- Eating: Homemade Arugula and Smoked Bacon Pizza (leftovers)
- Drinking: Community Coffee Louisiana Blend
- Reading (for “pleasure”): Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms
The word of the day is…PIZZA.
I was reflecting about last Saturday’s post and thinking mostly about other weird food obsessions I have. I mentioned yogurt at the end of the post, and as I was thinking about what to make for dinner that night, I realized I had another one. Pizza is very difficult to find in Lafayette. Let me be clear, there is a Dominos and a Little Ceasars within walking distance of my house, but real, New York style, hot-out-of-a-brick-oven pizza? Nope. Well not that I can find anyway. If you know of one, please leave a comment!
So, I decided to take things into my own hands. For those of you who’ve never made pizza at home, it is ridiculously easy.
First, find a place that sells dough (I realize that this may be “ridiculously easy” because I’m not making my own dough!). If you have a favorite pizza parlor, you can probably buy it there (but then again, you can just have them make the pizza for you as well). Also, the grocery store should have some. I bought mine at the bakery in Albertson’s. They actually didn’t sell pizza dough per say, so I bought their dough for focaccia bread instead. It added a nice flavor to the crust.
One of the most important steps when making pizza is to let that dough rise! Unless you enjoy a hard cardboard-like crust, give the dough at least an hour or so to let the yeast do its thing. I usually put the dough in a bowl with a little olive oil to keep it from forming a skin, then cover it with a towel. I’ll fill another bowl with hot water, and use something like a double-boiler system to create a nice warm place for my dough to rise.
Okay, so now your dough has ideally doubled in size, and you are ready to form the crust. Start in the center and gently knead the dough. Keep stretching it until it reaches the desired diameter (if things get sticky, sprinkle some flour on your hands and the dough). I also like to pinch up the edges to form a lip.
Now, the fun part: toppings.
Growing up, my mother always used Tuttoroso, New World Style, crushed tomatoes. We had green cans, which are the crushed variety, and the blue cans, which were whole plum tomatoes. Whenever I see those green cans in the supermarket, I buy a couple to have on hand in the event that I want to make a pizza, and with that bring back the many memories of making Saturday night pizzas with my family. Anyway, I highly recommend Tuttoroso–the brand has been good to me and my family for at least 25 years.
Choose your sauce, or make your own, and spoon it on the dough. Keep it in a nice even layer, otherwise, you will get soupy crust and a pizza slice that doesn’t stand up right when you lift it to your mouth.
Next, I like to sprinkle the sauce with some seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, and granulated garlic. Tone’s garlic powder is another brand my mother uses…are you seeing a pattern here?
At this point, you are ready to add the cheese and your other toppings. I used fresh mozzarella, sliced thin, and apple-wood smoked bacon. Pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes–watch the crust. When it is brown, it’s ready.
After pulling it out of the oven, I sprinkled some fresh baby arugula on top. Do this while the pizza is still hot, otherwise, the arugula won’t wilt into the deliciousness of the cheese and sauce….and you want that. Trust me.