Pizza and stromboli

July 2, 2008

There are few things in this world more delicious than a steaming hot pizza, fresh from the oven and topped with – well, whatever it is you like on your pizza (we prefer pepperoni and mushrooms). Like many families, we have our favorite pizza place, and, while we wouldn’t say that we frequent it, it’s the first place we go when we want a little slice of heaven.

Oftentimes, however, we make our own pizza at home – because it’s fairly easy and fun, especially if you’re cooking with kids. From rolling out the dough to spreading the mozzarella cheese (and usually eating quite a bit of it in the process), our 5- and 2-year-olds happily pull up chairs to the counter to lend a helping hand.

When we create pizza at home, we don’t go for the conventional – there’s no tomato-based pizza sauce to be found in our kitchen. Instead, we usually opt for the following pies smothered with pesto or garlic. We’ve also included a recipe for stromboli.

First, though, you have to make the dough.

Pizza dough

1 packet active yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup warm water

3 cups flour

Combine yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water in a small bowl. Mix well. Allow yeast to proof for approximately 5 minutes.

Pour 2 cups flour into a food processor fitted with a plastic blade. Add yeast mixture, and process for approximately 1 minute or until smooth. Add additional flour 1/3 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. After final 1/3 cup is added, continue processing for approximately 2 minutes (the dough should ball up).

Remove dough from food processor to a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Roll dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the dough with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into desired number of equal-sized pieces (we recommend two pieces to make two 12- to 14-inch pizzas or four pieces for four strombolis). Place on floured surface, re-cover with towel, and let rest for an additional 15 minutes.

Now you’re ready to make your pizza or stromboli.

Pesto pizza

Pesto:

4 to 5 cloves garlic

1 cup roasted pecans

1 cup Italian parsley

2 cups fresh basil

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup olive oil

Salt to taste

Pizza dough

1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese

To make pesto, place garlic and pecans in food processor and process until finely minced. Add parsley, basil and Parmesan cheese. As food processor continues to churn, gradually add olive oil until pesto becomes smooth. Add salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll pizza dough into a large circle (approximately 12 to 14 inches in diameter) until approximately 1/8-inch thick. Leave approximately ½ inch for the crust, and use a spoon to evenly spread approximately 5 to 6 tablespoons of pesto onto the dough. (You should have pesto left over. Refrigerate the remainder, and toss it with some pasta for a quick side dish later in the week.) Spread mozzarella cheese evenly on top of the pesto.

Bake on a pizza stone for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese just starts to bubble and turn brown.

Blanco pizza

Pizza dough

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano

1 head garlic, minced

1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll pizza dough into a large circle (approximately 12 to 14 inches in diameter) until approximately 1/8-inch thick. Leave approximately ½ inch for the crust, and lightly drizzle olive oil over the dough. Spread garlic and oregano evenly over olive oil. Spread mozzarella cheese evenly on top of garlic.

Bake on a pizza stone for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese just starts to bubble and turn brown.

Stromboli

½ tablespoon olive oil

½ large onion, diced

8 -ounce package button mushrooms, sliced

Balsamic vinegar

¾ pound mild Italian sausage, cut into ½-inch chunks

½ head garlic, minced

4 1/2 ounces pepperoni

2 teaspoons Italian spice mix, divided

2 cups muenster cheese, shredded

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Pizza dough, divided into four pieces

Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms for approximately 3 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain and set aside.

In the same pan, cook Italian sausage until no longer pink. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out one of four pieces of dough into a circle (approximately 8 to 10 inches in diameter) until 1/8-inch thick. Place ¼ of onion and mushroom mixture in the center of the dough, then sprinkle with ¼ of the garlic and ¼ of the Italian seasoning. Add ¼ of the Italian sausage and ¼ of the pepperoni, followed by ¼ of each of the cheeses. Fold over to make a half moon shape, pressing down the sides to seal. Starting at one end of the stromboli, crimp the dough along the outer edge until firmly sealed. Cut 4 to 5 slits in the top of the stromboli. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients.

Cook on pizza stone for 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.

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One Response to “Pizza and stromboli”

  1. Al said

    Why don’t you two open a restaurant? I mean, Mr. Stamm has missed his calling. I’m sure the insurance world will miss him, but damn, man can cook. Seriously find some backers and open a restaurant.

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