Monday, September 12, 2011

Friday Dinner: It's a "Goat Hill Pizza" Night!

What are you supposed to do when you have a slightly traumatic yet ultimately successful experience making noodles? I mean seriously, how do you get flour on your back? Well, you get back in the pool and make pizza dough.

Lynn, my culinary confederate, has a favorite combination of dishes: the "Special Combination" pizza, a chef's salad with blue cheese dressing and a side of garlic bread from Goat Hill Pizza, in San Francisco. We can practically smell the pizza at Goat Hill's Potrero Hill store from her back deck, but we decided on a DIY version. Homemade dough, homemade sauce and toppings plus the chef's salad and garlic bread. Have I ever mentioned that Friday night dinners are the once-weekly "Olly-olly oxen free!" of my weeks' meals?
 The dough recipe I used specified that it would make a 14" diameter round pizza. The volume was perfect for a thin-crust pizza on a rimmed baking sheet about 12" x 17". It's also very easy to make and shape - this coming from a dough-a-phobic so you can take that to the bank.

I made a very straightforward tomato sauce with nothing but tomatoes, onion, garlic olive oil, salt and a little pepper. We topped the pizza with sauce, mozzarella, Romano cheese, mushrooms, green pepper, olives, white onion, basil, sweet Italian sausage and salami - but we forgot the garlic (don't you forget it if you make it, okay?). As delicious as it was, we won't forget the garlic the next time. I also forgot to bring the chickpeas for the salad, but you should be more vigilant and make sure you don't forget it, eh?
I went a little crazy with the cornmeal, but it made for a nice picture.
    • Pizza Dough
    • Simple Tomato Sauce
    • Assembling and Cooking the "Special Combination" Pan Pizza

Pizza Dough
The recipe for the dough states that it will make a 14" (round) pizza or 1 lb of dough. For us, it made a great, thin-crust pan pizza in a rimmed baking pan with a rim, about 12" x 17".

  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast (7 grams)
  • 1 cup warm water (110F), divided
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey or sugar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • small handful of course ground cornmeal
  • Stir the yeast into 1/2 cup of the warm water and a bowl and set aside. Combine the salt and the flour in the bowl of a food processor fixed with the dough blade. Pulse a few times.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup warm water, honey (or sugar) and olive oil. Add to the yeast mixture. With the food processor running, slowing add the wet ingredients to the dry through the feed tube or chute. Let the processor run until the dough forms a ball.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft.
  • Transfer to a large bowl brushed with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place (at least 70F) to rise for 1 hour. After an hour, press the dough down (no actual punching necessary) and let it rise again for about 30 minutes.* This is a good time to preheat your oven to 500 and move the rack to the second to the bottom level.
  • Gently press and stretch the dough into a rectangle. You can continue to pull and stretch the dough to be a little larger than the bottom of the baking sheet. I rolled it out (very lightly flouring the top of the dough alternating with hanging one edge of the dough over the side of the counter and pulling gently and then turning the dough 1/4 of a turn and repeating. When the dough is a little larger than the baking sheet, spread a small handful of the course-ground cornmeal on the bottom of the pan. Place the dough on the pan and stretch it a little more to make sure you have a small border around the edge of the pan. 
* So, this is how MY pizza dough rise steps went: the first hour went exactly as described above, except for the fact that it was 1 1/2 hours. Then I transferred the dough (no punching down) to a bowl that has a lid so I could get it to Lynn's house where it then sat, with the lid a slightly open, on the counter for at least an hour. Then I put it in the fridge and took it out about 45 minutes before I shaped and rolled it before assembling the pizza. The pizza crust was great so this is just another lesson, care of moi and courtesy of the resilience of dough.

Simple Tomato Sauce
Makes about a quart and much more than you need for this pizza, but easy to freeze for the next time. If you don't want leftovers, cut the recipe in half. I put the sauce through a food mill (medium disk) after it finished cooking. If you don't have a food mill, I recommend putting the sauce through a medium mesh strainer. Many sauce recipes call for draining the whole, canned tomatoes but if the whole tomatoes are of good quality, the liquid will taste good, too. This isn't a super-thick sauce, as prepared below but for our pizza, this is the consistency I was looking for.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 - 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (I'm fond of Muir Glen Organic)
  • kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy dutch oven on medium high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the onions in the oil. After a couple of minutes, adjust the heat so that onions cook until they are translucent and soft, but do not take on any color. After 5 to 10 minutes and the onions are soft, add the smashed garlic cloves and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the remaining olive oil and the tomatoes. Use a potato masher to break down the tomatoes. Adjust the heat until the mixture is cooking at a fast simmer. Do not cover the pot you want to cook the tomatoes and reduce the liquid. Stir the mixture frequently to keep the sauce from sticking as it reduces, adjusting the heat as necessary. Use the potato masher again to further break down the solids. Season the sauce with salt by pinches until you are satisfied. Remember that as it reduces, the amount of salt you use will intensify.Add the olive oil and stir to combine.
  • Continue to cook and stir until the watery liquid is gone and the mixture resembles a chunky but mostly homogenous sauce. Add a few grinds of pepper on a fine setting or to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool. When it has cooled, put the mixture through a food mill with a medium disk or a medium mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare the pizza but take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you will start. This may be made several days in advance and refrigerated or frozen. Defrost completely and bring to room temperature.
Pizza Toppings and Preparation
Inspired by Goat Hill Pizza's "Special Combination". I'm giving VERY conservative amounts in the ingredients section. We made thin-crust pan pie and I would not want to overload it to the point where you could not pick-up a piece with your hands without the top falling off and the crust not cooking through.

  • Pizza dough in the prepared pan (see recipe for pizza dough)
  • Pizza sauce, 1 1/2 to 2 cups
  • About 2-3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • About 1 1/2 cups Romano cheese, finely grated with a microplane, divided (Note: when you use a micro-plane grater, the results are very airy and fluffy. If you use a regular grater, count on between 1/2 to 3/4's of a cup)
  • Salami - about 12-16 thin slices (our salami was about 1 1/2" in diameter
  • 2 Italian sausage, casings removed, cooked, drained and broken up into pieces
  • 1/2 cup white onion, thinly sliced
  • Sliced mushrooms, 1-2 cups
  • 1/2 - 1 Green bell pepper, 2-3" julienne slices
  • 4-6 green onions sliced crosswise, white and green parts
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • Garlic, small dice. As I mentioned, we forgot to add this but start 3-4 cloves
  • Red pepper flakes (for garnish)
  • About 45 minutes prior to cooking the pizza, preheat the oven to 500F and move a rack down to the the second to the bottom level.
  • Using a ladle or measuring cup (1/2 cup). Spread sauce on the pizza dough in the pan. I spread the sauce out after each ladle full. I opted for a thin layer. Add a layer of Mozzarella (about 1 1/2 cups) and a about 1 cup of the Romano. Add the salami and sausage, diced white onion, the mushrooms, black olives, garlic, julienned green bell pepper, and the sliced green onions. Top with about 1/2 more cup of Mozzarella and the remaining Romano cheese.
  • Put the pizza in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Check the pizza. The topping should be bubbly and the edges of the crust, a deep, golden brown. If it's not ready, cook for 5-10 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces. Pass a small bowl of red pepper flakes for garnish.
Goat Hill-Inspired Chef's Salad and Lynn's Blue Cheese Dressing
For the salad, adjust amounts to your own taste. This is a great opportunity to use the oft-maligned iceberg lettuce. I grew up on iceberg lettuce and while there are many more interesting and tasty salad greens, iceberg works beautifully in this salad and is a fantastic delivery system for the blue cheese dressing. We used a combination of  red oak and iceberg. Don't forget the chickpeas! I love Lynn's blue cheese dressing. Although it has mayonnaise and sour cream, the amounts are small and the genius to this is the red wine vinegar.

Lynn's Blue Cheese Dressing
Will dress a salad serving 4-6 people

  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • red wine vinegar
  • Aged, finely grated cheese to taste like Romano, Asiago or Parmagiana
  • Scant pinch of salt and generous grinds of fresh ground pepper
Squish up the blue cheese and combine with the mayonnaise and sour cream and combine well. Lynn combines it until it's not-quite an homogenous mixture and there are tiny little pieces of blue cheese. Add red wine vinegar, start with one tablespoon and taste. Add a tablespoon or two of the aged, grated cheese and adjust to taste. Adjust red wine as necessary to achieve a creamy/tart taste. If necessary add salt, but you may not need any. Season with fresh ground pepper to taste.

Salad Components
  • Mixed greens
  • Feta Cheese
  • Chopped  tomatoes
  • Thin-sliced red onions
  • Kidney beans and chickpeas
  • Large dice or thin-sliced beats
  • Pepperoncini
Garlic Bread
...aaaand since we haven't had enough carbs, fat and cheese there's garlic bread. Both of us love toasty-er garlic bread with a firm crust rubbed with garlic cloves, dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil but we both have a soft spot for this type. Lynn's description is: a ton of butter, a ton of grated aged cheese, 1 large garlic clove, pureed. Combine and slather on one side of each slice of bread. We wrapped this in foil and baked it for 10 minutes in the oven as it was preheating (at 500F) for the pizza and kept it wrapped and warm on the top of the stove until we ate. After all, what's another ton or so of butter and cheese at this point?


Susan said...

I can't wait to try this pizza dough. I have been on a search for perfect pizza dough and have yet to find it. Your meal sounds terrific.

Ms. Divina Loca said...

Thanks! There are millions of types of pizza doughs out there - and I want to drive a few of them around - but this one was great for my first rectangular pie.