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February 3, 2010

2 Pizza Tuesday

I have been known to have problems making decisions when it comes to food. I often get stressed when faced with a large restaurant menu and end up with a massive case of food envy after the food arrives. I even seem to have problems picking a pizza for the evening, so last night we decided to split the dough in half and go with two. We went with a white, vegetarian pizza for the first and a prosciutto, salami and arugula pizza for the second. All I can say is, I'm so happy we went with both because they are some of the best we've ever made. It always is key to choose fresh ingredients and to pick ones that compliment each other.

The white pizza was simple, but full of flavor. The only thing I would do differently is add a touch more garlic- but that may be my personal preference.

For the prosciutto, salami and arugula pizza, I wouldn't change much, if anything. I think maybe the addition of salami was a bit over the top and unnecessary, but it was still delicious. Next time I may just stick with prosciutto. Salami can sometimes overpower some of the other flavors.

All of that being said, here are the recipes for exactly what we made. Both were easy, fresh and made me very, very happy.

Below is the dough recipe, but feel free to get a frozen dough from the store and thaw it to make your life easier. I have tried several stores in the area, and so far Balducci's has the best. I am always open for suggestions if you know of more!

1 1/4 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups plain cake flour
2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil for brushing bowl

Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat as high as it goes (usually around 500 degrees). Do this early because just because the preheating is done, does not mean the stone is at temperature. I would allow an hour for the best crust results.

Pour the warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water, stir to dissolve, and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the flours.
In a stand mixer, combine 3 1/2 cups of flour with salt. Attach the flat beater and mix on low 10 seconds. Add yeast mixture and mix on low for about 1 minute. Change out the flat beater for a dough hook. Beat on medium speed until the dough is smooth. Pinch off a piece and if it's too sticky, gradually add some of the remaining flour and mix.

Coat a glass bowl with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball, place in the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place for the dough to rise, about an hour.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your fist. You can leave the dough whole for a large pizza, or split for smaller pizzas. Dust the dough lightly with flour and place onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough (and pick up, stretch and toss if you are feeling skilled) into the shape of your pizza. The thickness of the pizza is personal preference, but if you want a crispier crust, I would stretch it to 1/4 inch or thinner. Top your pizza.

White Pizza:
Ricotta cheese
Shredded Mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves
Sliced, fresh tomato
2-4 cloves of minced garlic
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Spread a thin layer of ricotta over the dough. Top with slices of tomato, basil and the minced garlic. Top with mozzarella. Bake on the stone until bubbly and the crust starts to brown and harden (about 5-8 mins). Top with freshly grated Parmesan and good quality extra virgin olive oil when you remove it from the oven. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Salami, Prosciutto, Arugula Pizza:
Pizza sauce
Sliced salami
Thinly sliced prosciutto
Shredded mozzarella
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Cover the dough with a thin layer of pizza sauce. Top evenly with slice salami and prosciutto. Dab ricotta over parts of the pizza evenly and top with mozzarella. Bake until bubbly and crust is browned. Remove from the oven and top with grated Parmesan. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Top with fresh, clean arugula and drizzle with olive oil.


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