Monday, April 7, 2008

Quick pizza without resorting to delivery

At least once or twice a year DH asks the question. And so far the answer's always been no. We're too far out of town for pizza delivery. Yeah, if he goes in to the local pizza place and draws them a map of where we're located he may get a positive response. But it's not something you want to bank on when everyone's starving. Odds are the guy he talked to won't be there or remember the conversation when he calls and the answer will be no. Again.

So for that and other reasons we make most of the pizzas we eat. It's not hard and they tend to taste better than the ones we could get if we had a delivery option. Plus we can have extra toppings, no problem. And the pizza is ready in 40 minutes or less from start to finish. About the same time it would take for delivery anyway.

Crust is always an issue but when time is critical there's only one recipe we pull out. It came from Schmoomom, one of the members on the old site. Makes an excellent thin crust. Crisp, without being like a cracker. Also freezes well.

Schmoomom's Neighbor's Fantastic Pizza Crust

2-1/2 tsp or 1 envelope yeast
2 tbs warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons oil
1 whole egg -- well beaten
3 cups flour (all purpose, whole wheat or half and half, if desired)
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Combine with other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with a fork. Knead dough for a minute or two on a floured surface. (Mixing and kneading may be done with a mixer such as a Kitchen Aid.)

Do not let rise. Form 2 12-inch pizza crusts, pour on toppings and bake at 450°F for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing -- if you can manage it!

I usually can pizza sauce in the fall when we have a glut of tomatoes in the garden but you can always use your favorite canned or jarred sauce from the store. In a pinch, heat a can of tomato sauce and add 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, and 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Simmer the sauce while you're making the dough and you'll be ready to pour it on after shaping.

Add any combination of the following: pepperoni, cooked ground beef, black olives, mushrooms, fresh bell peppers, hot peppers, onion, or whatever you like on a pizza. Top with a little fresh grated Parmesan (not the too salty powdered stuff in the green can) or Romano cheese or just stick with regular mozzarella.

Pizza is kind of like a frittata -- you can tuck in a few leftovers such as sauteed zucchini, a few sliced of bacon, crumbled, or some diced ham and no one will be the wiser or you can stay straight and pure, using only tomato sauce and cheese. It's your call. The crust will be perfect either way.