The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Crust

October 26, 2012 § 8 Comments

In this case “ultimate” means easy, quick, and extra thin and crispy. If you are looking for deep dish, be gone with you, call Jet’s. I came across the goodness that is the recipe whilst browsing Lesley Eats who in turn learned of it from Fearless Homemaker who adapted it from The Kitchn (so goes the blogosphere), so this thing is tried and true. I followed the original instructions here which were simple and produced great results (no equipment other than a rolling pin needed). And now I pass this wisdom on to you!

3/4 cups (6 ounces) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active-dry or instant yeast
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 500°F or as hot as it will go and let stand for a half hour. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the lower-middle part of the oven now. Combine the water and yeast in a mixing bowl, and stir to dissolve the yeast.

Looks like miso soup

Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix until you’ve formed a shaggy dough.

Shaggy Dough

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface along with any loose flour still in the bowl. Knead until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it’s sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it is smooth.

Dough ball

If you have time at this point, you can let the dough rise until you need it or until doubled in bulk (about an hour and a half). After rising, you can use the dough or refrigerate it for up to three days.

Cover the dough with the upside-down mixing bowl or a clean kitchen towel while you prepare the pizza toppings.

When ready to make the pizza, tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Divide the dough in two. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk  and lay it on the parchment paper. Gently press and stretch the dough until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. For an extra-thin crust, roll it with a rolling pin. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for five minutes and then continue rolling.

Now here come the toppings. Use the back of a spoon to spread your sauce out to the edges, then add the rest of your goodies.

Slide your pizza (still on the parchment) onto the baking stone in the oven. If you don’t have a baking stone, bake the pizza on the back side of a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes and then rotate the pizza, removing the parchment from under the pizza as you do so. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until the crust is golden-brown and the cheese looks toasty.

Remove the pizza and let it cool about five minutes before slicing on a wire rack. Repeat with the second pizza.

Ours was a little different from the original magarhita style since I had been eyeing this recipe on the back of Chobani’s Greek Yogurt for a few weeks now. It combines sauteed onions and garlic with a mix of greek yogurt and ricotta cheese topped off with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. Delizioso!


Superba, Venice Ca

October 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

This weekend, the stars aligned to create the perfect time for a quick trip to California. Since my brother lives in Venice Beach, we always have a vacation and place to stay at our fingertips there. The flight out from Nashville is much easier than from the East coast so even leaving after work on Friday, I landed in time for dinner. I’m so glad I did because the restaurant was fantastic. It was an Italian spot with a Southern Californian twist called Superba that invites lingering late outside over wine (they have blankets table-side if you catch a beachy breeze). We chose the tasting menu which was served in a totally unique way- small plates style. Instead of everyone getting their own mini portion of each dish, plate after delicious plate was set down before us to share. It’s my favorite way to eat and with pastas made in house, the food was four stars.

I am not one for terrine (center) but I do love me some pastrami and this was some o the best ever (left)

elderflower persimmons, burrata, pistachio crumble, butter greens & hibiscus jelly. I have a confession to make, before this trip, I had never heard I burrata. Have you tried it? It is smoother, creamier, yet somehow lighter mozzarella that I then continued to nine on all weekend. I can not imagine it not going with anything.

black kale salad, parmesen, pickled raisins, pine nuts, croutons & olive oil. Perfection.

broiled hamachi collar, thai bbq glaze, apple & celery leaf salad. I love the way it’s served with the tail on, gorgeous!

crispy brussels sprout, bacon, dashi broth & poached duck egg. Oh this broth was heaven. You could put anything in there, chicken, beef, etc but it just made the Brussels sprouts even more succulent.

brown butter gnocchi, burrata, spigarello, chestnuts & pomegranate. Believe it or not there were two other pasta dishes as well but I didn’t want to gloat. More burrata, and some beautiful gnocchi.

In other news, today is Food Day celebrating real food!

Porcini, Philadelphia

August 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

Don’t even get me or any Philadelphian started on The Barnes Foundation–just watch The Art of The Steal and you will be outraged too. Since I attended high school near the Merion location, the former residence was a popular field trip destination. However, my mom had tickets and my brother was in from CA so the family was going to the new campus. The art is still incredible–an amazing collection of impressionist and post-impressionist work with the largest collection of Renoirs in the world. It should be an absolute top priority if you are planning a trip. After taking it all in, it was time for a great meal

We head to Porcini near Rittenhouse, a fabulous Italian BYO with melt-in-your-mouth handmade pastas. The space is very small and the tables get noisy, which I like. You’ll see the owners schmoozing the guests and it gives the all around feeling that you are at an enormous, Italian family dinner.

Mussels and Prosciutto con Melone. Perfect starters–both light, one sweet, one savory

Pulpo e Calamari. This was perfectly dressed with a light lemony olive oil but it went too quickly for our table.

I ordered the pasta special, penne arrabiata. This version had shrimp and even though it wasn’t the spiciest version I’ve had, the sauce is still delectable. I cleaned my plate.

Gnocchi con Salsiccia. I always think of gnocchi as so heavy but these little guys were so light and delicate. With the sausage though, the dish is definitely filling. More of that amazing tomato sauce.

Vitello Affumicato. The veal was thin and savory and so good, I don’t even think it needed the mozzarella, although I guess everything is better with cheese.

The entree special was halibut and it was perfectly cooked with just a light lemon-wine-caper sauce. Perfection

THIS is the star of the night. I forget the name but it translates to “a thousand clouds” and this was light was air with soft layers of crispy pastry and the sweetest creams you’ve ever tasted. I am a huge cannoli fan but they paled in comparison. Call ahead and see if they have it.

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