Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leftover Lovers Pizza

When you're cooking for two, chances are you'll get to the end of the week and have a few leftover items - be it veggies, cheese, or proteins - that won't make it past the weekend. You could just throw them away, but if you're anything like me, you hate to waste! Well luckily I live with a pizza-holic who could eat the stuff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday of the week. So I came up with Leftover Lovers pizza - an almost weekly ritual that helps me use up whatever's in my fridge!

You can start with a store bought crust or a homemade version. My personal favorite is a recipe from Bon Appetit. It's thin, crisp, and absolutely perfect. Here's how it's done ...

In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp sugar with 3/4 cup water and 1.5 tsp active dry yeast. Stir it up, it will look like this:

Let it sit around for about 5 minutes until it looks spongy. Something like this ...

Now stir in 1.5 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 2 1/4 cups flour. Knead it up for about 5 minutes. You'll find it therapeutic ...

Now take the dough out and coat the bowl with a dab of olive oil. Add your dough ball back into the bowl, cover it with a towel, and leave it alone for about 1.5 hours. It should go from this:

To this:

Now you'll want to turn your oven to very hot (500 degrees) and put your pizza stone or pans in the oven. This is key because the hot pan will help crisp up the dough when you put it on. While the pans are warming, stretch your dough out with hand, a rolling pin, sheer will, whatever works! I like to make mine into two long flatbreads, but you can do two traditional circles or even squares. Here's mine:

Now toss that towel back on top of your dough, and let it rest for another 15 minutes while you drink a little pre-pizza beer and get your toppings out of the fridge and chopped up. After your crust rests, take the hot pans carefully out of the oven and put the crust on them. You'll hear them start to crisp up a bit on the bottoms. It's lovely!

Now you're ready to top it off. For these two pizzas I did:

Pizza #1 which was out of this world

1 cup Manchego cheese
About 1/3 link of crumbled chorizo
Around 10 large shrimp chopped up

Pizza #2 which was decent but paled in comparison to its oven-brethren

Smear of olive oil on the crust
About 6 blanched green onions
A couple of slices of shredded Prosciutto
1 cup grated Mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Now bake these in your 500 degree oven for 10 minutes, slice 'em up and enjoy! The beauty of these pizzas is you can really top them with whatever you like. I'll keep you updated on what combinations I successfully come up with in the future!