Friday Dinner: Pizza

Friday Night Dinner 9/21/12: Pizza

Last Friday we opened up the circle of regulars and invited a few more.  Unsure exactly how many to expect, I planned a relatively easy feast.  Chicken/Turkey meat balls, Homemade Tomato Sauce (for those two recipes check last weeks blog post),  Pasta  (Gluten free and Regular), a large salad,  Fresh mozzarella- tomato-basil pizza, and Caramelized Onion-Roasted Garlic- Goat Cheese pizza.

Pizza Dough Recipe:

Not wanting to repeat myself, I am not going to add the entire dough recipe again.  I normally use my basic bread recipe as pizza dough.  You can find information on how to make this dough in Friday Night Dinner Turkey Meatballs

The only difference you need to make, is that after the dough rises the second time, instead of punching it down and forming it into a loaf, you will punch it down and divide it into 3 parts.  I made 2 large pizzas and 1 small loaf of bread from this amount of dough.  If you don’t want to make this much food, you can either cut the  dough recipe or simply freeze the dough that you don’t use.  It lasts for quite a while in the freezer-then the next time you want to make pizza you can simply pull the dough out and let it thaw.  It works very well!

  • Caramelized Onion Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese Pizza Recipe:

  • Pizza Dough (look at Friday Dinner Bread for recipe)
  • 2 Head of Garlic Whole
  • 2 Large Sweet or Yellow Onions
  • 6 oz Goat Cheese
  • 1 Cup Plus of Olive Oil
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Slice tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Oregano

The first step to making this pizza is roasting the garlic.  So turn your oven on to around 350F.  Grab your two heads of garlic and just peel the outer layers of the skin off.  Do Not take the bulbs off the head and Do Not peel them completely.  Now just cut the very top of the head off from each bulb.  I usually do one cut on the very top and then go around the edges with a small knife cutting each outer bulb individually.

It should look like this when you are finished.  Now take a small piece of tin foil, place the head in the center, and pull the edges up slightly.

Now pour a TBLS of olive oil over the top of the head and wrap the whole thing up.

Pop that bundle into the oven for roughly 30 min.  You want to watch this pretty closely because the garlic can go from roasted perfection to burnt pretty quickly in the last stages of cooking.  When you smell that beautiful aroma of roasting garlic just make sure to peek in every so often. Pull the bundle open slightly and look at the tops of the garlic.  If it is a toasty golden brown it is probably done.

Poke bulb with a fork.  If the inside of the bulb feels soft pull the whole bundle out of the oven.  close the top back up and let it sit and cool.  You can do this  up to a day ahead if you want to, but watch out for snackers in your refridgerator!

The next thing you want to work on (you can be working on this while the garlic is roasting) is caramelizing the onions.  Cut the very top and the bottom off of your onions.  Peel them and slice them in half.  Now quarter them and thinly slice.

Place the sliced onions into a medium sauce pan.

Pour 1 Cup of Olive Oil over the top of the onions.  Sprinkle roughly a tsp. of Kosher Salt over the top and cover.

Over medium to high heat cook the onions, stirring occasionally at first. When the onions start to brown, make sure to stir them very often so that they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.  Adjust the heat as well to keep the onions from burning.  When the onions look golden brown like this:

Turn the heat off and remove from the burner.  Have a mesh strainer positioned over a bowl ready.

Pour the contents of the pan into the strainer.  Push down slightly on the Onions with the back of a spoon.  You don’t want to smash the onions so don’t push to hard.  Your goal here is to squeeze a little of the the olive oil out of them.

Reserve that beautiful caramelized onion olive oil for later.  We will be using it.  This step can also be done a day ahead.  The next thing you want to work on is the roasted garlic and herb goat cheese.

If you are doing all these steps at once, make sure to take the goat cheese out before you start and let it come to room temp.  In a small bowl place the goat cheese, roasted garlic, finely chopped basil (roughly a TBLS), and finely chopped oregano (roughly a 1/2 TBLS), a Tsp of Kosher Salt, and a few turns from a pepper mill.  With a spoon start smashing the garlic and mixing everything into the goat cheese.

Now that you have the goat cheese mixed, and the caramelized onions ready, you can start building the pizza.  Heat your oven to 425F.  On a large baking tray covered in parchment paper stretch out your pizza dough.

Remember that Olive Oil that we reserved from the Onions?

Spoon a few TBLS onto the dough and spread with the back of the spoon.  Covering the entire surface of the pizza.

Put the pizza in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.  You basically just want to toast or brown the dough. It should look a little like this when it is done:

Sprinkle fresh grated parmesan over the entire pizza.

Pop the pizza back in the oven for a few minutes or until the Parmesan has melted.  Once the parm has melted pull the pizza out of the oven and spread the goat cheese.

Now spread the caramelized onions.

Next add a layer of fresh basil.

Now for the thinly sliced tomatoes.  If I can get them from the garden, I like to use a mixture of red and green tomatoes.  It adds something both to the flavor and to the presentation.

Last layer is a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

Into the oven at 425F for 20-30 minutes.

  • Fresh Mozzarella Tomato Basil Pizza Recipe:

  • Pizza dough
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh Basil
  • Caramelized Onion Oil
  • Grated Parmesan

This is a simple pizza, yet despite its simplicity it has always been one of my favorites.  Basically, you want to stretch out the dough on your baking sheet (the same way I explained above.)  Use some of the caramelized onion olive oil or- if you don’t have that- just plain olive oil.  Spoon the oil onto the dough and spread it evenly.   After the pizza looks nice and golden brown, pull it out of the oven and sprinkle it with grated Parmesan.  Put the pizza back in the oven to melt the cheese.  Pull it out of the oven when the cheese is melted. (basically the same as the pizza described above)

Okay so now this is where it gets a little different.  First layer the basil onto the pizza.  Then lay the tomatoes out, like so:

  Now add a layer of thinly slice fresh mozzarella and finish it off with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

A sprinkle of Kosher salt and a few turns from the pepper mill to finish it off and you are ready to put this pizza in the oven.  Roughly 30 min at 425F, however like most recipes keep an eye and your nose open to tell when it is ready to pull out of the oven.

Unfortunately, my ravenous guests were so eager for a bite that I completely forgot to take any after pictures.  I was a bit worried I had made too much food, but after a wonderful evening I found that I didn’t even have any food to put away.  No leftovers and many happy faces are always telltale signs of a great dinner 🙂

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