9.20.2008

first post: pizza dough two ways (soon to be four)

When I say pizza dough two ways I don't really mean anything groundbreaking. Sadly. Just two pizzas with different toppings, though I would like to try this recipe for cinnamon roll-style pizza (if that makes sense).

Trying lots of pizza permutations is really easy if you make a big batch of dough at once and live off it for several days in a row (just like me!). This also works for pasta dough, which will be the subject of an upcoming post. (But god, so much pizza and pasta in the past few days...I need to watch it.)I was very pleased with the recipe I used for the dough. Will be making it again, as it's super easy, but maybe blended with some whole wheat flour and/or soyflour to up the nutrition. I really like the semolina in the dough--gives a great, just...pizza-y chew to the crust. I upped the proportion of semolina to regular flour in the original recipe, mainly because I bought a pretty big bag of it. (To save space, I won't post my version of the recipe. I just used a full cup of semolina and a bit less white flour...enough to form a workable, not-to-sticky dough. I also didn't feel like prebaking the crust before topping was necessary.)

PIZZA ONE: Spinach and tomato.

Very basic. Even, dare I say, healthy? (And even a bit boring? But only in light of the next pizza, and still quite satisfying).

1. Roll out dough, slather on some store bought sauce, some squished cloves of roasted garlic, and several generous handfuls of washed and drained spinach (yes the spinach will look like it's overwhelming the pizza but we all know how prone greens are to shrinkage--don't worry).
2. Top with maybe 1/4 c. sliced or shredded mozzarella. (If this were a perfect world and imported cheese was not as outrageously expensive in isolated Norway as it is, I'd use fresh mozzarella. But instead I used the domestic brand Tine mozzarella. It's compact, firm, and sort of tasteless, like Kraft mozzarella. But it gets chewy and melty so it serves it's purpose.)
3. Top that with some sliced cherry or plum tomatoes and sliced onions. Bake in 400 degree F (or ~205 C) oven until...it looks ready. You'll know!
4. When you whisk the pizza out, all nice and bubbly and golden, top with chopped parsley, ground black pepper, and grated hard cheese (I've been on a Grana Padano kick, again because of the cost factor. It's cheaper here than Parmigiano-Reggiano. And it tastes good, too!)
5. Eat. If, like me, you're feeling Norwegian...or maybe you are just easily tempted to buy stupid things when you wander grocery store aisles on an empty stomach...try it with Pizza Dressing! For what it's worth, it's pretty indistinguishable from ranch dressing. Normally I would be a little hesitant to embrace something so...trashy. But it's Norway and I need comfort. And it's good on the crust.

But now onto the serious stuff. Pizza two: Roasted beet and feta pizza.

This pizza came out so great. The combination of sweet beets, pungent roasted garlic, and the briny tang of feta was really terrific. It's also a sauce-less pizza, so you don't have too many flavors competing. Just olive oil and a bit of thyme on the crust.

I adapted the recipe (for roasted beet, goat cheese & arugula pizza) from fellow bloggers A Good Appetite. It's pretty likely I wouldn't have modified much if I were in my kitchen at home, but here I made changes based on Norwegian price and availability. Namely, I used the spinach I already had in the fridge instead of arugula, and I opted for feta in place of goat cheese. (You don't want to know how expensive the chevre here is...) I also followed the suggestions A Good Appetite made for if they were to make the recipe again.

My recipe goes as follows:
  • Dough for one pizza (that said, size varies...my dough generally adopts an oblong 12-by-16 inch shape when rolled out thin...and that worked for these ingredients)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Thyme
  • One medium beet (2.5 inches in diameter?), cut in half then in 0.125 inch slices)
  • One medium onion, again cut in half and then in slices
  • 5-ish cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 0.25 cup of slice/shredded mozzarella
  • A stick of feta about 0.75 inch thick and 3 inches long (or equivalent...that's an awfully weird measurement)
  • Two plentiful handfuls of spinach, washed and drained
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place beet, onion and garlic on a baking pan or parchment paper and lightly drizzle with oil. Salt to taste. Roast for maybe 25 minutes or until they're done roasted. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Squeeze the garlic out of its peels and chop roughly.
  2. Meanwhile, roll out dough. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and a generous pinch of thyme.
    Arrange spinach on dough and layer mozzarella over it.
  3. Top pizza with beautiful beet slices and onions and garlic. Crumble and sprinkle feta over all.
  4. Bake until edges of pizza beginning to brown, 20 minutes or so.
The results are pretty fabulous, but I'd make a few changes. First off I wished the cheese taste was more prominent, but I feel like the strong taste of feta would be overpowering, so next time I make it I'll use chevre since it's less...assertive I guess. And I think the taste of arugula would be a nice addition, as the spinach doesn't really add much flavor to the dish. Though the relatively tastelessness of spinach allowed me to add more, boosting the "health" of this pizza, right? I negated the spinach with the use of more pizza dressing for crust dipping. Sure, I can eat ranch dressing with my gourmet pizza. I do what I want!

For my last blob of dough I'll be making a pretty basic pizza with the rest of the sauce and mozzarella, as well as feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and yellow bell pepper. Wish I had basil, though.

Though I think I will pinch off a small bit of the dough to make a dessert pizza. Here's my vision: knead a bit of sugar and cinnamon into the dough and roll out. Smear with a bit of black currant jam, top with brunost (Norwegian sweet brown cheese, known at gjetost stateside), and crown with thin slices of apple. Bake. Will let you know if it turns out.

2 comments:

kat said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the beet pizza with the changes we suggested. i can't wait to try it that way myself

stixntrix said...

Mmm... Homemade pizza is the best.

-Trey