Monday, February 23, 2009

Pizza Night

The worst weekend of my professional life had but one bright spot.

Fortunately, that bright spot included bacon.

Saturday night we had friends over for a pizza fest since we got our pizza stone and are now obsessed with making homemade pizza at every possible opportunity.

I was a little later than I'd thought getting home, so Andy actually prepared all the doughs for our contributions to the evening.

We started with two loaves (pieces?) of pizza bianca stolen mostly from Smitten Kitchen who got it from Jim Lahey. So simple is the recipe, though, that they were pretty much the same most places I looked.

We didn't follow the intricate baking instructions, recommended, and just turned the oven as high as it would go and slipped the prepared dough onto the smoldering pizza stone for an incredibly crunchy, chewy, amazingly simple flat bread. The first one came out a little crispier than the second, but still completely wonderful.

The pizza bianca was a great pairing with this antipasto salad and a giant glass of pinot noir.

Then began the construction of the mashed potato pizza. After making 12 potatoes worth of mashed red potatoes (because Emeril is obviously smoking creole crack when he writes his recipes and wants to see if people will actually follow his drug-induced instructions), we used maybe 3 to spread on the pizza crust. But really, who complains about leftover mashed potatoes? Moving on...

Andrea is one of my favorite people for bringing recipes like this (and pepperoni rolls) into my life. As I type this, I'm munching on some of the homemade graham crackers (!!I know!!) she left at our place. A cup of honey lemon green tea takes them to a whole new, graham-tastic level.

Back to the pizza. Next came some onions sauteed in olive oil.

Then came the ingredients that automatically elevate any recipe to a new level in my esteem, cheese and bacon. The combo of fontina and provolone cheese was melty, salty and smoky. Like any good chef, Andrea didn't skimp on the bacon.

This is what magic happens after 14 minutes in the oven.

I wasn't sure what to expect from a mashed potato pizza, but it really works. This isn't the pizza for any carb-cutters (freaks) out there, but it's a must-try for any pizza lover.

Enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Eric's sad face is due to how little pizza he has left.

I know how you feel, buddy. I just finished my last graham cracker.

Happy eating everyone!

Pizza Bianca
Makes two long pizzas

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary

1. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer (or food processor as we do) and slowly add 1 cup cold water. Mix on low speed until ingredients begin to combine, increase speed to medium-high, and continue to mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic, and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

2. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and allow to rest for 2 to 4 hours until it has doubled in size. Split the dough into halves, and form each into a log. Place each log on a generously floured surface, and allow it to rest until the formed dough doubles in size again, at least 1 hour.

3. Put dough on a lightly floured, pizza paddle or rimless baking sheet. Dimple dough by pressing it down with your fingertips. Work the dough outward toward the edges of the peel until you reach your desired size and thickness, about 1/4 inch. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, rosemary and sprinkle with remaining salt.

4. Place a baking stone, in the oven. Set oven to 500ish degrees or as high as it will go (mine was 550). Slip the dough onto the baking stone and let bake for 5-7 minutes or until it's browned and beautifully bubbly. Keep an eye on it since it bakes fairly quickly and burns even faster if you wander off.


Andrea said...

Yum!!! Love this post! Glad you guys enjoy the mashed potato pizza and grahams as much as we do. And the pizza bianca was the perfect start! We might need to do a re-run of that night again soon...minus the whole working ridiculous hours thing. ;)

Eric said...

I just printed this post in color and ate it. That's how good it looked.