In my attempt to fulfill my new year’s resolution of adding healthier dishes into my meal planning (if I plan…), I have tried to incorporate at least one to two “light dinners” per week.
For Christmas, my wonderful husband got me Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook! So, tonight is my first time trying a recipe out of her book (not all of them are on her website).
Deb shares 2 pizza dough recipes in the pages before the pizza recipe, and one of them is exactly what I needed tonight. You see, I was going to make something more elaborate, and then I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients. To my shame, this happens often because I don’t do a thorough job with meal planning, so I don’t pick up everything I need at the grocery store. It’s my flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants spirit coming out. It makes things more exciting, and helps me be more creative, right? wink, wink 🙂
So to avert the disaster of not having dinner and having to go out, I started to flip through her cookbook in hopes that I would find something which requires everything I have, and I did when I turned to page 104 — Rushed Pizza Dough!
Water, check, yeast, check, flour, check, salt, check, olive oil, check!
She lists 2 recipes, and the other one is called Leisurely Pizza Dough :). It’s the same recipe, but it uses different methods, of course, and allows the dough to develop over time to give it a richer flavor. But, I didn’t have time for that.
So, when I flipped the page, I saw her “Everyday Margarita Pizza” recipe, and it’s perfect –light and healthy.
After I read the recipe, I learned that it’s the sauce that makes a good margarita pizza. She said “just as all the good pizza shops do, you should use uncooked sauce–just canned pureed, strained tomatoes that you fix up with some garlic, salt, and pepper flakes.” I had no idea!
Well, I didn’t have exactly what she called for –pureed and strained tomatoes, or whole tomatoes in juices, but I did have a can of Hunt’s diced tomatoes. I added the extra ingredients as she instructed and pulsed everything in my blender, and it smelled amazing.
Here is Deb’s rushed pizza recipe (The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, pg 104)
yield: one 12-ounce dough, making 1 thin 12-inch round or 9-by-13-inch loosely rectangular pizza
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for counter
1 teaspoon table salt
Olive oil, for coating bowl
Turn your oven on to warm (about 200 to 225 degrees) for 5 minutes; then turn it off
-By hand: Pour 1/2 cup warm water into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour, then salt, and mix with a wooden spoon until a rough, craggy mass forms. Turn dough and any loose bits out onto lightly floured counter, and kneed for 5 minutes, or until a smooth, elastic dough forms.
-Coat inside of mixing bowl with olive oil, place dough back in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. *Place in previously warmed oven, and let it sit for 30 minutes, or until doubled. Remove dough from oven (now is a good time to preheat it according to your recipe’s instruction).
*I should note that I did not do this preheat process. I have noticed, since we moved to Hawaii, whenever I make bread or pizza dough, it always rises very well. Perhaps it’s the warm climate here. So, I skipped the process and just let the dough rise naturally, on the counter.
Now, I did not follow everything Deb did for her margarita pizza, so below is strictly what I did:
-Preheat oven to 400
-Grease the 9X13 baking sheet, smooth out the dough into a rectangular shape on the sheet, then spread the “homemade puree,” mentioned above, evenly onto the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to look golden. Pull it out, and add your favorite cheese. I used an Italian blend, and add fresh basil. Put it back in the oven for 7-9 minutes, or until it’s as crispy as you like it.
-To make the bottom of the pizza more crispy, I always slide the whole pizza out directly onto the oven rack for the last 2-3 minutes, so it’s never mushy.