Pizza Party

  

It was everywhere. It even seemed more popular than in Italy. After I moved to USA, every get-together demanded it; at work it was ordered in to keep us going at late night meetings.  I could rattle off Pizza Hut‘s number even in my dreams. I checked out pizzerias all over the town, and grazed on all kinds of combinations and crusts, but after a year or so, the novelty wore off. I had packed few pounds by then, and I booted pizza out of my life.  

After I had kids, pizza barged into my life again. But this time I was ready; I refused to eat cheese laden, pinguid pies, and armed with a baking stone started whipping up my own. I found baking stone indispensable for a perfectly cooked crispy pizza. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get one; I bought mine at Target under ten dollars and have been using it for the last five years. A baking peel is another helper that will make sliding pizza on a hot baking stone a snap. I had trouble finding one in our local shops, and had to turn to amazon.com.   

I always offer pizza buffet style; everyone chooses their own toppings and helps make their own pie. My youngest son’s favorite is spinach pizza and with spinach’s nutritional value, spinach pizza often appears on my menu.  

Pizza dough – makes 4 – 8 – inch pizza crusts  

You will need   

2 cups water  

2 1/2 cup white wheat flour or whole wheat flour  

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour with cake flour if you like thinner crust. 

1 tsp salt  

2 tsp active dry yeast  

1/2 tsp sugar  

4 tbsp olive oil  

Spinach pizza toppings  

1 cup cooked spinach  

1 cup mozzarella cheese – fresh would be perfect, but I am always in a time crunch and end up using frozen shredded.  

crushed red pepper and salt to taste.  

1. Warm one cup of water, and dissolve sugar and yeast in it. Keep aside for 5 minutes; yeast will be bubbly.  

2. If using a food processor, add both the flours and salt in the food processor and pulse couple of times. Slowly add the yeast mixture and remaining water, and turn the processor on till a ball forms. Add more water or flour if necessary.  Add olive oil and pulse till oil is incorporated into the dough.  

If making dough by hand, mix together flour and salt. Stir in yeast mixture and remaining 1 cup of water. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it for 15 minutes or so till the dough is smooth and elastic. Add olive oil and form into a ball.  

3. Grease a large bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, place the dough in it, cover and let the dough rise in a warm place for couple of hours.  

Spinach pizza  

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with baking stone placed on the lowest rack.  Remove the other rack from the oven so that it won’t interfere when you slide pizza on a baking stone.  

2. On a well floured surface roll the pizza dough in a circle about 8 inches diameter. Keep it aside uncovered for 20 minutes.  

3. Dust the pizza peel with cornmeal and place the dough circle on it. Top it with spinach, salt and pepper and cheese, in the same order. If you prefer, drizzle some olive oil.  

4. Slide the pizza from the peel to the baking stone.  

5. Bake for about seven to eight minutes.  

This green recipe goes to  Preeti’s ‘Green Gourmet’  event.  

   

  

Spinach Pizza

Vegetable Pizza  

For the sauce  

1 cup tomato sauce (tomato puree)  

salt and pepper to taste  

½ tsp red chili powder  

½ tsp sugar  

½ tsp garlic powder  

Pinch of garam masala (optional)  

Mix all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and warm for 2-3 minutes.  

Vegetable Toppings  

Be adventurous. You will need about 1 cup of vegetables per pizza. I used black olives, green bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, jalapenos and jarred artichokes. Dice the vegetables.  

For the pizza  

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with baking stone placed on the lowest rack.  Remove the other rack from the oven so that it won’t interfere when you slide pizza on a baking stone.  

2. On a well floured surface roll the pizza dough in a circle about 8 inches diameter. Keep it aside uncovered for twenty minutes.  

3. Dust the pizza peel with cornmeal and place the dough circle on it.  Spread the sauce, vegetables and cheese, in the same order. If you prefer, drizzle some olive oil.  

4. Slide the pizza from the peel to the baking stone.  

5. Bake for about seven to eight minutes.  

   

Vegetarian Pizza

  

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