Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hole in my Bread (thin crust pizza with roasted tomatoes & mushrooms)

Pizza…ain’t it great? Meal sized finger food – what’s not to love? No matter how nice it is to have someone walk up to your door and hand you food – for about a quarter of the price, you can make one of your own in as little time as it would take for someone to make it to your house from Snappy Tomato.

Making a pizza is super-easy, too. Just make some dough, get it thin, throw on some toppings, throw in the oven, wait a few minutes…and voila! Dinner is served!

OK, OK – a couple of caveats. I’m a thin crust kinda guy. I get enough carbs in my diet as is. I don’t need to load up on extra starch at home. With good toppings, why mask the flavor with a bunch of buttery bread? If you want to make good thin crust pizza, you need one of these:
The pan is key.
This little gizmo is a wonderful invention. The crust cooks more quickly and more evenly. If you make your dough right, you don’t have to worry about it falling through the holes.
So, what about the dough? Yes, there are any number of really good, homemade crust recipes out there. But I’ll be honest. We cheat. We don’t make a lot of bread, anyway, so yeast isn’t something that I have lying around the house other than in the bottom of some homebrew bottles. For the sake of simplicity, I just get a Kroger brand pack of dry dough. Yeah, I’m probably wasting 30 cents. Sue me.

The dough’s easy enough. Basically just add water and knead. Check the package for specific directions. The Sweet Partner in Crime is particularly good at taking out her frustrations on that ball of flour and yeast. A tip? Clean your countertop really well before you start, scatter some flour, and knead it right there. Easier than trying to do it in a bowl or in a pan. Yes, you have to take some time to clean, but you have to do something while it’s baking, right?

When the dough is ready, spread it. You can roll it out, spin it, throw it around the kitchen – whatever floats your boat. Just make sure it ends up spread out on your holey pizza pan. Spread a little olive oil across the dough. Then top it.IMG_0698
In the case of this particular pie, we were in a roasting sort of mood. So, before we started making the dough, we preheated the oven to 425. We took some mushrooms and Roma tomatoes and sliced them thickly.

We sprayed a cookie sheet with nonstick, put the tomatoes and mushrooms on it, drizzled olive oil over them, then seasoned them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. We roasted them for about half an hour, which is about the time it took to make and roll out the dough.

We let the roasted veggies cool for a few minutes, then put them on the pie. We added some sliced garlic-stuffed olives, crumbled feta, and basil.

Raise the heat to 475. In goes the pizza. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the crust gets to be about the color above. Take it out, let it sit to cool for a couple of minutes, then slice it.

Now, with this combination of flavors, I might consider cracking open an Italian red – but we went with our standby with just about any kind of pizza…dry sparkling wine. There may be some of you out there who haven’t tried this. I pity you. Champagne (and just about any other dry sparkler) is made to be drunk with fatty foods. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Bubbles cut through the fat on your tongue, and you get all the flavors instead of the coating on your palate.

If you really want to test this theory, get a bucket of KFC and open a bottle of dry sparkling wine. Or potato chips. Or Doritos. Seriously. You’ll love it.

This pizza was no exception to the rule. We had it with a bottle of dry cava, a Spanish sparkling wine. Yum.

Total time…about half an hour.

Oh, and just for the heck of it…meet the beagle:

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