Saturday, January 27, 2007
I began developing my pizza recipe around 1980. A brother's college roommate came to our home for a weekend and promised to make us his special pizza. Unfortunately, he arrived too late to make the pizza, but he still wrote down his recipe for us.
I began to make his crust, and for several years I made it true to his directions. But it was just ok. The sauce was easy, and quite tasty after my adjustments to the spices, but the crust just seemed bland.
In the mid-80's, I made at least 6-8 recipes of my pizza for my soon-to-be-husband's bachelor party, and delivered them individually to his mother's garage where he and his friends were hanging out, drinking beer, and watching not-so-pure videos. Perhaps not a normal thing for a future-wife to do... I'm still not sure WHY I volunteered to do that! But it turned out ok... at least I assume so. The guys ate it, but then a bunch of hungry guys drinking beer will eat most anything, so that's not saying much. The crust did have some issues... it didn't want to bake thoroughly in the middle... but they ate it anyway.
After that, I decided it was time to try to fix the recipe. I spent years making minor modifications... adjusting ingredients, par-baking the crust... even trying entirely different recipes.
I decided the crust needed more salt. Major improvement. Hubby wanted it to be more buttery, like Pizza Hut's. Not healthy, but I did agree to butter the crust edges after the par-baking. Another improvement. Then I decided I loved olive oil. It's good everywhere else, why not in pizza crust? So I substituted it for the cooking oil. Pretty good! If that's good, and we like a buttery flavor, why not put butter in place of the oil? Or at least half of it? Bingo... another improvement. And since there's still some oil-butter blend left over, lets use that on the crust edges too, instead of the pure butter. Hey... we're almost there now.
Ok, now sprinkle the crust with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses before par-baking it. Bingo. THIS is my perfect crust. Great texture, nice flavor, and doesn't overpower the sauce & toppings.
Want to try it yourself? If you do, be sure to let me know how you like it.
1 C flour
1 pkg yeast, dissolved in 1 C warm water
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp melted butter
Add and mix in until approximately the right consistency to knead:
1 to 1 1/2 C more flour
Knead, adding more flour as needed. Set aside to rise until doubled.
Spread evenly on large rectangular or round pizza stone. Sprinkle lightly with grated parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake at 425 degrees for 7 min or until mozzarella cheese is just beginning to brown. Remove from oven, and brush outer inch of crust edge with a half melted butter/half olive oil mixture.
Add pizza sauce (below) & toppings, and bake another 8-12 minutes until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown.
1 can (about 2 cups) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp oregano, finely crushed
1/3 tsp basil, finely crushed
1/2 to 1 tsp dried minced garlic (fresh garlic is much better, but I seldom have it around when I need it!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 T minced white onion
1 finely diced Roma tomato
Mix all together, then simmer while preparing crust. If you want, you can lightly saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil before mixing in the rest of the ingredients. Adjust spices to personal taste.