Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Yoko's Famous Pizza - Step by Step

Some of you already had the pleasure of eating Yoko's pizza. Simply spoken, this is the real italian pizza! Thin crust, crispy, flavorful, simple! No BBQ-Chicken or Triple-Cheese extravaganza here. This is just a very simple pizza with good quality ingredients the way you would eat it in italy. One of the secrets lies in the dough. To get a nice dough, you'll have to do it yourself, but it's very quick and easy! I can highly encourage everyone to do the dough by themselves. It takes almost no time and the results are astonishing.

for 2 pizzas 14" each:

for the dough:
300 g white flour
200 cc (ml) water (filtered or bottled)
1 pack of yeast (should be about 7 g)
1 teaspoon salt

for the tomato sauce:
1 can tomatoes (i found that it's just as good with canned tomatoes instead of using fresh tomatoes, unless you don't mind cooking the tomato sauce for hours)
pinch of sugar
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
freshly ground salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

for the topping:
mozarella cheese (should be soft when pressing on it)
8 slices very thin cut prosciutto (domestic is fine)
some dandelion leaves, or arugula and fresh basil instead
juice of 1/4 lemon
some drops of olive oil


The tomato sauce:

Put some olive oil into a large skillet and start heating at medium heat. Add the garlic and reduce the heat to low. Sauté the garlic in the oil for at least 10 minutes. That means you'll have to keep the heat quite low in order not to burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes (Peeled if you're using fresh ones. How to peel them? Boil them in water for about 1 minute, that makes it easy to peel off the skin). Add a pinch of sugar and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. If you're using canned tomatoes, sauté for about 10 minutes until most of the juice is gone, then add the oregano. Using fresh tomatoes requires to sauté longer. In that case, the sauce actually really gets good when you cook it over very small heat for several hours. In each case, sauté long enough for most of the juice to absorb. Taste the sauce and add more spices if needed.

The dough:

Make sure you have a big enough, clean working surface to prepare the dough. It makes things a lot easier. Put the flour on the surface, making a little mountain. On top of the mountain, add a little hole and pour in the yeast.
Distribute the salt
around the mountain of flour.

Add bit by bit of the water into the hole on top, mixing in some of the flour with a fork. Only mix in as much flour to fully absorb all the water. When all the water is absorbed, add more. You don't necessarily need to use the whole 200 cc if you don't need it.

This is the fun part! Knead the dough! Do it hard! Really push and pull it, put all your weight on it. You can get rid off all your aggression and frustration from the day!

When you have a smooth, homogeneous dough, split it in half. Put one half away for later (for a second pizza). In theory, you should let the dough sit for about one hour so it can grow! But Yoko's too hungry to wait and it works just fine without waiting! Now it's also time to start preheating your oven to 550 F.

Have some extra flour and a strainer ready. Powder your working surface and your dough a bit so it won't stick in the next step.

Use a rolling pin to make a nice and flat dough as thin as possible. There's many different kinds of rolling pins available. Yoko uses this one from Sur-La-Table.

Those Pizza Screens are amazing! No sticking (rub them a bit with some olive oil and a kitchen paper), and a beautiful crispy dough! We have two 14" screens. They're available at Surfas and I think Sur La Table has them as well.

Carefully place the dough on the screen. Pull it a bit on the edges so the screen is entirely covered by the dough.

Distribute half of the tomato sauce over the dough. Keep half for the second pizza!

Sprinkle half of the mozarella over the tomato sauce. Just crumble the mozarella with your fingers and evenly put it onto the pizza.

Now add the slices of prosciutto on top. You want them to be on top so that can get nice and crispy in the oven. At this point, you can also add a few drops of olive oil over the whole pizza.

Into the middle of the preheated (550 F) oven she goes!

After about 7 minutes the pizza should be ready! Make sure the dough is crispy and the pizza has a nice overall color. If that's not the case yet, give it an extra minute or so. But be careful not to burn it, otherwise it will get really dry.

Tear up some dandelion leaves (or arugula and basil) and press some fresh lemon juice over the herbs and the pizza! This really gives it a beautiful freshness! This idea by the way i got from a cooking DVD by Jamie Oliver.

For the second pizza, Yoko used fresh italian parsley, black olives and anchovies instead of the prosciutto.

We opened this bottle Yoko got from Ben for her birthday. This is the nicest Zinfandel i ever drank and one of the nicest wines i've had in a while. Thank you so much Ben! Amazing!


At 3:08 AM, Anonymous Mizue said...

!!!! my favorite pizza in the whole world!!!

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Dan said...

mine too! you should come over again next time!

At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Mizue said...

I had soooooooo much fun today!! thank you so much Dan teacher!!!!
and i can't wait to cook 2 dishes for John tomorrow!!! :) i'm still super curious about the pumpkin dessert....****


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