We’ve done it two Fridays’ in a row now and I think perhaps it should make a comeback. Pizza is a healthy meal, full of good things that blend beautifully for a finger licking delight and of course, leftovers are always great for breakfast either cold or reheated.
My pizza dough has changed over the years, I’ve discovered better recipes and although I used to start from scratch and go through the process of wait and see, now my bread machine does all the work. There’s nothing like adding ingredients into the hopper in the morning, set the timer and coming home from work to a perfectly timed buxom dough pushing against the lid of the bread machine. I open the door and it keeps on growing like a balloon. I make a double recipe for two pizzas. We have Paderno pans that have a non-stick coating and holes to help brown the bottom to a golden brown. I’ve never learned to flip dough in the air without hitting the ceiling or landing with a thump on the floor so I palm it to stretch and fill the pan and then brush olive oil on the edge of the crust for a fresh out of the oven bread crunch.
I’ve always made my own sauce. The canned ones taste fine but its chock full of stuff you don’t need, including MSG. I use tomato paste, add water to the desired consistency then a tsp of sugar to take the bitterness off and a lot of my favourite spice, Basil and a lesser bit of oregano.
Toppings vary depending on the craving or what’s hanging around the fridge. I really like Hot Italian Sausage precooked and left in chunks, like meatballs in spaghetti sauce. I’m not a fan of the sliced and prepackaged pepperoni found at the deli counter. The skinny slices are soaked in preservatives; the package is wet inside and dripping with goodness knows what? It turns me off and now they are saying that processed meats are really bad for us, bringing up the "C" word. Chris Brother’s Pepperoni is always my choice, plenty of flavour and a product made with pride. Yes, there is still preservative in the package but you can wash that off and then cut the meat so each slice's surface hasn’t been drenched in formaldehyde.
Hubby likes olives and mushrooms and I don’t so we usually make two pizzas to suit our tastes. I like mushrooms raw in a salad but not so much cooked. I find they get slippery and for me the texture has to be right I’ve never acquired a taste for olives although I’ll eat them in a pinch, but if I have a choice, I vote no.
What I do like far outweighs what I don’t so it’s not like my pizza is bare. I pile on green and red peppers, tomatoes, onions, pepperoni or sausage and lots of cheese. My one must is pineapple. I love the way you get a little burst of juice from each tidbit. When available, Artichoke is also good and even blanched sun dried tomatoe lends a wonderful flavour.
Cheese is important. This is no time to go cheap. One full brick or more is needed per pizza. Some sprinkled on the sauce and then pile on the toppings and then end with a sea of white on top. Magnificent works of art waiting to be cooked to perfection. I like mozzarella that can be pulled and stringy when you take bites, like at a real pizzeria. I let our pizza's sit to cool a bit so we don't need utensils to eat it. Pizza is definitely a hand to mouth food, biting down on all those flavours and pulling away with cheese stretching between fingers and lips.
The smell of pizza wafting through the house is divine. To bad tha smell couldn't be bottled and sold, perhaps as cologne to dab behind the ears. You know what they say about attracting a man through his stomach, they'd be following you home! Yes, I think this old custom needs to be revisited. Friday night pizza at the Littles!