Pizza Variations

Homemade Pizza Is Convenient

Pizza dough is forgiving, so you can prepare the recipe in advance to work around your schedule. To keep the dough from puffing up too much—or overproofing—you can refrigerate it for up to a day or freeze it for up to 3 months. Be sure you wrap the pieces tightly in plastic wrap or a zipper bag, with as little air as possible. For reliable results, thaw the dough out in the fridge; depending on the size, it will take between 8 and 12 hours but will remain stable in the fridge for up to a day.

10 Pizza Toppings

Use the following ingredients, alone or in combination, on top of the Cheese Pizza. But beware the overloaded crust. Any more than 2 cups of total toppings and you run the risk of making the pizza soggy. I also like to keep the extra ingredients to two or three —too many competing flavors muddies the overall taste. And don’t forget the salt and pepper!

1 Lightly cooked sausage, bacon, or other meat
2 Sliced salami, prosciutto, Spanish chorizo, or other cured meat
3 Small amounts of Gorgonzola or other blue cheese or fontina or other semisoft cheese; gratings of Parmesan cheese
4 Small dollops of soft goat cheese or ricotta
5 Minced raw or mashed roasted garlic
6 Minced fresh chile (like jalapeño) or hot red pepper flakes to taste
7 Pitted black olives, especially the oil-cured kind
8 Canned anchovy fillets, with some of their oil
9 Pesto
10 Well-washed and dried tender greens, especially arugula, added after the pizzas come out of the oven

5 Ways to Vary Pizza Dough

Add any of the following ingredients to the dry ingredients at the beginning of Step 1 of Cheese Pizza on the preceding pages.

1 1 teaspoon chopped fresh strong herbs (like rosemary, thyme, or tarragon)
2 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mild herbs (like parsley, basil, or dill)
3 1 teaspoon (or more) minced garlic
4 1½ cups whole wheat flour (in place of 1½ cups of the flour)
5 ½ cup medium-grind cornmeal (in place of ½ cup of the flour)

2 Other Things to Do with Pizza Dough

Focaccia Press the dough into a greased rectangular baking pan, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes. Dimple the surface of the dough with your fingers, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary and 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Bake at 375°F for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden and spongy to the touch.

Calzone Divide the dough in half or into quarters and press or roll each into a large thin circle. Mix together 2 cups ricotta cheese, 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup crumbled cooked Italian sausage in a large bowl. Divide the mixture between the rounds, fold them over, press the edges together with your fingers, then fold them over to seal. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.

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