I like my pizza like I like my job: adventurous, saucy and full of inspiration. 

A pepperoni pizza has  been my computer background for the past four months, providing me daily motivation like a Dr. Phil daily inspirational calendar. The pizza guys in my neighborhood know me by my first name and their number is on my speed dial. I have undoubtedly tried almost every known pizza to NYC land - Roberta's, Artichoke, Motorino, Rubriosa, Otto, etc. and I'm a firm believer that pizza cures all. 

Flatbread, deep dish, stromboli, thin crust, grandma and grandpa, pizza bagels, pizza rolls - it's the most versatile food of all mankind. As they say in Wedding Crashers, "It's like pizza, baby! It's good no matter what."

Although pizza at 2 a.m. on a Saturday tastes like a slice of heaven, there is something truly special about a homemade pizza. Pizza making is an art form - perfecting the crust, balancing the cheeses, selecting a delicious harmony of toppings. True to art form, after time and practice, i have come to master my go-to, non-fail recipe that i am willing to share with you fellow pizza artisans.

I love pizza. Pizza loves me. I am Pizza Queen.  - AZ

 

For the Dough: 

3/4 cups of water

1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast 

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Olive oil 

 

Pizza Toppings

2 cups of arugula lettuce

1 cup of tomato sauce

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 cup of basil leaves, shredded

2 springs of oregano, picked

1 tbsp fig balsamic  

Red pepper flakes 

1 cup of fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced 

2 thick slices of pancetta 

1 red onion 

1 roasted bell pepper, sliced

Pinch of sugar

1 tbsp of butter

Olive oil 

Sea salt and pepper

Instructions: 

Make the dough: In a small bowl combine the yeast, water and three tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl with an electric mixer. When the yeast is dissolved, add in the salt and flour and mix on a medium-low speed. Use your hands to knead the dough into a bowl. Tip: Best to let dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to rise. Portion the dough into two balls for two individual pizza or keep as one.  Working from the middle of the dough outwards, stretch and press the ball into a flattened circle. 

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. 

Prep the ingredients: In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.  Keep the saucepan coated with the seasoned oil and add pancetta. Cook until browned and set aside. Once cooled, dice. Slice the red onion and chop finely. With the same saucepan, add a tablespoon of butter, tablespoon of balsamic , onion and a few pinches of sugar. Cook on medium-high until caramelized and set aside.  

Top the dough: Bush the pizza with the garlic oil and spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the dough. Lay the mozzarella pieces over the sauce and sprinkle the roasted red pepper and caramelized onion over the pizza and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. 

Place pizza on pizza stone or directly on the oven rack and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crust is crisp and cheeses begin to brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and add the torn basil pieces, pancetta and top with arugula. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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