Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Fresh focaccia

Endless possibilities for pizza dough

Do yourself a favor and buy a few pizza doughs and keep them in your freezer.

Easy to defrost - just put the frozen dough in the fridge the night before. Let it defrost completely. It should be nice and soft. Ready to use..... let's make some pizza!!!

Focaccia

My mama would make focaccia on Saturdays for lunch. She would add a boiled potato in the center of the flour and incorporate the potato with the yeast. I'm assuming the yeast loves the starch of the potato, hence allowing the rise of the dough to be really high. 

The dough would be so high, she would cut it diagonally to make sandwiches

Stromboli about to go into the oven

Stromboli

Stromboli is so easy to make. Roll out the pizza dough to a rectangle. Cut it in half. On each of the halves, cover with one layer of sliced pepperoni, one layer of sliced provolone cheese and then top with shredded mozzarella cheese. 

This takes a little practice, but try to fold short ends inward, jelly roll the wide side and tighten the roll until seam side is down under.

Do the same with the other half. Place both Stromboli on cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpad to avoid sticking. Pierce with fork a few places. Brush beaten egg on both Stromboli. Add sesame seeds, or poppy seeds, or whatever you desire.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. You may have leakage from the Stromboli, however, don't fret, just tuck it in and let them cool enough to serve.

*Note: I like to serve it with some marinara sauce for dipping.

Calzone

Calzone

Calzone are pockets of pizza dough that are filled and baked.

Here is my ricotta filling for one pizza dough, you can get two calzone:

1- 15 oz container of ricotta (part skim is fine)

8 oz shredded mozzarella

2 Tbsp grated cheese

Black pepper

Little salt

1/4 lb diced ham (any kind you like)

1 egg, beaten

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

Using the half of pizza dough, spoon enough ricotta filling in center of stretched out dough (about a cup). Carefully fold over like a big tart and seal the edges, first with hands and then with a fork.

Place on cookie sheet with parchment paper on bottom to avoid sticking.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden in color. Brush with some oil. Pierce with fork a few times.

Should take about 15-20 minutes.

 

Homemade pizza dough

If you want to make your own pizza dough it's not difficult, just time consuming. Here is the recipe:

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp sugar

1 envelope yeast

1-1/2 cup warm water

On clean counter, pile the flour, sugar and salt. In measuring cup, add warm water, oil and sprinkle in the yeast. Mix with spoon till dissolved. Let it sit for a minute and sprinkle a pinch of sugar into the yeast mixture and wait for the bubbles to start multiplying. This method is called "proofing" the yeast. 

Slowly pour the liquid in the center of the well you created with the flour mixture. Slowly add the flour into the well until all flour is incorporated and you have made a dough. Keep flour at the side adding as much as you need to work with the dough and having a smooth surface.

Knead the dough by slapping it on the counter and spreading it apart and rolling it a few times. Continue for about 10 minutes. In a bowl that you put a little oil, place the dough into the bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. After an hour, dough should have become double in size.

Punch it down once and remove onto counter. Cut the dough in half. Prepare pizza pan with some olive oil on surface. 

Take the half and stretch all around edges. Place into the pan and stretch to corners with your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for about 40 minutes.

Use your favorite toppings. Use marinara sauce on the whole surface first. You can use sauteed onions, sliced mushrooms, crumbled cooked sausage, pepperoni, and then add shredded mozzarella. You can add fresh basil on top.

Bake in very hot 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for about 5-10 minutes until the pizza is cooked through.

Check to make sure bottom is cooked.

This dough is enough for 2 pizzas.