Sunday, March 29, 2015

HomePizzaChef

Homemade Pizza Parlor – They'll Beg You To Make Another!

Thin Crust Pizza With Onions & Black Olives

Are you a fan of thin crust pizza? Here’s a recipe that you don’t want to miss! This savory combination of black olives and onions will surely wake up your taste buds!

Serves: 4 to 6

Prep time: 45 minutes

Grilling time: 15 to 20 minutes
Dough

1 envelope active dry yeast
1?2 teaspoon granulated sugar
3?4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
2-1?2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1?2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
1?2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1?2 teaspoon kosher salt
1?4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large red onions, cut crosswise into 1?3-inch slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
1?2 cup Mediterranean black olives, pitted and cut in half
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, about 8 ounces
1–2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. In a medium bowl combine the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Stir once and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 2-1?2 cups of the flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the salt. Stir until the dough holds together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the ball to cover the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 1-1?2 hours.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and oregano, and cook until the garlic is light brown, about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, including the juice. Use the back of a large spoon to crush the tomatoes. Season with the sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until you have 2 cups of sauce, 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly and then purée in a food processor or blender. Allow to cool.

3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

4. Brush the cooking grates clean. Brush the onion slices with oil. Grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the onion is well marked, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Cut each slice in half.

5. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Cut parchment paper into 9-inch squares and lightly oil each sheet of paper on one side. Roll or press the dough flat on the oiled side of the paper into circles about 8 inches in diameter, leaving the dough a little thicker at the edge than in the middle. Then lightly oil the top side of the dough. Lay the dough on the cooking grate, with the paper side facing up. Grab one corner of the paper with tongs and peel it off. Grill over direct medium heat until they are marked on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking. Don’t worry if the crusts bubble; they will deflate when turned over. Transfer the crusts to the back of a baking sheet, with the grilled sides facing up.

6. Spread about 1?2 cup of the sauce across each pizza crust, leaving a 1?2-inch border around the edges. Arrange the onions and olives over the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Transfer the pizzas from the baking sheet to the cooking grate. Grill until the crusts are crisp and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking. Transfer to a cutting board. Garnish with parsley. Cut into wedges.

Serve warm.

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Herb Dough & Balsamic Mushroom Pizza

Posted by Lock On March - 27 - 2015 5 COMMENTS

herbedmushroomToday’s pizza recipe combines one of my favorite pizza ingredients with the aromatic vinegar of Modena, Italy. Balsamic vinegar, a vinegar made from the juice of white Trebbiano grape that is heated and aged in wooden barrels, typically for several years. We’ll accent the flavor of the pizza by using a delightful herb dough for the base.

Making The Pizza Dough:

Herb Pizza Dough Recipe

Ingredients:
* 1 package Active Dry Yeast
* 1 teaspoon Sugar
* 7/8 cup Warm Water — 110 degrees
* 1/4 cup Italian Seasoning
* 2 1/4 cups Flour
* 1 tablespoon Flour
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt
* 1 tablespoon Garlic Olive Oil — as needed
* Oil And Cornmeal For Pan

Pizza Dough Directions:

Stir together the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, chop the herbs. Turn off machine. Add flour and salt.

Turn the machine on and off a couple of times. While the machine is running, add yeast. Process until the dough forms a ball at the side of the bowl. Add garlic olive oil and process for 30 to 40 seconds more.

Transfer dough to a bowl that has been oiled with olive oil. Turn the dough until the entire surface has been coated with the oil. Cover bowl with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm draft free place for 1 hour or until doubled. Roll out on a lightly floured surface and if dough is too elastic, try tossing it from hand to hand to flatten it out. Lightly grease the pizza pan with a little oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place the dough on the pizza pan and trim the edges.

Bake for 10 minutes @ 425 degrees. Remove from oven, lightly brush the crust with a little more oil. Makes enough dough for one 12″ crust.

Pizza Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound fresh white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
or
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked blacked pepper
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 cup shredded fontina cheese, divided
1/3 cup roasted red peppers

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with vegetable cooking spray. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat live oil until it just begins to smoke. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic; cook,stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt and black pepper; cook and stir until liquid has nearly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes; set aside. Spread pesto over reserved pizza crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Top with reserved mushrooms mixture and roasted peppers; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until hot and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Cut in wedges; serve immediately.

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French Bread Pizza Recipe

Posted by Lock On March - 25 - 2015 5 COMMENTS

frenchbread

Spring is here and from time to time you may want to create a quick pizza that’s easy to make and also delicious. Here’s the answer. Using one of my favorite breads, French bread, we’re going to show you how to create a quick and easy pizza that all will love.

Give it a shot!

French Bread Pizza Recipe

Ingredients:

* 1/2 pound sausage, browned & drained
* 1/2 pound sliced pepperoni
* 1 loaf French bread
* 30 ounces jar spaghetti or pizza sauce
* Sliced black olives
* Sliced fresh mushrooms
* 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
* Optional Toppings: Candied bacon, green peppers, onion, ground beef

Directions:

Cut bread in half lengthwise. Place on cookie sheets. Cover bread
with the sauce all the way to the edges. Top with sausage and
pepperoni; then with whatever toppings are desired, ending with
the shredded cheese. Bake the bread pizzas 20 minutes at 350
degrees. Cut into pieces. To freeze, wrap unbaked pizza tightly
in foil. Then freeze. Unwrap and thaw the pizzas before baking.

Once baked cut into manageable slices and serve. Everyone will love this creation at your next outdoor get together.

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Italian Caponata Bruschetta

Posted by Lock On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Italian Caponata Brushetta

Italian Caponata Brushetta

Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation: [brus?ket?a]  ( listen)) is an appetizer from central Italy whose origin dates to at least the 15th century. It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serves: 4 (makes 8 pieces)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Grilling time: 12 to 15 minutes
Caponata

1 medium eggplant, about 12 ounces, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Kosher salt
1 small yellow onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
15 kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Freshly ground pepper

8 slices Italian or other coarse country bread, about 1/2-inch-thick and 4 inches wide
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1. Rub both sides of the eggplant slices thoroughly with salt. Allow them to sit in a colander placed in the sink or over a plate for about 30 minutes to draw out their bitter juices. Rinse the eggplant well and pat dry. Brush both sides of the eggplant and onion slices with the olive oil.

2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

3. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the eggplant and onion slices over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Allow to cool. Coarsely chop the eggplant and onion slices and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the tomato, olives, basil, capers, vinegar, and garlic and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Grill the bread slices over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes, turning once. Divide the goat cheese evenly among the bread slices, spreading it with a knife. Spoon the caponata over the goat cheese, again dividing evenly. Serve at room temperature.

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Arugula And Prosciutto Tortilla Pizzas Recipe

Posted by Lock On March - 21 - 2015 5 COMMENTS

The pizza recipe that I’m going to share with you today is truly a blend of international flavors, you might say.

We’ll be using a few choice ingredients to create a pizza taste that’s really unique and bursting with flavor.

First, let’s take a look at a few of the unique ingredients that we’ll be using to create this wonderful and delightful blend that’s bursting with flavor.

Arugula:
arugula
Arugula is an aromatic salad green that’s used in a variety of elegant dihes.  It is also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, and is popular in many Italian cuisines.

Nutrition
Like most salad greens, Arugula is very low in calories and is high in vitamins A and C. A 1/2 cup serving is two calories.  That’s good news if you’re watching the calorie count but still want to taste the flavor of a unique pizza combination!

History and Lore
In Roman times Arugula was grown for both it’s leaves and the seed. The seed was used for flavoring oils among other things.  Another interesting note is this, Rocket or Arugula seed has been used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac concoctions dating back to the first century, AD. (Cambridge World History of Food). This has been around for a very long time.

Part of a typical Roman meal was to offer a salad of greens, frequently Arugula ( spelled Arugola), romaine, chicory, mallow and lavender and seasoned with a “cheese sauce for lettuce” for all to enjoy.

About Prosciiutto:
Prosciutto

Prosciutto is the Italian word for “ham,” although most consumers outside of Italy associate prosciutto with a specific type of cure for ham. To make prosciutto, ham is salted and then air dried for a period of up to two years. After curing, prosciutto is sliced into paper thin pieces which are usually slightly transparent and faily light. It is typically eaten uncooked, on charcuterie plates, wrapped around fruit and vegetables, or in salads. In some cases, prosciutto may be lightly cooked, as is the case when it is tossed with pasta or in our case as we will use it to provide a distinct flavor for our pizza today.

To make prosciutto, high quality cuts of meat are selected and allowed to drain in a cool place for approximately 24 hours. After resting, the meat is carefully washed and trimmed. Next, the meat is rubbed with sea salt, and spices in some regions of Italy. The salted meat can sit for up to two months, periodically re-rubbed and turned. After salt-curing, the meat is washed to remove the access salt, and hung in a cool breezy place to cure. A brief cure may last only a few months, but traditional prosciutto is cured for up to two years.

Let’s pull together these fantastic ingredients for our pizza.

Arugula And Prosciutto Tortilla Pizzas Recipe

Ingredients:
* 2/3 cup diced prosciutto
* 1 medium red onion — chopped fine
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 bunches arugula, coarse stems discarded, washed well, spun dry, and chopped
* 4 (8 1/2-inch) flour tortillas
* 2/3 cup parmesan cheese — freshly grated

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a medium heavy skillet cook prosciutto and onion in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Remove skillet from heat and stir in arugula and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange flour tortillas on 2 baking sheets and top with arugula mixture and Parmesan.

Bake pizzas on upper and lower racks of oven, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, about 10 minutes.

By this time your family should be lined up in the kitchen ready to offer their services as professional tasters. Enjoy this fantastic pizza.


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Creating A Basic Pizza Crust

Posted by Lock On March - 19 - 2015 2 COMMENTS

Bread Machine Cornmeal Pizza Crust Recipe

Posted by Lock On March - 17 - 2015 2 COMMENTS

bp_pic4a
Bread Machine Cornmeal Pizza Crust Recipe


Ingredients:* 1-cup warm water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt — optional
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour — divided
* 1-cup cornmeal — plus
* 1-tablespoon cornmeal — divided
* 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
* 2 teaspoons active dry yeast


Directions:

Measure carefully, placing all ingredients except 1-tablespoon cornmeal in bread machine pan in order specified by owner’s manual. Program basic dough cycle setting; press start. Remove dough from bread machine pan; let rest 2 to 3 minutes
 

Pat and gently stretch dough into 14- to 15-inch circle. Spray a 14-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1-tablespoon cornmeal.Press dough into pan.Follow topping and baking directions for individual recipes. 1 14-inch crust makes 8 servings.

Thin-Crusted Pizza With Chicken & Kalamata Olives

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 to 6 minutes

kalamata olive
[kahl-uh-MAH-tuh]

An almond-shaped Greek olive (also spelled calamata ) that ranges in length from about 1/2 to 1 inch. Kalamatas are a dark eggplant color and have a flavor that can be rich and fruity. They’re often slit to allow the wine vinegar MARINADE in which they’re soaked to penetrate the flesh. Kalamatas are marketed packed in either olive oil or vinegar.

Dough
* 1 envelope active dry yeast
* 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
* 2/3 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
* 2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the crusts

Toppings
* 3 cups thinly sliced grilled chicken meat
* 3/4 cup sliced, pitted kalamata olives
* 4 cups shredded fontina cheese
* 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. In a medium bowl combine the yeast, sugar, and water. Stir briefly and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour, the salt, pepper, and the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir with your fingers until the dough holds together.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the ball to cover the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

2. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into an 8-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Lightly brush both sides of each round with olive oil and place the rounds on baking sheets.

3. Gently slide the crusts from the baking sheet onto the grill and cook, uncovered, over direct medium heat (350° to 450°F) until grill marks are clearly visible, about 2 minutes. Don’t worry if the crusts bubble; they will deflate when you turn them over. Transfer the crusts to the baking sheets, with the grilled sides facing up.

4. Distribute the chicken, olives, cheese, onion, and parsley evenly among the crusts. Transfer the pizzas again from the baking sheet to the grill and cook, covered, over direct medium heat until the crusts are crisp and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 more minutes.

5. Serve the pizzas warm, cut into wedges.

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Peperonata and Sausage Pizza Recipe

Posted by Lock On March - 11 - 2015 2 COMMENTS

mushroompizza
So exactly what is Peperonata?
[pehp-uh-roh-NAH-tah]
An Italian mixture of sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic cooked in olive oil. It’s served hot as a condiment with meats or cold as an antipasto.

Ingredients:

* Cornmeal for dusting
* 12 ounces Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough or other prepared dough
* 1 link Italian turkey sausage, casing removed

Peperonata
* 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 1 cup slivered onion
* 1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 3/4 cup diced tomato
* 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground pepper to taste
* 1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting.

Coat a 12 1/2-inch pizza pan with cooking spray and dust with cornmeal. Cook sausage in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, turning from time to time, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and cut into 1/4-inchthick slices.

Meanwhile, prepare peperonata: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add tomato and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 13-inch circle.
Transfer to the prepared pan. Turn edges under to make a slight rim. Brush the rim with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.

Enjoy!

Three-Cheese Pizza With Mushrooms and Basil

Posted by Lock On March - 9 - 2015 1 COMMENT

cheese2a

Here in Tennessee it was 75 degrees, then a
few days later…35 degrees and today it’s warm again…

The weather is complicated… my goodness!

Well… today I’ve got a great pizza recipe for you that
combines simplicity with flavor that’s tremendously
boastful… it’s one of my favorites and I’m sure it will
become one of your favorites also… an it’s NOT
complicated at all…

This recipe uses “basil”, one of the most important culinary herbs used in salads, casseroles, sauces and even some liqueurs …

We’ll combine this ingredient with three distinct cheeses that will have your pizza pie bursting with flavor…

Let me introduce you to the….
Three-Cheese Pizza With Mushrooms and Basil

We’ll be using parmesan cheese, skim ricotta cheese and skim mozzarella cheese for those of you who enjoy
the flavor of a lighter cheese blend…

Here’s the recipe

Three-Cheese Pizza With Mushrooms and Basil

Ingredients:

* Cooking spray
* 1 (8-ounce) package pre-sliced mushrooms
* 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
* 1 (10-ounce) Italian cheese-flavored pizza crust
(you can use Boboli or traditional for this one))
* 1 cup chunky vegetable pasta sauce
* 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
* 2 tablespoons thinly-sliced fresh basil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Combine ricotta and Parmesan cheeses.

Place pizza crust on a baking sheet. (you can use the crust recipe found in the HomePizzaChef Crust Tutorial for this one also)…  http://homepizzachef.com/dough.html

Spread pasta sauce over crust, leaving a 1-inch border.

Dollop the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over sauce and top with mushrooms.

Sprinkle with mozzarella…

Bake 12 minutes or until crust is crisp. Sprinkle with basil; cut into wedges.

Serve and watch your family and friends beg you to make another!

Mushroom Turkey And Swiss Cheese Pizza

Posted by Lock On March - 7 - 2015 6 COMMENTS

deepdish

What You’ll Need To Make Mushroom Turkey And Swiss Cheese Pizza Recipe Suggestion – Make your dough the night before you plan to bake your pizza, this will allow plenty of time for the dough to rise and also adds to the flavor of your crust)

Having problems making pizza dough? Take the pizza dough mini course… It’s FREE. You can find it here:
7 Secret Tips For Making Great Pizza Crust At Home

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s The Cheese That Makes Our Mouths Water!

Posted by Lock On March - 5 - 2015 1 COMMENT

cheese_pizza

Let’s face it, one of the favorite ingredients of any pizza is the cheese.  It’s that hot and stringy cheese that separates pizza from all other foods. The moment you pull that slice from the pie and the hot stringy cheese stretches unto your plate, we all get excited about “what’s next”.

Let’s take a moment to look a little closer at this wonderful an essential ingredient of our beloved pie.
Most pizzas are made with mozzarella cheese. Though this may vary from time to time, mozzarella cheese is by far the favorite when constructing a delicious pizza.

What is mozzarella cheese? Where exactly does it come from? How is it made? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

Mozzarella cheese is a sliceable curd cheese originating in Italy. That’s probably not a surprise to you. Traditional mozzarella is made from water buffalo (Ok, before your eyes get big, not the North American buffalo or bison as many people mistakenly think) milk, and its flavor is highly prized. Water buffalo milk is three times more expensive than cow’s milk and is costly to ship, so expect a corresponding high price tag on imported buffalo mozzarella.

These animals are typically only herded in a few select countries, primarily Italy and Bulgaria.  Due to this, most mozzarella as we know it, is now made from cow’s milk. Water buffalo milk is very high in fat and in many cases is not easily digestible in its raw form. As such, it is used exclusively for making mozzarella and not as a beverage.

Mozzarella contains 40 to 45 percent fat, although there are now lower fat, skim versions available as we’ve seen them make their way into the “low fat” pizza market space.

This type of mozzarella cheese is not aged like most cheeses and is actually best when eaten within hours of its making. The process of making mozzarella is called pasta filata, which means the curds are heated in water or whey until they form strings (hence the term “string cheese”) and become elastic in texture. The curds are stretched, kneaded until smooth, and then formed into round balls to make fresh mozzarella cheese.

Different Mozzarella Cheese Types – Fresh Mozzarella Varieties

Mozzarella is not aged and is best when eaten within hours of its making.

Most people are quite familiar with mozzarella cheese. It is the cheese traditionally used on pizzas and to make fried cheese sticks. It’s important to note, there is quite a difference in flavor and texture between fresh mozzarella and processed sliced or shredded mozzarella, and it’s well worth your time to understand the differences.

It is easy to make homemade mozzarella cheese, and it can be used in a variety of recipes, including salads, meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables.

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh mozzarella cheese balls are sold in a brine, whey or water solution which helps them retain hydration and shape. It is smooth, mild, and slightly sweet/sour with a distinct milk flavor. The texture is creamy and much softer than mass-processed mozzarella cheese forms that are familiar to most. True buffalo mozzarella is much superior to any made with cow’s milk and is highly sought throughout the world.

Small balls (typically about one inch in diameter) of fresh mozzarella marinated in plain or herbed olive oil are called boconccini. Smoked mozzarella is known as mozzarella affumicata. Manteca is fresh mozzarella molded around a piece of butter.

Mozzarella rolls can be found with fillings of olives, prosciutto, Parma ham, sun-dried tomatoes, and any variety of herbs. The simplest and most enjoyable way to eat fresh mozzarella is with sliced fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. You’ll see this dish in a variety of forms served in many authentic Italian restaurants.

Fresh mozzarella is in high demand across America. It can typically be found in most common commercial grocery stores and in some Italian markets. It’s a good idea to keep fresh mozzarella in its liquid bath until ready to eat, and eat. This will usually last 2 to 3 days. If you choose to purchase fresh mozzarella you should always check the product dating and buy the freshest cheese that you can find. It’s preferable to purchase cheese made the same day. It’s also important to note, fresh mozzarella becomes bitter and sour with age. Freezing this type of cheese is also not recommended.

Processed Mozzarella Cheese

Contrary to fresh mozzarella, mass-produced mozzarella cheese is dryer, less flavorful, and has a rubbery texture. This bears little resemblance to its fresh counterpart. It’s quite a firm cheese that melts easily, which makes it best used as a binder for sauces, for melted toppings, and in baked dishes like our beloved pizza pies. Processed mozzarella cheese is easily attainable in part skim, low-fat, and non-fat versions. It’s typically packaged in pre-sliced or shredded assortments. It’s a good idea to keep processed mozzarella cheese tightly wrapped. It can usually be used within 2 to 4 weeks, if you want it to retain its full flavor.

The next time you sink your teeth into your favorite pizza pie, remember it’s the cheese that makes our eyes widen and lips smack. “Oh my”, pizza, what a wonderful and delightful treat.

Amazing Whole Wheat Thin Dream Pie

Posted by Lock On March - 2 - 2015 3 COMMENTS

closeup-pizza-slices

The Amazing HPC Whole Wheat Thin Crust Dream Pie

I’ve recently been asked to post the recipe for the HPC Dream Pizza Pie on the blog. This recipe has been around for over 4 years now and is available for FREE download however I thought I would re-post it on the blog as well. If you want the downloadable version simply grab it from the links resources to the right of this post.

If you’ve never tried this pizza give it a try as it’s a favorite for our readers here at HomePizzaChef.

Suggestion – Make your dough the night before you plan to bake your pizza, this will allow plenty of time for the dough to rise and also adds to the flavor of your crust) OK… here we go!

Ingredients:
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 1 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C- No need to boil the water)
* 2 packages of Active Dry Yeast (AYD) – Easily obtained form any grocery store
* 1 small bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 1-teaspoon salt
* 1 ¼ cups of Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
* 1 ¾ cups of Enriched Unbleached Bread Flour
Accessories
1- Roller Pin (Or a rollable surface to flatten the dough)
1- 14” Perforated Pizza Pan (The kind with the holes punched into the bottom of the pan)
2- Large Bowls for Mixing
2- Kitchen towels or equivalent

Making The Pizza Dough
Pour 1-½ cups of warm water in a bowl (Approx 105 –115 degrees)
Empty the 2 packages of Active Dry Yeast into the bowl and stir until fully dissolved. Set to the side for approximately 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients (Whole wheat flour, enriched unbleached bread flour, salt, and the sugar).

Check the yeast mixture to ensure that the yeast has become active. It will appear to have increased in volume.

Slowly began to pour small amounts of the dry ingredients into the yeast and water mixture, stirring as you add the mixture. Continue to add the dry mixture until the mixture becomes solid and somewhat “clumpy”. Once you have added all of the dry ingredients to the yeast and water mixture, add approximately 1-½ teaspoons of olive oil to the mixture and continue to knead by hand. If needed, add a little more water to insure the dough is manageable. The kneading process can take 15 -25 minutes to make sure the dough is well blended.

Once the dough is well blended, cut the dough in half and roll (by hand) into (2) small dough balls. Roll the dough balls around in any leftover flour (plain white) that is available. Finally, with a small amount of olive oil, brush the dough balls lightly to moisten and place in separate bowls that you will cover with a wet kitchen cloth and place in the refrigerator overnight. For best results I suggest at least 8-12 hours… however you can use the dough if needed after 2-3 hours.

Preparing The Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:
1 –15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1- 6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 ½ teaspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of ground oregano (Mediterranean preferred)
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of Basil Leaves (Mediterranean preferred)

Pour the tomato paste and tomato sauce into a bowl. Add all seasonings including the olive oil. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly blended. This should result in a smooth tomato sauce… if more smoothness is desired add just a touch more olive oil. Set aside for 3-5 minutes.

Creating the pizza pie….

Once you’re ready to assemble the pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for approximately 15 minutes. The goal is to raise the temperature of the dough to room temperature…

Grab one of the dough balls and begin to shape the dough… refrigerate the leftover dough ball for future use.

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it is “paper thin”… this can take 15-20 minutes… make the dough as thin as possible without tearing the dough.

Oil your pizza pan with olive oil by placing a fair amount of olive oil on a brush or a kitchen cloth. Spread evenly across the perforated pizza pan. Using a perforated pan will help create the quick baking effect that produces a crispier pizza crust. At this point we’re going to try something a little different. Pre-heat your oven to 300-325 degrees.

Once the oven is hot and BEFORE you dress your pizza… slide your pizza dough that you’ve stretched across your perforated pizza pan into the oven for NO MORE THAN 2 ½ minutes.

Remove the dough from the oven.

Now place your pizza stone in the oven. The dough has now been pre-heated and should be fairly warm. Crank your oven up to 425-450 degrees to make sue it is plenty hot prior to resuming the pizza bake.

Now we’re ready to add our pizza sauce. With a large spoon, spread your pizza sauce evenly across the pizza dough. Make sure the sauce is spread evenly across the entire pie.

Adding your pizza toppings…

OK… now we’re ready for the good stuff… here are the toppings that I use for this pizza…

Ingredients:
½ cup white or red onions (I prefer the red onions for the bold flavor…)
½ cup green pepper all seeds removed
½ cup small mushrooms
½ cup uncooked Italian Sausage – Usually found packaged in a plastic roll at any grocer
10- 15 small round slices of Canadian bacon
10- 15 small round slices of pepperoni
2 cup s finely shredded mozzarella cheese (you may use less or more depending on your taste)
1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese (measure to taste)

A sprinkle of freshly ground pepper

If you have a small automatic chopping machine use it… It’s perfect for this recipe. Place the onions,  peppers and mushrooms into the chopping machine and chop until very fine and small…

You should actually have to remove these ingredients from the chopping cup with a spoon. That’s how fine these ingredients should be… If no automatic machine is used, make sure you chop the onions, peppers and mushrooms into very small and fine portions…

Now evenly spread your cheeses across the warm pizza crust. Once your pizza sauce layer and cheese layer have been added, sprinkle the finely chopped mixture of onions, peppers and mushrooms evenly across the pizza.

Using very small pinches of Italian sausage, strategically place the Italian sausage across your pie. Once completed, add your slices of Canadian bacon and pepperoni evenly across the pizza. For better cooking, try not to overlap the meats. Once this is completed we’ll sprinkle the fresh ground pepper lightly across the entire pie.

We’re ready to slide the pizza back into the HOT oven for 6-8 minutes or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

What’s left? Pull up a chair in the kitchen and anxiously wait for your masterpiece to complete the baking process. Once baked, carefully remove the hot pie and cut with a pizza cutter. WARNING – By this time family members and friend are probably gathering around your kitchen waiting to dig in…

Hide this secret recipe in a safe place so you can refer to it later…
ENJOY!

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Perfect Pesto Pizza Recipe

Posted by Lock On February - 26 - 2015 1 COMMENT

Today’s pizza is an Italian Favorite. It goes to the very heart of great Italian cooking. If you enjoy pesto you’ll love this pizza pie.

“Pesto” the name itself comes from the Latin root “pestle,” which is typically fitting as the sauce, in its simplest form, its made by crushing a few key savory ingredients together. There are two forms of pesto sauce that are commonly used… pesto alla genovese and pesto alla siciliana. Both forms of pesto sauce are from Genoa and Sicily, respectively.

Pesto alla genoese is made with garlic, salt, extra virgin olive oil, Pecorino Sardo cheese, and Genoese basil.  (Note that Genoese basil is just one member of the large basil family.) The recipe for pesto alla siciliana is similar, but with tomatoes and less basil. Most accept the fact that the Genoese recipe for pesto, was the original recipe.

Pesto  sauces are typically made with a veriety of different ingredients and have been part of Italian cuisines since Roman times. In addition to the well known two basic pesto recipes, other variations include red bell peppers,  sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, walnuts, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese. In fact, some pesto sauces are made with arugula instead of basil.

Pesto is a very versatile sauce and can be used as a bruschetta topping, on pasta, on cooked meats, and even in soups. Of course today we’ll be using pesto sauce for our pizza. A lovely way to explore pesto sauces is to buy a few different kinds, and make a platter of pesto bruschetta using each sauce… then decide which sauce suits your fancy for your favorite pizza pie.

By the way, most basil plants grow year after year and will increase in size if they are planted in nourishing soil.

While the herb is delicious to eat fresh from the bush in salads or as a pasta topping, it can also be used delightfully in the form of a pesto sauce as you’ll see today.

HomePizzaChef’s Premier Pesto Pizza

  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) stemmed spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil from oil?packed sun?dried tomatoes or olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Olive Oil (of course…)
  • Your favorite thin pizza crust recipe (see many crust recipes on this site)
  • 1/3 cup sliced drained oil?packed sun?dried tomatoes
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Alternative Pesto Recipe

  • * 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • * 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • * 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • * 3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • * 3 garlic cloves, finely minced

Blend first 4 ingredients in processor to coarse puree. Transfer pesto to small bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Now… To Make The Pizza…

Preheat oven to 500F. Grease 12 inch pizza pan with olive oil. Arrange dough in pan and spread all of pesto over dough.

Sprinkle with sun?dried tomatoes…then your favorite cheeses.

Occasionally I’ll add a sprinkle of Italian sausage for extra taste.

Bake pizza until crust browns and cheese melts.

Enjoy!

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Bacon Cheeseburger Upside-Down Pizza

Posted by Lock On February - 24 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

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Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, quartered, sliced
1 medium bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
6 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chunky pizza sauce
3 Italian plum tomatoes
6 slices Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In large saucepan, brown ground beef with onion and bell pepper; drain. Stir in 6 slices crumbled bacon and pizza sauce. Spoon into ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with tomatoes; top with cheese slices.

 

Topping
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled

In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add milk and oil; mix well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour and salt; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour evenly over cheese slices. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until topping is slightly puffed and deep golden brown.

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