When I know the kids are coming home for dinner, or even a great party idea, I like to set out a bowl of ingredients both fresh from the market and store bought (mostly organic if you can get it.) and let every one make their own pizza.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and heat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured cutting board roll out one batch of pizza dough into 4 eight(8) inch circles, letting it rest about 3 minutes if it is too elastic to work.
Working quickly remove hot stone from oven and slide dough on to stone. Arrange toppings on dough. Brush edges of dough with extra virgin olive oil. Return stone to oven and bake until edges are golden and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the choice of topping ( the more topping the longer it will take).
TOMATOES: Use this versatile fruit to give inspiration. Try tomato confit( will blog this recipe at a later date) or sliced cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes. sun-dried tomatoes , smoked tomatoes or spicy tomato sauce.
CHEESES:local cheese not only makes delicious pizza, but you can introduce your guests and family to interesting flavours right on their doorstep. Try mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, gruyere,hard cheeses such as pecorino, or cheddar and cream cheeses.
MEATS: Aside from ham and pepperoni, all forms of charcuterie make excellent pizza toppings. Try smoked fish, salami, prosciutto, sausage, smoked turkey and smoked chicken.
EXTRAS:Add even more flavours with capers, lemon zest, chili peppers, hot sauce, anchovies, olives, and condiments such as La Bomba( recipe to follow in future blog , similar to an an anti pasto).
HERBS: Fresh herbs and lettuces add a real zing to even an ordinary pizza, We like arugula, Thai basil, tarragon and lemony sorrel. Add fresh herbs after the pizza comes out of the oven.
MAKES 4 , 6 OUNCE PIZZA BALLS OR 1 LARGE BALL
3 CUPS FLOUR
2 tsp. DRY INSTANT YEAST
1 tsp. KOSHER SALT
1 1/2 CUPS WATER
1 T. EXTRA VIRGIN OIL
1 tsp. HONEY
Combine flour , yeast and salt in a standing mixer bowl.
Add 1 cup of the water oil and honey.
Attach the flat beater and mix on low speed until all is combined.
Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook Gradually add the remaining water, mixing on low speed, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
Turn onto lightly floured surface knead until dough is smooth and elastic , about 3 minutes.
Place in a large greased bowl, turning dough to grease all over. Cover with a clean damp towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour or so.
Dive dough into 4 balls. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking them under the bottom of the ball. Repeat about 4 or 5 times.
On a clean surface, roll each ball under the palm of your hands until smooth and firm.
Cover with a damp towel and let rise until dough has relaxed and started to rise again , 15-20 minutes.
The recipe says that you should be able to fit 4 small pizzas on one stone, but to tell you the truth, my stone only really holds 1 large pizza, and no matter how I placed it I couldn't get even 2 small doughs on it, so I don't know how big of a stone they are using, but I could only fit 1 on it small or large!
( see top of blog for further instructions for finishing and baking the pizza. )