Food Buzz


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano!

Yes, you guessed it, we are learning about Italian cuisine in class this week and next!  Last night our menu included three different pizzas (including the homemade dough), marinara sauce, habanero sausage risotto, arugula and fuji apple salad and chicken parmesan.  Our group, being the advanced team, made two pizzas and the salad.  Busy busy and SOOOO fun!

Most of you are well aware of my love affair with my Breadman, the machine does all of the hard stuff (mixing and kneading) while I just take the dough and bake it.  Most people could do that with no problem.  The true art is in the kneading... You don't want to knead too much (making the dough too tough) and you don't want to knead too little (texture of the bread will not be smooth and won't stretch onto a pizza pan).  We watched Chef make one dough and then went off to work.

Our first pizza was a Ricotta Pesto pizza.  We made the dough, set it aside to rise then made a beautiful basil and pine nut pesto using a mortar and pestle (the only way to do it, according to Chef).  Next we mixed ricotta and mozzarella in equal parts and set aside.  Once the dough was done rising, we parbaked it for 12 minutes until lightly browned. We spread a little pesto mixed with olive oil on the bottom.

Then we took the remaining pesto and mixed it with the cheese mixture and dropped it in spoonfuls over the dough.

We baked it for about 6 minutes more and it was done.  Isn't it gorgeous?  It was very tasty.

Our second pizza was a Halloween themed pizza (bright orange tomatoes from the school garden, pepperoni, black olives and green onions).

Pizza Dough

1 c water @ 110-120 degrees
1 T dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 c flour plus 1/3 cupfuls later

1) Warm bowl and the liquid measuring cup by filling with warm water
2) Measure all ingredients, measuring water last.
3) Put warm water into warm bowl using a wire whisk, sprinkle in yeast and stir with wire whisk
4) Add sugar and stir to dissolve, wait a moment
5) Add salts and stir with wire whisk
6) Add 1 c of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended
7) Using a wooden spoon stirring in only one direction, add 1/3 cupfuls of flour until the dough is thick enough to stick to spoon and be lifted out of the bowl.
8) Flour the counter where you will knead the dough and flour your hands.
9) Place all dough in a blob and set into the flour on the counter
10) Knead* the dough about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth, soft and elastic (like a baby's bottom)
11) Oil the dough and place in a bowl to rise (covered with a towel and set in a warm area of the kitchen)

*Kneading the dough:  PUSH away with heel of hand, FOLD in half towards you, quarter TURN to the right (push, fold, turn).  Do this until the dough is a nice smooth ball and then "tuck and spin" so it looks like this:

Let it rise until it's 2-3 times it's original size then bake as directed above.
This dough was a little thicker and more bread-y than I typically like, but had great flavor.  One of my teammates, Carol, suggested that maybe throwing it up in the air makes the difference (we didn't try that!).  All I know is even though our pizzas were good and we were proud of our final product, my brother in law makes 'em even better.  Must be the New York Italian side of him. :)

What are your favorite toppings on pizza?  Are you a NY or Chicago pizza fan?  Please share your thoughts here!

Chow for Now!  :)

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