I hope y’all are ready for a loooong one… I made two pizzas – entirely from scratch – last night! They both turned out so well that I just had to share them immediately.
I’m calling this the “Date Night Pizza Duo” because these pizzas are sure to impress any boy (at least any boy who’s willing to branch out from your typical pepperoni…) if you’re looking to have a date-night-in (plus it’s kind of how I used them last night – only with his roommates as company – and the boy was (read: seemed) impressed). I find it can be hard to cook for guys when you want to have something decently healthy on the menu. It’s hard to not make pizza sound appealing to any XY-chromosomal human… plus, you get to sneak some healthy stuff in there, if you want. It’s also a fun thing to cook together!
Homemade pizza is my most requested meal by my friends. And that’s totally fine with me… because I love eating it. Who doesn’t love pizza+wine or pizza+beer, on the couch, with some New Girl or HIMYM? That’s right. No one. I also like messing around with pizzas because there are just so many different combos you can do! Most of the time when the roomie and I make them, we just use whatever we have in the fridge/pantry for toppings – and we have yet to be disappointed with the various products of our rummaging capabilities.
I’ll start with the dough, then go onto the individual pizzas:
I make whole wheat, no knead pizza dough [a recipe I adapted from http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15877/jim-lahey039s-pizza-patate-quotmy-breadquot] and it is SUPER easy. I promise! Yields two (medium-sized) pizzas. [The greatest part about this dough is that you can freeze it for later use, or freeze half and only make one pizza. And, *drum roll*, it’s EVEN BETTER after freezing (it makes no sense, I know, but it’s true).]
whole wheat, no-knead pizza dough
- 3 1/2 c flour [I used 2 1/2 c white + 1 c whole wheat. If you use too much whole wheat, the dough won’t rise properly.]
- 2 1/2 tsp yeast [you can get packets of instant or active dry yeast at any grocery store for super cheap]
- 3/4 tsp + a big pinch tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp sugar
- 1 1/3 c water
- olive oil for pan
Grab a big bowl and stir your flour, yeast, salt, and sugar together. Next, add the water and mix [I find that using your hands is the best way to do this]. Don’t mix it too much [it’ll get too springy from the gluten developing]! Mix it just until the dry ingredients are pretty much all incorporated and you have a relatively stiff dough.
Cover and let it rise for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. [I usually always let mine rise longer, simply because I’ll assemble it in the morning and make the pizzas that evening.] When you’re ready to make your pizzas, dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut it in two. Oil your pans/baking sheets/whatever you have on hand with some olive oil and spread the dough onto the pan until you have something that looks like this:
If the dough comes apart, just pinch it back together. Using your fingers, spread a little olive oil all over the dough. Repeat the spreading-on-the-pan, etc. steps with the second half of your dough. Set aside.
prosciutto + arugula pizza
I got the idea for this pizza from my favorite cooking friend/weekly cooking-date, Mal. She’s a much better chef than I, and she gets full credit for this one!
- 1 package prosciutto (you don’t need that much)
- 1/2 block part-skim mozzarella, grated or shaved
- 1 small can tomato sauce (you can get one for something stupid, like ¢69 at WalMart)
- 1 package arugula
- olive oil
- white wine vinegar
- spicy mustard
- lemon juice (fresh lemon preferred, but bottled is a-okay)
- ~1/2 tsp non-fat, plain greek yogurt
- salt + pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 500F. Cover your dough with the tomato sauce, leaving about a one inch margin. Then, put on as much cheese as you want (I don’t usually put a lot of cheese, but load it on there if you’re so inclined!). Lay the prosciutto slices on top of the cheese (we used about 3/4 of the package, and just snacked on the rest…). Throw it in the oven for about 15 minutes. I set my timer for 10 minutes, then checked it to make sure nothing was burning, etc. You can use a spatula to check the underside of the crust – you don’t want it to turn black/charred, but you want it to brown nicely. Then I set my timer in ~3 min increments. If I’ve learned anything in all these experiments, it’s that all ovens are not created equal… so just grab a glass of wine and hang out in the kitchen while they cook! (It doesn’t hurt that it smells divine, as well). Your final product (minus arugula) should look something like this:
Next, time for the arugula salad! I’ve never been very precise when I make my vinaigrettes… so I’m sorry this isn’t very measured. I just use about equal parts olive oil and white wine vinegar, and mix them together with a fork until. Then, squirt in some spicy mustard (I would guess somewhere around 1/2 to 1 tsp, depending on how much you like mustard) and scoop out a little bit of greek yogurt and add that to it, too [the yogurt acts as an agent that allows the vinegar and olive oil to combine]. Squirt in some lemon juice and salt+pepper to taste. Mix it all up, and you’ve got an awesome, go-to vinaigrette!
Toss the vinaigrette with the arugula, and then dump all of it onto the pizza! Look at how pretty it lookssssss:
basil-rosemary pesto + fresh tomatoes + mozzarella
So the boy I made these for last night recommended that we make one with pesto. I had never made pesto before, so I thought ‘hey, why not?! I have a food blog… that gives me some creative license to make stuff up, right? Right.’ And then this pesto was born:
- 1/4 c + a splash olive oil
- ~ 2 cups basil leaves
- ~ 5-6 sprigs rosemary, leaves taken off and stems thrown out
- 4 Tbs pine nuts
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 2-3 squirts lemon juice
- 1/2 – 1 tsp finely grated Pecorino cheese
- salt+pepper, to taste
Get out that handy-dandy food processor – throw in the basil, rosemary, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse until it’s kinda mealy and chopped up. Then pour in your olive oil, lemon juice, and salt+pepper. Blend/pulse until you get this:
If you’re eating it immediately, then stir in the cheese and another splash of olive oil. If you make it ahead of time, just refrigerate it and then right before usage, stir in the cheese and that splash of olive oil.
- the rest of your dough, already pressed into the pan, etc.
- the other half of the mozzarella block, shredded or shaved
- 1 large, fresh tomato, sliced
Your oven should already be preheated (plus you can just throw this pizza in with the other one, if you want to have them both at once – which is what we did!) Go grab your second pan of pressed-out dough and spread some pesto all over that baby, again leaving about a one-inch margin. You should only need about 2-3 Tbs of the pesto (unless you’re like me and think that it tastes AMAZING and want all of it, everywhere… then use more). Cover with cheese, and lastly with your tomato slices. Chunk it in the oven for ~15 minutes (see above for cooking/timing/watching directions) and enjoy the delicious smells and your glass of wine while hanging out in the kitchen!
Your final product:
Eat up, y’all!