Friday, July 23, 2010


I made 2 pizzas last night for dinner that were quite tasty! Pizza is a lot of fun because it gives you a basic vehicle (bread) to combine any sauces and ingredients together. I used my pesto sauce for one pizza and a Jamaican jerk sauce that I picked up at a local Asian market for the other.

I usually make the pizza dough a day or two before hand, and the recipe is really simple. It also makes four pizzas, so I usually have a couple of dough balls left over to freeze for the next time I get an itch to make pizza.

Dough Recipe:
4 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
1 package rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cup water
cornmeal for dusting pan

1. Mix yeast packet and 3/4 cup luke warm water in large mixing bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
2. Add flour and salt and mix loosely with a fork. Next, add water and olive oil. Slowly add more water until dough feels sticky, but doesn't stick to your hand (add more flour if dough is too sticky). Mix with dough hook attachment on mixer for 5 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead a couple of times and form into ball.
3. Place back into bowl that has been lightly oiled and cover with a thin rag. Let sit for several hours and punch down a couple of times when dough has doubled in size.
4. Let sit overnight! This part is important.
5. In the morning, punch dough down one last time (don't worry, dough will fill a little dry on top from sitting out all night, but you can add a little water if this really worries you).
6. Separate dough into 4 balls and place any to be frozen into an air tight plastic bag. Dough to be used right away can be wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in refrigerator to rest. (Make sure you put a light coating of olive oil on dough balls before chilling them in fridge or freezer). When you are ready to make your pizza make sure and let dough warm back up and rise a bit on counter before you roll it out (a couple of hours is good).

*If you are using whole wheat flour, you will need an extra packet of yeast in order for the dough to rise enough. I usually add a cup of whole wheat flour and use the rest regular; because honestly you just can't get the fluffiness of pizza dough I love so much if you use all whole wheat.

Pizza Recipes!
After dough has warmed up and is ready to use, roll it out on a lightly floured counter. It will roll out to be really thin, so be patient! Placed rolled out dough onto a round baking sheet that has been oiled and dusted lightly with cornmeal.

Pesto Chicken Jamaican Jerk
3-4 Tbs pesto 2 Tbs Jamaican jerk sauce
2 Tbs butter, softened 3 Tbs butter, softened
2 cups shredded mozzarella 2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced 2 chicken cooked breasts, sliced
sliced pepperoni 1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 purple onion, julienned 1/2 purple onion, julienned
1/2 red pepper, julienned 1 small can pineapple chunks
1 large tomato, sliced 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
a few basil leaves for garnish a few mint leaves for garnish

Spread sauce and butter onto rolled out pizza dough with a spoon. If you are making the jerk, don't be tempted to add more sauce because it looks thin. It is thin for a reason! This stuff is spicy and potent; I promise you don't want any more than 2 tablespoons! You can also add a little tomato paste or pasta sauce to the jerk sauce to tone down the spiciness and make the sauce saucier. The pineapple and water chestnuts really add a refreshing note to the spiciness of the dish.

Next, add about 3/4 of cheese to pizza. Then add toppings and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes until cheese is golden brown and it looks so good you could gobble it up!

Garnish with fresh herbs (basil for pesto pizza and mint for Jamaican jerk pizza). Slice and enjoy!

Pizza dough with sauce!
(pesto on left, jerk on right)

Baked Pizzas. Yum. Yum.

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