Dinner from Italy… in Minneapolis ( It’s a stretch, but I’m trying)

So, I decided to start a blog.   I have been having such a hard time trying to figure out exactly what it should be,  or how it should be written, that I realized… I wasn’t writing anything.  A week had passed and I had the blog set up but no content.  Beyond the ambiguous barrage of a few words initially intended to explain why you were here reading, and why I was in fact writing…  I had done nothing.  What I wanted to do was share my experiences, with life and cooking and write about it.  So, now I’m going to do that.  Not in any specific order, as apparently that  idea stresses me in to a paralyzed state,  where I do absolutely nothing.    And I really do have some really great stories to share.  SO, On with it.

It’s Sunday, November 29th.  I have spent the day with my husband running errands ( one of my favorite pastimes) and cooking…  easily my FAVORITE pastime, hobby, form of inexpensive therapy( actually anyone who cooks, knows the inexpensive part isn’t all that true, but when the result is SO great, who’s counting) Anyway, I’m in the middle of making a giant cauldron of my families very own spaghetti sauce.  It’s actually become my recipe, as I have tweaked it over the past few years…  in lieu of ever really being given the actual recipe I’ve had to go on memory, and largely trial and error….  to finally discover what I consider  to be close to perfection.  Anyway, I’m making a giant batch of it to give  as part of a christmas gift.  So while that’s simmering for the 8th hour, I decided to make my husband’s favorite,  homemade pizza.

Homemade Pizza Dough:

2 cups of  white flour ( you can use any kind you want, just know that with a thicker heavier flour, you may need to add more water)

1 tsp yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp  olive oil ( use your discretion, some like more, some like less but 1 tbsp is safe , again you don’t want the dough too wet)

3/4 cup of warm water ( you want it hot, but not burning, test it on your finger, washed of course and don’t burn yourself)

Mix the dry ingredients together to evenly incorporate them.  add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix  with a heavy spoon ( wooden works well) until a ball forms.

If the dough is  too dry ( flaky and not forming into a ball very well) add water, 1 tsp at a time until a nice moldable  ( not sure about that word) ball does form.  Adversely, if the dough is too wet ( really sticky )add flour, pinches at a time.  Once you have a nice ball formed, knead the dough for about 5 minutes ( this will help it to rise once the dough is resting)

Set dough aside on floured area for 45 minutes to an hour

The dough should about double in size within an hour.

On the floured surface, push the risen dough down to get most air bubbles out of it.  So, now you’re sort of kneading it again.  Shape it into a ball and begin to flatten it to make a pizza pie.  You can work the dough into a circle pushing out from the middle and when you feel ready to use the rolling-pin, roll away.  this is where you can make the crust you choose.  Paper thin crispy, cracker like crust, or a thicker, heartier crust, the thinner you roll the thinner it will be.   I must warn you here, it’s really annoying to roll the dough too thin and then develop holes because of it.  So again, use your discretion.

Once you have the desired thickness, move your pizza to your baking stone, or pizza pan.  I use a pizza pan, some people prefer a stone, it comes down to preference.  You can either move it by picking it up carefully with your hands or a pizza peel works great.  Now, add your sauce ( whatever sort of sauce you like) and then layer your toppings.  Usually you would do cheese, pepperoni, onion, etc… in that order.  Again, this is your pizza.  You are the master designer and creator, have fun with it!

Bake it in the oven at 425 for about 18 minutes. Watch for the cheese to get a nice golden brown, and once again, use your discretion, like I said, it’s your pizza.  I like mine crispy so I opt for more time.  Watch and you decide when it’s done.

Making pizza is  really fun and you can get really creative with it…. and your friends, family, whomever you’re sharing it with,typically  will love  it!   So try it a few times,  a few different ways,  and see which way works best for you.  You’ll find a pan, an oil, a cheese and toppings you will use again and again, I know I did!

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or requests… please leave them.  I’d love to hear from you!

Until later,

Written Well… or well, written!

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