Friday, June 8, 2012

Erin’s Better-than-Delivery (and DiGiorno) Pizza

Special Guest Blog Post today by my very best (and older!) sister, Erin!

Pizza ingredients:
  • Store-bought pizza dough (I prefer Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s whole wheat)
  • Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Soppresata
  • Arugula
  • EVOO
  • Truffle oil, for garnish
Roasted Tomato Sauce ingredients:
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (Jersey tomatoes are best)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • EVOO
  • 5 sprigs basil
Welcome to my first blog entry, as the Basil Bee’s guest. Since this entry is long over-due, let me quickly introduce myself. I am the Basil Bee’s older and WISER sister, Erin. I also love to cook and also have a puppy. He will have a cameo later.
But what you really came for was a recipe, right? This pizza is delicious and can be as healthy, or as meaty, as you would prefer, so choose wisely. Fresh, high quality ingredients in my book, will beat cheaper (though sometimes faster) substitutes any old day. Reads: my husband and I do not like jarred sauce.
First, here are some helpful tools I have found along the way. Without these, rolling out dough can be a P.I.T.A. No pun intended, ha.
·         Silpat Non-stick Baking mat
·         Rolling pin, or similar contraption from Pampered Chef you’ll see in one of my pictures, below
·         Pizza stone
·         Pizza Peel  - we have this one

First, you need a good sauce. Luckily, this one can be made in advance, and yes, served with other things. For example, I originally made this sauce as an accompaniment to grilled polenta (also, something you should try). If you aren’t already familiar with the en papilotte style of cooking, get ready to be dazzled!

Directions for the Roasted Tomato Sauce:  First, preheat your oven to 400F. Pulse half the cherry tomatoes until they are coarsely chopped in a food processor. Next, in a medium bowl, combine the pulsed tomatoes with the remaining tomatoes, which should also be cut in half. Add the minced garlic and shallots and combine with enough EVOO to thoroughly coat.
On top of a cookie sheet, spread 3 layers of parchment paper about the same size as the cookie sheet.  Then, place the tomato mixture in the middle of the paper and add the 5 sprigs of basil. Create a tight packet with the parchment paper by gently folding the trio of paper in half, and crimping the edges until you have created a tight seal. The sauce is now ready to go in the oven on top of the cookie sheet.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until you have a saucy sauce. Just be careful when you open the packet to test your sauce, hot steam will escape!

Mmm-this is my sauce. Sorry the pixel quality isn’t great. 

Now that you have a scrumptious sauce, it’s time to assemble the pizza...

Erin’s Better-than-Delivery (and DiGiorno) Pizza
First, it is important to have a well-floured work surface, especially if you don’t have one of those fancy silpat things I just put a plug in for (Krissy, do I get any of your advertising commission on this one?).  It helps to take your dough out of the refridgerator aobut 10 minutes before you want to start rolling it out. Also, a well-floured rolling pin will also help.
To begin, preheat your oven to 450F – with the pizza stone inside.

Step 1: Roll the dough. Hint: make sure the crust doesn’t get to thin or you will have limp pizza syndrome. No one likes a limp pizza. 

See my fancy pampered chef pizza dough roller?

Step 2: Prepare your ingredients.

Step 3: Assemble your pizza – on a well-floured pizza peel. I hope you have one or you will have a hard time transferring your pizza to the hot stone. Also, don’t forget to brush the crust with EVOO. Hint: make sure you don’t make your pizza too saucy, or again, you will have limp pizza syndrome.

Pizza is on stone, ready for transfer.
Step 4: Transfer pizza to stone. Hint: This can be dicey so be careful. As long as you floured your peel in advance you should be ok. I also used a spatula to help with the transition.

So far, so good.
Step 5: Now, bake until the dough gets nice and crisp. It should be golden brown on the crust and the cheese should be melted.

My piece de résistance? Truffle oil, lightly drizzled on top of the finished pie.

Step 6. Mangia!

Porter can barely stand it, but he’s waiting patiently for a slice.

Hope you like it
Erin (& Porter)