Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Rosie Makes A White Pizza.


As you know, the Hawthornes love their pizzas.
And we have pizza at least once a week.
All from scratch.
After a bit of tinkering,
we have our dough down perfectly.
The sauce is scratch from a can,
except in the heat of the summer,
when I'll make a tomato sauce from the 'maters in my garden.
And the toppings are whatever I happen to have on hand.
As a rule, I eschew any meats,
since I deal with "vegetarians,"  
I do make concessions,
but not when it comes to cheeses.
Because a pizza is not a pizza without cheese.
And I refuse to use soy "cheese."
That is not "cheese."
That is an abomination.
Just NO!

That said, every now and then,
I want a different pizza.
Something ... irregular.
That's when I turn to a white sauce pizza.
Now, don't turn your collective noses up.
Bear with me here.
There's no tomato sauce,
although it does have sliced tomatoes,
but the sauce is cheesy and white and gooey.
And it's good!

But first, let's get started on that dough.
Pizza Dough
1/2 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
sprinkling of sugar

Pour water into medium bowl.
Add yeast.
Sprinkle maybe a tablespoon of sugar over top.
Leave it alone for about 10 minutes.
Enough time for it to "proof."

The yeast must "prove" it's alive
by eating sugar and emitting carbon dioxide and alcohol.
You want the yeast mixture nice and poofy and bubbly.
That means the yeast is working.
Sprinkle a cup of bread flour into the yeast mixture
and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
As a general rule of thumb for bread,
it's one part water to two parts flour.
I only used 1/2 cup water as I'm going for a small relatively pizza.

Fork in the flour and salt.
Then gather up the dough
and knead it on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes.
If it's too sticky, sprinkle in a little flour.

Form the dough into a ball
and place in a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place ...
... until doubled in size.
Those are strands of gluten.
This network structure is what makes the dough
elastic, pliable, and extensible.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface,
knead it a few times,
then place on an oiled pizza pan
and start forming the dough,
pressing outward from the center.
Press and rest.
Don't rush it.
Take your time and let the dough relax and breathe.
While you're pressing and pushing the dough,
start on the white sauce.
When you get the dough pressed out,
place it in a warm place
and let it rise a little bit.

For the white sauce:
I chopped up one scallion, 
one garlic clove,
and some fresh oregano and thyme.
In a small saucepan over medium low heat,
melt one tablespoon of butter with the 
scallion, garlic, and herbs.
Stir about a minute.

Stir in a tablespoon of flour,
and keep stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes.
You want to cook the flour
to get rid of the raw taste.

Slowly stir in one cup of milk.
(I used skim since that's what I have on hand.)

Whisk over medium low heat until mixture has thickened.

Remove from heat
and add in half a yepsen of whole milk mozzarella.

A yepsen, in case you don't know,
is a unit of measurement.
It's two handfuls.
I'm adding in one handful of cheese.
So half a yepsen.

Whisk the cheese in and let it melt.

When the dough has risen a bit,
gently spread on the white sauce.
Be gentle.
You don't want to deflate the dough.

As for the toppings,
that's solely up to you.

I'm starting out with spinach and mushrooms.
I steamed the spinach first, 
then patted it dry before laying the leaves on the pizza dough.
I also sautéed the mushrooms slices in butter and oil first
before placing the slices on the pizza.
There's a reason for this.
Spinach and mushrooms have a lot of moisture in them.
If you just plop them on the pizza dough
and cook the pizza,
all that water will release and create a soggy dough.
So you want to get rid of as much water
as you can before topping the pizza.

Next, I added tomato slices,
sliced black olives,
 sliced green onions,
and sliced multi-colored peppers.

Top with grated mozzarella
and torn provolone cheeses.

And drizzle with a bit of black truffle oil.

Use judiciously.
This is powerful stuff!

Have oven at 500° with a pizza stone in it.
I cooked the pizza in the pan for 7 minutes,
then turned it 180° for 4 minutes.
Then I slid the pizza off the pan 
and onto the hot stone for another 4 minutes.
Out of the oven and onto a wire rack for a few minutes.
Then onto a cutting board and slice.

 Toasty crust!
 You know you want a piece!

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