My family and I were somewhat devastated when we learned that “Gramma’s”, one of our favorite Sonoma pizzarias, had suddenly shut down for good. Mostly because they made this amazing vegetarian pizza that was a total saltlick (our word for those foods that have that addicting salt magic). Feta, kalamata olives, capers and artichoke hearts–it had a Greekish quality that I attempted to recreate for dinner tonight.
The new issue of Cook’s Illustrated features pizza, so naturally I was dying to try their hypertested dough recipe, but it calls for a 24-hour refrigeration which I just did not have time for. My go-to dough recipe only calls for a 1-hour rise, but since I had the wrong type of yeast (rapid rise, not regular), I had to create my own recipe, also adding wheat flour to make it more robust.
I did use the Cook’s Illustrated pizza sauce recipe, which interestingly did not require cooking at all! My parents had canned a bunch of tomatoes from our summer garden, which were perfect for this sauce. I couldn’t stop tasting it, to be honest. Delicious from the start.
I made two pizzas tonight: the Gramma’s ripoff: sauce, mozzarella, roasted bell peppers, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, capers, feta cheese, parmesan, salt, and pepper (you can make a really impressive pizza out of stuff from jars, it turns out!!); as well as Pop’s request: pepperoni and yellow bell peppers (with mozzarella, parmesan, salt, and pepper, of course).
I’ll be making pizza again soon, I’m sure–it’s something I make relatively frequently because it’s easy to be creative. I always tell myself to open up a pizza shop because it’s ALWAYS good. Foolproof. Plus I have to try that new CI dough recipe…and I have some fresh mozzarella and goat cheese awaiting my return in my Davis fridge.
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant/rapid rise yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup warm (not hot!) water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (adds great slightly tangy flavor)
- Measure dry ingredients into large bowl. Add water and vinegar and stir with wooden spoon until dough forms. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes or so, then turn out onto floured counter and knead until a smooth ball forms, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
- Put dough in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm area for one hour.
- Divide dough into two equal portions. Stretch and flatten each into a round pizza shape. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper and top as desired. Slide parchment onto hot pizza stone, and bake at 500 degrees on the top rack of the oven for 12 minutes. **If you do not have a pizza stone, simply assemble the pizza on a baking sheet and bake the same: 500 degrees for 12 minutes. Your crust will just be less crispy**
Pizza Sauce (from Cook’s Illustrated, January/February 2011)
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid discarded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds.
(sauce in the making!)