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Monday, September 20, 2010

Pizza Margherita 3 ways!

Easy & Fast but oh so delicious!
The Cheat but oh so delicious!
Some work but oh so delicious!

Three options for the basic pizza margherita. Who can live without pizza?

Easy & Fast

Using your favorite flatbread or pita bread simply add your favorite pasta sauce. I use my homemade fresh pasta sauce. Add fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. Bake for about 10 minutes on high heat. Add more fresh basil to garnish.

The Cheat:
If you have more time on your hands try this version.
Buy your favorite already prepared pizza dough.

Sprinkle some flour on it and form into one large ball.

With a sharp knife cut the large ball into four smaller balls, or eight, depending on how thin you like your pizza.

Stretch the dough out with your fingers or use a rolling pin.
(The kids always help out with their own pizza)!

Add flour to avoid sticking to the counter and to the rolling pin!
Heat a dry griddle pan on high heat.
Add the flattened dough to the dry griddle pan.

Cook until it starts to bubble and the edges start to turn golden.
Flip to the other side and cook for another minute or two.
Add your sauce, your fresh mozzarella and basil leaves.
Cook for about 8 minutes on high heat 425 degrees.or until the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden.

Work but delicious!

This pizza recipe comes directly from Mario Batali's new book called Molto Gusto!
It's a fabulous book with excellent recipes I highly recommend it to everyone. Almost no meat in this book just so you know!

This pizza dough is wetter than most doughs which allows for the particular cooking technique.

Mario uses a hot griddle to parcook the pizza crusts.

1 1/4 cups warm water
one 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 1/2 cups of "00" flour
Scant 2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Semolina for dusting

To make the dough:
Whisk the warm water, yeast, and sugar together in a bowl.
Let stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until yeast is foamy.

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
Mix well.
With the mixer on low, add the yeast mixture and oil, mixing well.
Continue to mix, gradually, increasing the mixer speed to medium high, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and turn it by hand to finish kneading it.

Once you have kneaded, divided and stretched the dough into 8 flat pizzas, heat the griddle pan until very hot.
Place the pizza on the griddle pan and cook until evenly cooked about 2-3 minutes.
Turn and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
Parbaked crusts can be refrigerated overnight and frozen, well wrapped, for up to two weeks.

It's a great idea to make a large batch of these and freeze them, so whenever you are in the mood for a perfect pizza all you have to do is take one out of the freezer.

You can also freeze some of the pizzas with the toppings on them-even easier!

Once you have dressed you margherita with sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil broil it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes.

More pizza ideas:
I tend to saute most of my ingredients/vegetables before adding them to the pizza! Much tastier.

My kids love a spinach pizza.
Frozen chopped spinach run under hot water.
Drain spinach by squeezing out excess water with you hands.
Saute spinach with finely diced onion and minced garlic.

Add sauce, spinach mixture, mozzarella cheese . Cook and enjoy.

Sausage and roasted red and yellow peppers.
Vegetarian with asparagus, mushroom, thinly sliced zucchini.
Prosciutto & arugula-add arugula after cooking.
Potato & Rosemary- SIMPLY THE BEST! make sure your potato slices are very thinly sliced.
Caramelized onion, goat cheese and spinach.

My crazy combination
Sauted baby spinach, caramelized onion, roasted garlic, fresh ginger, or pickled ginger, pine nuts, fresh mozzarella.

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