I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Weekend Pizzas

We had pizza again on Sunday. I made 3 different kinds. I was planning on making only two, but I went to this new Italian grocer. One of my friends told me about it. I usually go to a place that is by a farmer's market. I can get all the fresh farm grown produce I need on the cheap, and all of the specialty ingredients for whatever Italian feast I happen to be making. I tried the new market because they have better proscuitto (a cured Italian ham) and capicola (another cured Italian ham). When I was in the new market I spotted a kilogram bag of Colavita type 00 flour that I just had to try. Type 00 flour is a grade of Italian flour that is typically used for pizza and the like. I found a recipe for pizza dough using 00 flour over at pizzamaking.com and gave it a whirl.

I made that dough into a pizza margherita. That kind of pizza is dressed only with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. It is a very simple pizza but is considered the original pizza that started the craze several hundred years ago.

And sliced it looks like this:

We liked that pizza OK but we both like the next one better. I made a dough from my NY style recipe that includes a 'preferment' or an element of sourdough to it. I made it as a pizza margherita but I added sausage, red onion and capers.

The crust was absolutely perfect. A little crisp on the bottom with a chewy character. The rim was oh so delicious with lots of different sized bubbles and a very open crumb. The flavor was just faintly sour from the preferment. Bliss in a slice of pizza.

The topping combination was great. Both my wife and I love this combination of flavors because that is how she makes her rigatoni.

The next pizza I made was the first in a series of experiments I am doing to make a good Sicilian style pizza. Sicilian pizza is usually made in square or rectangular pans. The crust usually has some amount of semolina flour, varying from about 25% all the way to 100% depending on who makes it. This was my first attempt. It was a mixed success. The pizza tasted great but the dough was too hard to work. I am going to try a little bit different recipe next time. Here is a photo of the pie as it came out of the oven. You see the blotches of tomato sauce here and there? That is because for this type of pizza you put the cheese on the bottom and splotch piles of sauce here and there. I also put some sausage and slices of roasted garlic here and there.

You're supposed to put a bunch of oil in the bottom of the pan so that the bottom of the crust fries a little bit like this:

The Sicilian pizza was very good and reminded us of the pizza they used to serve at The Airliner in Iowa City. I'm not going to post the recipe for that pizza until I get it perfected.