Friday, March 19, 2010

little (er, big) slices of heaven

This post has been a long time coming... at least according to the 87 un-uploaded photos of tomatoes in various stages of deliciousness still sitting on my camera.  Yes.  That's right.  Its homemade pizza time.  

It is my very new very sincerely held belief that those who claim perfection is unobtainable have never taken the time to power through the Pioneer Woman's pizza crust.  As I can't fight complete and utter exquisiteness, I direct you to Ree for the foundation of what is soon to be your crowning culinary achievement.  Seriously y'all, this recipe (oh, and everything else she touches with a whisk) is about to expand your mind.  

- 1 tsp. Active Dry or Instant Yeast
- 1.5 c. warm (not boiling / not lukewarm) water
- 4 c. flour
- 1 T. Kosher salt
- 1/3 c. olive oil 

Ree lays it all out, so I won't reinvent the wheel here.  If you want a liiiiiiittle somethin' extra, fold some dried rosemary and basil into the dough.  Its, um, SO GOOD.   Also note that this recipe makes 2 pizza crusts. 

Knock, Knock, Knockin' On Summer's Door Pizza Pie**

**This recipe makes enough tomato sauce to sink the Titanic.  Admittedly, I went a little overboard at the sight of non-scrawny 'maters during my first trip back to Central Market post-new-job-offer. They weren't quite heirloom quality, but they were thisclose. If you don't want lots excess sauce (this was enough for the second pizza + a pasta dish + a small tupperware in the freezer for the future), half it!  Additionally, I eyeballed most of these ingredients - hence the vague ingredient list (my cookbook would be the worst cookbook ever).  The photos are a decent guide. 

- 3-4 lbs of tomatoes (I like an assortment - the more color, the better!) - 3 or 4 medium or large tomatoes sliced thinly for the topping... roughly chop the rest for the sauce 
- 2 large white onions
- 2 large shallots
- um, a lot of garlic
- handful of fresh basil
- handful of fresh oregano 
- fresh mozzarella - sliced
- fresh spinach  
- 1 c. shredded cheese - I used a Quattro Formaggi blend (Romano, Pecorino, Parmasean, and Provolone) 
- Kosher salt 
- fresh cracked pepper
- olive oil
- white truffle oil (optional)
- red pepper flakes 

First... chop your onions, shallots and garlic (or be awesome and throw in a couple spoonfuls of the pre-chopped shizz).  In a dutch oven / massive-pot-thing, heat several tablespoons of olive oil.  Caramelize the goodies.  

TOMATO {aka God's Perfect Veggie} Time!  

Roughly chop!  And throw the whole bunch (save for the few to be used for the topping) into the dutch oven, mixing with caramelized onion hodgepodge. Stir on medium-high heat for about five minutes, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, mixing occasionally.  

Roughly chop the basil and oregano.  Throw it on in zee pot! 

Stir in a whole shitton (official term) of red pepper flakes... if you like a little kick in the pants! 

When the ingredients have partially liquefied (and your kitchen smells like the sweet, sweet scent of chubby baby cherubs frolicking), mosey on over to the blender or food processor and let it finish the job for you.  No need to overexert oneself. 


This is where things went a bit caddywhompus in my world.  You see, I had AN IDEA.  An idea to recreate The Immortal Mangia Pizza's spinach and cheese blend.  Brilliant, I exclaimed outloud to the dog, who looked on skeptically silently to myself!  I shall use the blender to finely chop my fresh spinach, and then I shall mix said finely chopped spinach with my Quattro Formaggi!  Thus!  My recreation will come to pass!  

Note: You cannot finely chop spinach in a blender.  At least not an Oster El Cheapo Blender. 

Another Note: You cannot finely chop spinach (at least any decent amount of spinach) in a miniature chopper of unknown brand name.  

Yet Another Note: You're just going to have to chop the effing greens by hand.  And it won't be as finely chopped as it was in your head.  Not nearly as finely chopped.  Its okay - Everything will turn out just fine.  More than just fine, actually.  Keep going... you'll see. 

Mix your chopped (shoddily, by hand) spinach with your shredded cheese. 

Now, take your dough from the fridge.  Half it.  Roll the other half (to save) up into a ball and toss it back in the bowl - wrap tightly with saran wrap - refrigerate for up to three or four more days / freeze. 

On a cookie sheet, lightly misted with olive oil, stretch dough into a rectangle.  This is A Task.  Persevere.  Its good for you. 

Lightly mist the dough with white truffle oil (ohmygahya'll) and sprinkle Kosher salt. 

{In my second and third pizza-making endeavors, I found that popping the crust in by itself whilst the oven preheats to 500 degrees ensures a nice, crisp-but-not-too-much-so crust.  Do with that information what you will.}

Spread the tomato sauce over the top of the dough in a thin layer (don't overdo it - the crust is rather thin - you don't want to weigh it down - sogginess is death).  

Oh, hey! 'Sup, Eight Thousand Tons of Sauce! 

Layer with the spinach and cheese mixture. 

Thinly slice the mozzarella and tomatoes.  Layer over the spinach mixture.  

Pop pizza into an oven, preheated to 500 degrees.  

Have yourself a snack. 

Ponder how often you use the words "pop" and "roughly chop" as verbs whilst cooking.  Ponder the awesomeness of the word "whilst."  Wish that you lived in London so you could say "whilst" hourly without drawing judgmental looks from the dog.  Wonder if the dog's bark would sound more sophisticated if you were to live in London.  Daydream about your plans for the Ninety-Seven Thousand Kilos of leftover sauce cooling on your countertop. 

Do all of this inside of 15 minutes.  Unless you want burnt pizza. 

Transfer to a cutting board.  Slice.  Witness your husband describe dinner with an adjective slightly more enthusiastic than "pretty good."  Consider yourself a culinary ninja.  This good kind of ninja, of course.  Not the mean kind.  The kind that foster puppies in their spare time.  You know, when they aren't out kicking ass. 

Wake up tomorrow and eat cold pizza for breakfast.  Burp.  Sigh.  Smile.  

In other (non-surprising) pizza news, PW's BBQ Chicken Pizza might be my new favorite recipe.  Ever.  

Its not as pretty to look at as my original creation, but ohsweetbabyjesus its good.  

I axed the cilantro and added the dried rosemary and basil to the crust (which sounds like it wouldn't mesh well with the BBQ sauce, but actually added a whole new depth to the flavor) (oh lord - "whole new depth of flavor," aka Its Possible I've Begun Taking Myself Too Seriously).  
Longest. Recipe. Ever.  


  1. Whoa. You knocked the words right out of me.

  2. Your photos of the tomatoes make me really really really wish that I liked tomatoes. That is one gorgeous looking pizza! I may have to try your sauce recipe though - I bet I could handle a little bit, and with the cheese and spinach it would be really good. Now I'm having pizza fantasies over here!!!

  3. Oh! And for your spinach chopping - perhaps a chiffonade will get you those fine results?

  4. Funny you should mention 'whilst' I'm from England, (and sadly, still here and not in Austin) but when I worked in Austin for a year, the lawyers I worked for used to make fun of me for using that word. I now know, that they were obviously jealous.
    Just like I am of your pizzas. I want them! Yummmm!

  5. It's only 9:30 AM and I am sitting here drooling and craving home made pizza now! OM NOM NOM!

  6. This looks amazing. I will be trying!!

  7. I agree about tomatoes being a big slice of heaven, but then, my family grows 400 acres of them! Those pizzas look delish -- I have Ree's cookbook but haven't tried the pizza dough yet. I will definitely be checking that out!

  8. Consider me inspired! Culinarily inspired.

  9. Yum! I am going to have to try this. Also, for spinach chopping, try using a pair or two of kitchen shears. It works!

  10. I'm going to share a secret with you. If you have kitchen shears(you can get KitchenAid scissors at Target for pretty cheap), use them to cut up your spinach or fresh herbs (basil, mostly). Way easier than using a knife. And you can use them to break down a chicken, should the desire to break down and cook a whole chicken ever strike you. (I did that last week to make arroz con pollo and I was amazed at how easy it was.)

  11. OK. You and I do this next time we have a weekend together...baaaaabeeeee spleeeccchhh

  12. Can I just say that I use the word "whilst" ALL THE TIME. I personally stole it from an episode of friends but I am completely in love with it. I get made fun of all the time...but you know, comes with the coolness I suppose. :)

  13. Have you tried her Chocolate Sheet cake yet? It is TO DIE FOR-almost a pound of butter, how can that be wrong? It puts all other chocolate sheet cakes to shame, which is saying something since I am a Texas girl and have sampled many a sheet cake in my past.

  14. Funny, because I just ate the last of what seemed like a fridge full of homemade pizza the other day! We used the Williams & Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook recipe for ours (which btw is a great baking book!)

  15. Ok I'm drooling now looking at these pics, absolutely going to have to try out these recipes!

  16. kate you need to treat yourself to a william-sonoma pizza stone! it will change your life :) makes the rust even yummier and nice and crispy on the bottom. love the blog!

  17. Tasty.. *drooling all over the keyboard*

    Thanks for the advice on the cardigans! I'll take your word for it :)

  18. This looks so amazing, I am officially starving! And I wish I could come cook with you :)

  19. Oh! Maters! There are none to be found here yet, besides the pallid winter imitations of a real tomato. That looks super delish, esp sans cilantro. I have a weird hatred for cilantro.

  20. Those pizzas look AMAZING! I'm definitely putting these on my short list to try.

    On another note, have you tried grilling pizza? My husband saw it on some cooking show last summer and we love it.

  21. I want to leave work right now to go and make this. Albeit long, it looks well worth it! Yum.

  22. Mmmm... I've been dreaming about tomato season. I'm also sortakindamaybe going to plant some heirlooms and see what happens. Probably a painful endeavor, but maybe I'll get lucky!

  23. Yum. I am going to try both recipes - I'm obsessed with homemade pizza. I usually use a pizza stone or cookie sheet left in the oven during the preheat to 500, so when the crust hits the hot surface it starts crisping immediately. Also, pizza on the grill is amazing.

  24. looks oh so very very yummy....i WILL MAKE DOUGH in my mixer...I WILL do this soon...I already told the hub about the recipe, so he's totally on board for it.

  25. F-ing hilarious post. I just made her Pizza crust a few weeks ago and literally 3 days ago printed out the BBQ chicken pizza recipe for creation this weekend. I die.

  26. I have had great success with the PW's pizza crust! I am soo impressed with your sauce, it looks wonderful!


happy little comments!