As I walked back to North Station this week to catch my commuter rail train, I happened to walk past one of those divey places near the train station that specializes in super-greasy, super-unhealthy pizza–but the aroma triggered a real craving for pizza! I vaguely remembered that it seemed like pizza dough didn’t take that long to make, especially when you make it in a food processor or stand mixer. I checked Mark Bittman and it turned out I had remembered correctly, so I threw the flour (I used bread flour), yeast, water, salt, and olive oil in the food processor and made up the dough. (Why the food processor and not my beloved kitchenaid? One word: dishwasher safe). Since it only needed 1-2 hours to rise and then would bake up in about 10 minutes, I figured it would be ready by 8:30 at the latest. I did have to give it a little boost by creating a “proofing box” (a technique explained in Baking Illustrated: you heat the oven to 200 F for 10 minutes, turn it off, and then put the dough in. Since “room temperature” in bread recipes is actually much warmer than anyone actually keeps their house, I often seem to need to do this to get the bread to rise, if not much else is going on in the kitchen. I wonder if this is why many people feel like they can’t get dough to rise properly–not realizing that it actually needs to rise at about 75F, not 68!)
The pizza was great to use up a few spare things in the kitchen–some fresh basil that was not looking to sprightly (potentially not appetizing for a salad, but fine when cooked), a big slab of mozzarella cheese that E was refusing to eat (he was loving cheese before but we tried a different company this time: apparently he has brand loyalty already) and some tomato sauce in a can I accidentally bought thinking it was canned chopped tomatoes. Then I shaved some pecorino on top.
Of course, the red, green and white of the pizza was lovely before going into the oven:
And pretty good once it came out as well.
As I read through the recipe I realized I could make the dough in the morning and let it rise in the fridge all day so it would be ready to go when I got home from work (sounds good in theory but I’m barely getting out the door as it is!); or I could also make up some dough and freeze it–it keeps for about a month (this sounds a bit more likely). The nice thing is E actually ate a little bit of it too (he’s stubbornly clinging to food in its pureed form so anything that works is exciting!)
I also made Dama Bianca from last April’s Gourmet. I love fennel and the lemon dressing was tasty; it’s simple, fast, and nothing amazing but it’s a nice salad if you enjoy the ingredients.