Monday, February 18, 2013

Homemade Sicilian-Style Pizza

Pizza at home, you too can do it
Making pizza at home is economical. It takes time to make a good dough, but honestly, if you don't have a pizza stone, all is not lost. I've made this basic Sicilian-style pizza dough several times now, and each time has been a soaring success. Homemade pizza is delicious, and this particular recipe produces a crispy, and air-speckled bready dough. Toppings are up to you, so let your mind soar.
Dough, prior to rising
 The recipe I mention above comes from Serious Eats, and is super easy. I use a stand mixer, therefore reducing the rising time, but I'm sure that without a stand mixer and with a good amount of extra time, the dough will also come out just wonderful. 
Dough, having risen
So dump your ingredients into the stand mixer, first starting out with the whisk attachment, and then before you increase the speed to medium high, I recommend changing to the paddle attachment (just so that the dough doesn't get all stuck in the whisk). It goes for about six minutes so that the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, just as the recipe describes. Then it's a matter of distributing the olive oil around your sheet pan, dumping the dough into the pan, giving the dough a quick rub with olive oil, and placing plastic wrap over the top. To have better rising results, place in a warm spot in your kitchen, and let rise for two to three hours. I usually go for the longer three hours... more time, more air bubbles.
Pizza, pre-oven
For toppings, I typically go with the classic tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil on one side, and then maybe (as in this case) the addition of sausage on the other side of the pie. After the pizza comes out of the oven, it gets a good sprinkling of about a cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Everything nice and melty, and left to cool for a couple minutes. When it's time to slice into the pizza, you can hear the crunch of the crust, all the air bubbles having done their work, poofing the bready base of the pie nicely. The crust is chewy and crunchy, wonderfully hearty and serves as a more than capable, sturdy vehicle to deliver tangy tomato sauce, cheeses, and meat from plate to mouth. Undoubtedly, the thick Sicilian crust is the star of the show, and a nice change from the usual delivery pizza that I crave and subsequently feel remorseful and disappointed about an hour later. It's an easy crust to prepare all by yourself, super impressive, and irresistible once having baked up in your oven. Definitely worth a try and it might find itself in your regular rotation of favorites.

A fabulous piece of pizza

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp instant  yeast
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons water, room temperature

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