Sunday Special: Margherita Pizza

. It's confession time.  Don't worry, nothing dreadful!  But I have to admit, the last couple weekends my boyfriend and I strayed away from our healthy Sunday dinners and ventured into a new but long-anticipated interest.  But first I have to let you in on a little background about our eating habits.

Okay, so we all know that neither my boyfriend or I cook [at all].  And ever since we graduated college, we've thought of every way imaginable to avoid the kitchen around dinner time: deli's at the grocery store, frozen dinners, eating out, calling ALL near-by delivery spots.  It got so bad, that employees at the grocery store began to recognize us and one time while I was there by myself, the check-out guy said to me "You're here almost every night".  Annnnd that was the end of those trips!  It's sad [and awkward] when the staff starts to notice the frequency of your visits.  Something needed to be done.

And this leads me into our 'long-awaited interest' I was talking about earlier.   We've obviously made too many trips to the grocery store to count and have made good friends at local take-out places but our one big heavy-hitter?  Pizza.  If it's in Omaha and in relative vicinity of our house, you name it, we've tried it!  Pizza has become a staple in our house like...like baked goodies!  You will rarely come across a day in which we don't have some left over pizza in our fridge (we have some in there right now as a matter of fact, from last night!).  My boyfriend has always had a soft spot for pizza but I guess I didn't become an avid eater until we met.  Slowly it began to come up in our "what's for dinner?" conversations and now we just can't seem to get enough it!

As my our interest of cooking has gradually blossomed, we realized that we could actually make our own pizza!  It was like a magnificent light bulb that turned on and the light has been burning in our minds ever since.  So a few weekends ago, we tried our hand at pizza-making, deciding to try several dough recipes and topping variations from week to week.  We started with a dough recipe from a pamphlet I got in the Food Network Magazine, '50 Pizzas.'  Side note, every month, the Food Network Magazine contains a small book of 50-somethings and I of course, have saved every booklet.  Anyway, I figured this would be a good starter because they're THE Food Network and I ♥ them.  Quite simple.  And we had to start somewhere, so we began with the pros recommendations.  Also, pages of 50 pizzas?  Seemed we'd be able to find something that looked yummy.

We finally decided on the very first pizza in the pamphlet, the Margherita Pizza.  For our pizza kick-off, we wanted something classic, easy, and of course, delicious.  Fresh basil, crushed tomatoes, and loads of mozzarella?  Hard to argue.  And what we ended up with?  A thick, fluffy crust, melted gooey cheese, and a wonderful flavoring of spices.  I'll admit, we both agreed that there were a few tweaks we would make the next time around, like adding more mozzarella.  I tried gauging the amount of cheese we needed by looking at the picture [which had dots of melted chunks of mozz] but we felt more cheese would never hurt anything.  And also, the original dough recipe made enough for two 9-inch pies but I decided to keep the dough combined and pressed it out onto a square baking pan.  This resulted in a much thicker crust so naturally, more ingredients are going to be needed to balance out the bread-to-topping ratio (and it's funny how I say naturally, because we both naturally didn't think of this until after).  But all in all, the flavors of the pizza were fantastic, the crust was thick but soft and just pure bready deliciousness.

So here's the FIRST pizza recipe my boyfriend and I alone have tried.  It's very easy, makes A LOT, and homemade pizza is just always better.  It really is.

Margherita Pizza
from The Food Network

3-3/4 c. all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/3 c. warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 package yeast
3 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. crushed tomatoes
Dried oregano
Olive Oil
1 lb. diced mozzarella
Torn basil

  1. Whisk flour and salt together.  Make a well and add warm water, sugar and yeast.  When yeast is foamy, mix in olive oil; knead dough until smooth (about 5 minutes).  
  2. Brush dough with olive oil, cover in a bowl and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour 30 minutes).
  3. Heat oven to 500°F.  Divide dough into two 1-pound balls.  Stretch dough balls into 9-inch rounds.  Top each with 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil; bake 15 minutes or until golden.
  4. Remove crust from oven and sprinkle with a 1/2 pound of diced mozzarella, torn basil and salt.  Bake until cheese melts, then drizzle with olive oil.
Yield: 2 9-inch pies

*My Notes:
  • The recipe above makes the two 9-inch pies, which is the original Food Network recipe.  However, if you want a square pizza, don't separate the dough or the toppings and follow all of the remaining steps.
  • I realize that there are really no measurements for the topping ingredients.  But that's the wonderful thing about pizza, it's all to your own taste!  Have fun with it!

1 comment:

  1. It's so hard to believe you don't "cook" when you "bake" some morsels of pure amazingness!!!

    Pizza is totally a no fail meal--always good stuff! Love it Jess!


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