Arts

Small-Time Cooks

Maria and I waited in line for an hour at the hottest pizzeria on the North Side. The pizza was great, but this wait wasn’t. I felt like I was stuck in line at Disneyland, only this pizza place was no Space Mountain. The cheap beer made a nice ride, though. After we finished, Maria and I decided to try our hand at making a pie, so we set to work.

The hardest things about pizza are the dough and the cheese—not to mention agreeing what to put on it—so we made two pizzas from the same dough and contributed our own toppings. There were a lot of ingredients, but it only took a few minutes to make, and it was a lot cheaper than ordering in.

Pizza

Italian Dough:

1 package active yeast

3 cups white flour

1 cup warm water

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon Italian herbs

Honey Wheat Dough:

1 package active yeast

1 cup white flour

1 cup warm water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups wheat flour

1 Tablespoon honey

Sauce:

1 29-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon Italian herbs

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dry basil

garlic or garlic salt to taste

ground black pepper to taste

tomato paste (optional)

Cheese:

10 ounces grated mozzarella

10 ounces grated parmesan

or

10 ounces grated provolone

10 ounces grated parmesan

For the dough, combine the yeast, 1 cup of warm water, and 1 cup of white flour in a bowl. Stir in the other ingredients (minus the flour), then add in the flour a half cup at a time, mixing well. (You may need to add more wheat flour to the honey wheat dough, depending on what kind you use). Add enough flour so that the dough is barely sticky, and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky at all (meaning you can lightly fold it over and it doesn’t stick together). Begin to flatten out the dough into a circular or rectangular shape, and use a rolling pin or a glass to roll out the dough into a thin layer. (You should be able to divide the dough in half and get two large sized pizzas out of it if you roll it thin enough.) Curl the edges of the dough over to make a crust, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the sauce, combine the ingredients and heat for a few minutes. Add tomato paste to make the sauce thicker, or simply heat longer while the paste is uncovered. Spread the sauce out evenly onto the dough, then combine the cheeses together and sprinkle on the top. Add any toppings you want, but if you add a meat topping, make sure it’s fully cooked before you add it, since baking the pizza won’t cook it much. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dough is hard on the outside.

The electric ovens found in dorms tend to burn the bottoms of pizzas before they are fully cooked. For the best possible results with pizza in a dorm oven, it’s a good idea to invest in either a Silpat mat or a pizza stone. The Silpat mat is a silicone mat that you place on a cookie sheet instead of greasing the sheet. They are a little pricey, but well worth it, since they can be used for pizza, cookies, or anything else usually baked on a cookie sheet. Silpat mats and pizza stones can be found at specialty cooking stores such as Freehling Pot & Pan or Williams-Sonoma.

Without toppings the pizza is lacto-vegetarian. Add veggies on the Italian dough and leave out the cheese for yummy vegan pizza.

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