While back in NY for the Fall I always try to expand my horizons and take as many new cooking classes as possible. I have wanted to take a pizza making class for some time now. I signed up at ICE for their Best Home-Made Pizza Class . Class was taught by Greer Nuttall and she was an excellent teacher, well versed in the subject, interesting and very patient. Working with dough is always an adventure, but somehow when you’re doing it with other people in a fun atmosphere it is a tad less intimidating. Dough can be very intimidating to work with, whether it be challah, pie or pizza. You definitley get a feel for it after a while and I highly recommend giving it a go . I will admit that it is a whole lot easier to just go and buy the pizza dough, and it is so readily available . You can walk into your favorite pizza place and they will sell you the dough, and you can cut it into smaller pieces and freeze what you don’t use. Making dough can take several hours just to rise. So if you’re in a rush, and who’s not these days? just buy the dough and make your own pizza. I’ll never tell. Invest in a Pizza stone and some parchment paper.
We made a thin pizza crust and a thick pizza crust. I prefer the thin, but I’ve never met a pizza I didn’t like. We made so many pizzas between all of us, I couldn’t believe how much pizza we were eating for lunch!!!! It was delicious.
These were a few of my favorite toppings, I am not going to get into the making of dough on this blog. If you are really interested in it, you can take a class or just try your hand at it at home. I am not that proficient in it myself, and not ready to teach that particular skill.
These recipes are from my class and originally from Nick Malgieri’s Baking Classes. I must also say that practice makes perfect so I better start practicing my pizza making skills.
Pancetta and Cheese Pizza Topped with Rucola and Tomato Salad:
1 bunch rucola ( or arugula) rucola is a bit more tender
1 pint grape tomatoes ( sliced in 1/2)
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon garlic grated with the microplane ( you must get one if you don’t have already)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 thin pizza crusts
1/2 lb. pancetta ( buy the diced kind) so easy to use ( you’ll need 2 packages )
1 lb. fresh mozzarella , coarsely grated or diced
1/2 cup Pamigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Half an hour before you intend to bake the pizzas, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. I use a pizza stone in my house, but you can just put on a piece of parchment paper.
For the salad, combine the rucola and halved tomatoes in a bowl and refrigerate. Whisk the salad dressing ingredients and set aside until needed.
Quickly cook the pancetta to render some of the fat and with a slotted spoon lay on some paper towels to drain.
Scatter the cheeses on the crust and top with pancetta. Grind pepper all over the pizza and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake the pizzas for about 30 minutes, checking the progress by lifting the crust with a spatula to check on how the bottom is coloring up. After about 10 minutes , switch the pizzas on the racks so each will have the benefit of both top and bottom heat.
Bake the pizzas until the tops are sizzling and the bottoms are dark brown.
Remove from the oven , slide pizzas to cutting boards and use a pizza wheel to cut into wedges. Toss the salad with the dressing and scatter it on the pizza, or serve alongside. Enjoy!
This pizza was created in the 1880’s by Raffaele Esposito in honor of Queen Margherita of Italy, the colors of the pizza reflect those of the Italian Flag.
Two thin pizza crusts
2 – 3 cups chopped, well drained canned tomatoes
Salt and Pepper ( Sea Salt is best on Pizza , won’t make dough soggy)
2/3 cup finely diced or grated fresh mozzarella. Drizzle with 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
Half an hour before you intend to bake the pizzas, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven ( as before) and preheat oven to 450 degrees
Evenly scatter the tomatoes on the crusts to within 1 1/2 inch of the edge of the pizza. Salt and lightly pepper and scatter with the cheese . Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake the pizzas for about 30 minutes, checking on it’s progress as I said in the Rucola Pizza.
After the pizzas are baked, cut them and sprinkle each with 1/2 cup gently torn leaves of fresh basil. Do not chop the basil with a knife because it will turn brown.
Pizza Bianca ( all cheese pizza)
2 thin pizza crusts
scatter 1 cup ricotta on each crust and spread without covering completely. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup each grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh mozzarella. Drizzle each pizza with a tablespoon of oil and if you like 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola. Bake as above.
*if you like spicy, you can put some red pepper flakes in a little oil prior to scattering on pizza.