For the love of pizza!
Posted on Feb 24, 2009
At home, my husband Peter is the pizza maker, or as they say in Italy, the pizzaiolo. He loves firing up the oven and calling over a few friends. This spells holiday for me as we enjoy amazing pizza in the backyard.
Peter is often experimenting with different dough recipes, yet our favorite dough is still the Neapolitan, (click here for recipe). Growing up in Naples made me appreciate the consistency and the wider rim of this pizza.
A word about flour and mozzarella cheese:
- Pizza dough made from good quality organic white flour has the best taste. You may also like the Hudson Cream flour, check it out.
- Bel Gioioso fresh mozzarella cheese is what I buy because it has the right firmness needed for cooking in the wood fired oven. You can usually find it at Costco for a great price. Cut it in small cubes, rather than shredding it, this will prevent it burning in the hot oven. The mozzarella balls in water are too "wet" I find for use as a pizza topping.
Truffle and Arugula Pizza -- Peter's Favorite
Topping, enough for garnishing one pizza pie:
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in cubes
- 4 slices of Italian fontina cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 handful of fresh arugula leaves
- Truffle oil
- Optional: 3 slices of prosciutto
Garnish with the mozzarella and fontina cheeses and place in the 650 to 750 degrees oven. Give the pizza a quick turn with the pizza turner after about 1.5 minutes and then slide out of the oven when ready, about another minute and a half.
When the pizza comes out of the oven piping hot, sprinkle the parmesan cheese, add the truffle oil, and sprinkle a handful of fresh arugula on top. Optional: add prosciutto slices.
Red Onion and Bell Pepper Pizza -- Anna's Favorite
Generally speaking, pizzas are topped with crushed tomato sauce straight from the can, but in this instance, I like the sweeter taste of cooked tomato sauce coupled with red peppers and onions.
Topping, enough for garnishing two pizza pies:
- 1 can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 teaspoon balsamic red vinegar
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in cubes
- 5-6 fresh basil leaves
Brown onion and bell pepper with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. When the onion and pepper have softened, add the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook, uncovered on low heat, for about another 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Make your favorite tomato sauce. Here's what I do for a simple tomato sauce. Fish out the peeled tomatoes from the can and reserve the juice for other use. Slice the tomatoes. In a saucepan add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and one clove of garlic. Add the sliced tomatoes, on low flame, let the sauce come together nice and thick, for about 15-20 minutes. Salt to taste.
Spoon tomato sauce on pizza with circular motion. Add the mozzarella cheese evenly. Add the cooked onions and bell peppers, but avoid the juice as this will wet the dough too much. Slide the pie in the oven and bake. Add the basil leaves to the piping hot pizza just out of the oven.