Pizza is in pretty regular rotation in my household. It does require some advance planning, but execution is otherwise pretty fool-proof, and it’s also endlessly customizable.
Most often we’ll make a pizza with a basic tomato sauce, some shredded mozzarella and provolone, perhaps topped with mushrooms, onions, whatever else. A basic sauce is easy to make by combining a can of crushed tomatoes with some minced garlic and onion and Italian seasoning. Some other essentials:
-Pizza stone. A normal oven cannot reach the high temperatures required to make pizza just as you would find in a restaurant, but with a stone you can get pretty close. They’re also essential for making bread. We usually just leave ours in the oven at all times; it helps regulate the temperature. Definitely a worthwhile investment. Shifting a pizza onto a 500 degree stone can be a difficult task, so I would advise seeking a nice, wide, rectangular stone without handles.
-Pizza peel. Or other similar device. We actually have always just used a large insulated baking sheet without rims to slide the pizza in and out of the oven. It works fine. You can also use a regular baking sheet turned upside-down.
-Homemade crust. Because god knows what is in store-bought crust.
I was inspired by a recipe for radicchio pizza in The Kind Diet, but decided to de-veganize it with some gruyère. Why would you want to eat a pizza without cheese?
Mr. R. had the idea to include the onion marmalade adapted from the book American Pie instead of plain olive oil. This is also our source for the crust recipe.
It all sounds a little incoherent, but the results were FANTASTIC. The sweetness of the marmalade perfectly balanced the bitterness of the radicchio. And the gruyère is, well, just awesome.
Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough
I’ve tried various dough recipes in the past but this one has been my favorite. Thin, crisp, and incredibly flavorful. It sounds a little bit confusing with the constant resting, chilling, waiting, etc. but it’s pretty easy! And then you’ll have enough for four pizzas — store in your freezer for an easy weeknight meal.
5 cups King Arthur bread flour (you may substitute whole wheat flour up to 1 T/cup)
1 tablespoon honey
3.5 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups plus 1 T room temperature water
If you are using instant yeast, combine all ingredients together with an electric mixture or by hand with a metal spoon until just combined.
If you are using dry active yeast, which is the kind more readily available, it requires water to activate. Mix dry ingredients, create a little “pool” of water, add the yeast and wait about 5 minutes before mixing all together until just combined.
If using an electric mixer: use the dough hook attachment and mix on low speed until all the flour gathers to form a coarse ball. Let rest for five minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom.
The dough should past the windowpane test: Take a small piece and stretch it thin. If the gluten has become flexible enough, you should be able to create a “windowpane” -like membrane, and it will not tear. If it doesn’t, keep kneading.
If mixing by hand: keep one hand/spoon wet with the room-temperature water and use it kind of like a dough hook, working the dough vigorously and rotating the bowl with your other hand. Once all the flour is incorporated into the ball, the dough will strengthen; let it rest for five minutes at this point. Resume kneading for another 5 minutes or so, until the dough passes the windowpane test.
If at any point the dough is too sticky, add flour by the tablespoon. If too dry, add water by the tablespoon.
When you are done mixing the dough, divide into four equal piece. Form each piece into a ball and coat with olive oil. Place inside its own ziplock bag.
Let sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes, then put them in the fridge overnight (or, let sit at room temp for 1 hour, remove from bags, punch down, reshape into a ball, return to bag and refrigerate for 2 hours).
Remove ball of dough from the fridge two hours before you plan to roll them out. Store any you’re not using in the fridge for another day, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Stretch out the ball of dough using your hands or even a rolling pin. Yes, you can toss it in the air!
slice 4 medium-large onions and saute on low-ish heat for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
Add a scant quarter cup sugar and mix together until sugar is dissolved and bubbling.
Continue to saute for another 5-10 minutes, until onions are nice and caramelized, and add a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar. Mix together and continue to saute until vinegar is reduced and syrupy. Allow to cool before using. Use any extra on crackers, toast, etc.
Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it will go, about 500 degrees. It should take about an hour to warm up thoroughly. You can make the marmalade during this time.
Shred one head of radicchio and dress with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Dust pizza peel with a generous amount of cornmeal and place dough on top. Brush with olive oil (you can add garlic and seasoning to the olive oil if you’d like).
Spread marmalade and sprinkle with desired amount of cheese.
Remove pizza from oven and top with shredded radicchio. Return to oven for another 2-3 minutes, until radicchio is wilted.
It will be very hot, so wait a couple minutes for it to cool before eating. Just to warn you, however, this will be the longest 2 minutes of your life.