Saturday Night Homemade Pizzas

(Click on pizza#1 to see pizza#2)

Bardeco at the corner of St-Mathieu and Lincoln in Montréal, then Royal Pizza in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona were my weekly, lazy-let’s-order-in night favourites.

I used to order pizza in all the time, but it was too much cheese, too much salt that I woke up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth!!! I also bought pre-packaged pizza crusts from the grocery stores, but they tend to be too soggy!

…Until I discovered homemade pizzas.

Easy, cheap and most delicious!

The great thing about homemade pizza is that you can make the dough, forget about it for a few hours, and knead it again for a short second rise while preparing the toppings. If you plan ahead, you could let the dough rise while you are out and about, relaxing at the movies or splurging on a new pair of Arnold Churgins!

Even better, you get to create your own pizza. Anything you can imagine for tasty homemade pizzas: barbequed red peppers, piccantelli olives, anchovies, and fresh buffalo mozzarella and herbs! Infinite possibilities! You have here two toppings for you to try. For the adventurous palate, the first one combining apples, capicollo, with Serrano peppers is sweet, savoury and spicy; the second one with tomatoes, anchovies and olives is for the conservative palate.

I adapted the recipe for the dough from the Joy of Cooking, added a tiny bit more water and reduced the amount of salt.

Ingredients for 2 pizza crusts:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1½ cup warm water

2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Toppings for Pizza#1:

1 egg yolk

¼ cup mustard

2 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar

100 g capicollo

1 apple (or grapple: grape-flavoured apple)

1 red pepper

1 small red onion

4 Serrano peppers

¼ cup grated parmesan, preferably grana padano, or gruyere

Fresh Italian parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings for Pizza#2:

¼ cup tomato paste

4 slices pancetta

6-8 anchovies

1 tomato

1 yellow pepper

2 tablespoons capers

¼ cup piccantelli olives

Italian herbs

¼ cup grated parmesan, preferably grana padano, or gruyere

Fresh Italian parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water.

2. Let dissolve for 5 mins.

3. Stir in the olive oil with sugar and salt, then the flour.

4. Knead the dough for 10 mins to form a smooth and elastic ball.

5. Place the ball of dough in a bowl, cover and let rise for 2 hrs in a warm location, until doubled in size.

6. Punch and divide the dough into two balls.

7. Lightly knead, wrap in plastic film and let rise again while you prepare the toppings.

8. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

9. Grease or line two pizza pans.

10. Roll the dough using a rolling pin and place on the lined pans.

11. Allow the dough to relax before adding the toppings.

12. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 mins.

13. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

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