I am Katelyn's favorite brother, so I grew up just like her. I live in New Hampshire with my wife and we have a lovely dog named Brandi, in our home in a small town. Kate and I grew up eating the same food and doing a lot of the same things. I do most of the cooking in my house, my wife does make a pretty mean baked Brie. Growing up in the early 90s gave me a lot of things, but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gave me a love of pizza. Now, I have had a lot of different types of pizza. When we lived in Florida, there was a place in Tampa called Hungry Howie's that had flavored crust and Kate and I both worked in a local pizza place when we were in high school. My wife's first job outside of college was at a Pizza Hut. I owe a lot to pizza, which is why I am writing about it. Also, this is the only thing that I can remember both of my grandfathers making. They both cooked, but didn't really make the same things. I can remember my father's father getting a pizza stone and telling me that I have never had pizza until I had it on a pizza stone.
All good pizza, no matter whether you are in New York or Chicago, starts with the crust. You have to have a good crust, it is close to half of what you are eating when you eat pizza. I got a cookbook a few years ago and when Mario Batali tells you how to make pizza dough, don't argue, just do it. Now this is a process, but you will thank yourself for the time you put into it.
Pizza Dough: Mario Batali Style
3 1/4 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons of instant yeast
1 tbs salt
1 tbs sugar
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbs olive oil
Instructions: As with most doughs, combine the dry ingredients together (flour, yeast, salt and sugar), then make a well add the wet ingredients (water, wine and oil). Mix together until the dough comes of the side of the bowl. Knead it on a floured surface for about 5 minutes and let it REST for 1 hour covered in a oiled bowl. The resting part is most important, because the flour needs to be hydrated by all the liquid and it won't have the proper elasticity it needs to stand up to the rolling. Punch it down at the end of the hour.
Preheat an oven to 500 degrees with the pizza stone in it. Roll out your dough onto a floured surface, some people like circle, some people like square. It doesn't matter, it will just taste good. I use a pizza peel to transfer the dough to the oven, but you can use a upside down baking sheet to move it around. Put whatever you want on the dough (my favorite: fresh mozzarella, chopped seeded tomatoes and fresh basil). Put the pizza in the oven. Take it out when the crust is brown.
You really can put whatever you want on pizza, I once did Nutella, graham cracker crumbs and marshmallow. If you ever wanted to taste heaven, that is pretty much it. I will admit that my wife does make a pretty good pizza as well, and we didn't even get to grilling it (really quite delicious). I promise I will add some more posts as time goes on.