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falling into tradition :: pesto pizza

By Thursday, August 1, 2013 , , , ,

pizza dough :: hand lettering, 2013
Without planning or plotting or even realizing it, we've fallen into a Monday evening tradition.  I walk in the door, greeted by the cat who flaunts his adorableness.  He summersaults at my feet and stretches his toes wide.  His meow sounding like a copycat of my sing-song "hello".  Lukas is just stepping out from the shower trailing Irish Spring and Head and Shoulders.  I shed work clothes for comfy sweats and then get started on the pizza dough.

Into the milky Pyrex bowl goes water, yeast and sugar and then flour and salt.  The whisk and my hands become sticky messes.  The bowl is covered and set aside to rise.  And then we settle into the couch to watch Falling Skies - recorded from the night before.

My pizza making has gone through various stages.  At first it was somewhat rounded rectangles cooked on a has-seen-better-days cookie sheet.  There was a phase of grilled pizzas cooked on our little gas BBQ.  Recently, this was attempted again on our charcoal grill without success.  Charred and way under cooked dough spelled failure.  Though thankfully, all little pizzas were not lost and those remaining were finished in the oven.

The pizza making jumped another level when we learned it could be cooked in a cast-iron pan.  Thin crispy crust and a pizza that was actually round!  I felt like a pro.  But then we were limited in the size to that of our biggest cast-iron pan.  Though hefty, it wasn't sufficient for left-over generating.  And left-overs is one of the great perks of pizza - next day's lunch.  So began the quest for a bigger pizza.  We considered buying a pizza stone and discovered my mother-in-law had an unused one we could borrow.

The first attempt was a disaster of sticky dough, burnt cheese and hole-y crust.  But the second try, that screamed success.  And so that's how its done now every time.  I skate across the kitchen on semolina flour excessively sprinkled everywhere.  Pesto, ricotta pizza topped with olives and good old fashioned mozzarella allowed to turn to bubble brownness in the hot oven.

So, with our show watched and the dough risen I roll it out, top it and slide it into the oven.  I don't know if I'll ever stop holding my breath for the sliding step.  Our evening ends with hot slices and cold drinks and smiles that yet again we're reminded how yummy it is.

a little bit of :: a recipe
:1: make the dough - recipe above
:2: roll out thin on a floured counter top
:3: top with dollops of fresh pesto {I'm in love with this recipe right now, but the old stand-by - basil, garlic, walnuts, olive oil and salt - works greta too} and fresh whole milk ricotta, enough to cover the pizza when spread around
:4: sprinkle with olives and shredded mozzarella 
:5: slide onto heated pizza stone and bake at 450 for about 15 minutes

a little bit of :: some tips
:1: semolina flour is your friend, use it liberally
:2: I lack a pizza peel.  Instead, after rolling out the dough I transfer it to a cooling rack covered in parchment paper, covered in semolina and I build the pizza there.  This works just fine and dandy.  

Other little bits of my life...


  1. Yum! We like to make pizza too. Those pizza stones make all the difference. We even have one for our outdoor grill! And sometime in early spring I found both a wooden and a metal pizza peel at a thrift store. They make it incredibly, incredibly easy!