust pizza).

However, even though this pizza is easy, it’s not without challenges.  After letting the dough sit out for about 20 minutes before rolling out onto a pizza pan or stone, we face our first dilemma: deciding which toppings to use.  Our problem is that we always put on too much.  I’m convinced that my beautiful thin crust can’t stand up to the mountain of toppings always covering it, but it seems to be working out ok.  We bake the pizza longer than the suggested time of 10-15 minutes (about 20 minutes total) to get the crispy crust we like.  So, for about 10 minutes of work and some waiting time, we’ve got a simple, delicious dinner.

After topping with tomato sauce and cheese, the last pizza included: turkey pepperoni, spicy pork sausage, red onions, black olives, red bell peppers, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts.  You could hardly see the cheese underneath!  Jan says you can’t have too much of a good thing, but I think our next challenge will be pizza topping editing—paring down to fewer ingredients to get the best balance of flavors.  I’m always impressed by different and unusual combinations of toppings, but it’s hard to get out of our “combination” routine.  What other favorite pizza topping combinations should we try next?

Pizza perfected

We ate the most amazing pizza the other night thanks to our friends Russell and Amy. Russell, who just happens to be a professional baker, just had a massive pizza oven installed at his home, and we were lucky enough to get to try it out.

The bacon and red onions on the deep-dish pizza made an excellent combination

While Russell perfected his dough, letting it sit for 3 days (I’ve still so much to learn about making bread), some of the fun was left for us: topping the pizzas, which I can definitely do. On top of a deep dish crust, I added pepperoni, bacon, red onion, red, yellow, and green peppers, mushrooms, and artichokes. Jan’s thin-crust pizza was a monster with double cheese, tomatoes, basil, and artichoke hearts so high that Russell wasn’t sure he’d be able to slide the pizza off the wooden cutting board and into the oven. Our friends Kristi and Ferol also got into the action, making a thin-crust margarita pizza, and another combination deep-dish.

Margarita pizza and Patron margaritas were another good pair

While Russell insisted his dough recipe needed perfecting, we all had to disagree. It was amazing! The thin crust was crunchy and light, and the deep-dish was the first time I’d had that style pizza without it being a soggy, greasy mess.

Amy and Russell sent us home with some dough for another pizza and I’ve now got my work cut out for me: trying to convince Jan a pizza oven shouldn’t be our next big investment.