Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Green Pepper, Onion, Mushroom and Ham Pizza

Green pepper, onion, mushroom and ham pizza
This recipe starts with a New York style pizza dough which produces a very thin, New York style, pizza base which has a slightly charred, crispy bottom yet is tender enough to fold a slice as New Yorkers do.  The recipe includes a note with the "baker's ratio" which allows one to easily increase the number of pizzas one can make, of course the sauce and toppings will need to be increased proportionally.

Makes 1 – 10 to 12-inch pizzas
                                                                               Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes
                                                                               Sauce cook time: 20 minutes
                                                                               Pizza cook time: 8 minutes


authentic New York pizza dough*: 

8 ounces warm (105 ° F) water 
.18 ounces active dry yeast  
.24 ounces honey
12 ounces bread flour, plus additional for work surface 
.6 ounces extra-virgin olive oil 
.18 ounces Kosher or sea salt

note: to make more than one pizza the bakers ratio is: flour=100%, water=67%, honey=2%, yeast=1.5%, salt=1.5%, and olive oil= 5%

Spicy pizza sauce:

14.5 ounces crushed tomatoes or 14.5 ounces commercial tomato sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil\
2 heaping tablespoons dehydrated onions
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper

note: any leftover sauce can be placed in a seal-able container and frozen for your next pizza.


1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and ¼-inch diced
5 small cremini mushrooms, cleaned and caps (stems still attached) sliced into ¼-inch slices
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 slices of ham, roughly torn
1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and 1/4 –inch diced
8 (3 ¼-inch diameter round) slices of provolone cheese
½ cup grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

note: a cup of shredded mozzarella or a combination of shredded or torn mozzarella and provolone can be substituted for the sliced provolone and the other topping amounts can be adjusted to your preferences.


authentic New York pizza dough:

1.  In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the water and honey stir to combine and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.  If the yeast doesn't "proof" (get "foamy") pour it out and start again it is important to have a live yeast mixture.

2.  Meanwhile place the flour and the salt into a sifter and sift it into the medium bowl of a stand mixer.  Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil and the "proofed" yeast mixture.  Turn the mixer, fitted with dough hooks, to low and turn it on.  Continue kneading (mixing) until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball around the dough hooks (scrap the sides of the bowl to move flour into the path of the hooks as needed).

3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (if the dough is really sticky sprinkle with flour until it is just a little tacky) and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky (add flour gradually as needed to reach the slightly tacky state), 3 to 5 minutes. 

4.  Lightly oil a large mixing bowl with about 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil the ball on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap cloth and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  

note: At this point the dough can either be used immediately or it can be placed in a large resealable plastic bag and refrigerated for 24 hours or more to allow the dough to develop more flavour.  Just allow the dough to come to room temperature (about 1 hour) after taking it out the frig.

Spicy pizza sauce:

1.  While the dough is raising, in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring the olive oil to the ripple state, add  the dehydrated onions, the basil, the oregano, the crushed red pepper flakes*, and the granulated garlic  and cook, stirring constantly, until the  herbs are fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2.  Reduce the heat to low and add the crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce, stirring constantly until the tomatoes combine with the herbs and begins to caramelizes, about 3 minutes.  Raise the heat and bring to a simmer.  Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, black pepper, and additional red pepper.

3.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  

note:  if you're not sure of how spicy you like your sauce start with ¼  teaspoon of red pepper flakes and adjust seasoning during cooking.

Constructing and baking the pizzas:

1.  Place an appropriately sized pizza stone on the middle shelf of your oven and preheat the oven to 550° F.

2.  Place the dough ball on a lightly floured work surface and flatten it into a thick disk then,  with your fingertips and palms and  working from the center of the disk out to the edges, press it into a thin disk of dough approximately 10 to 12-inch round and about 1/8 inch thick (if necessary use a rolling pin to achieve the 1/8-inch thickness [don’t worry if the pizza isn’t perfectly round . . . that’s called “rustica” and it’s the way “real” Italian pizza looks in Italy]).  If you're really brave you can try the spin and toss method of forming the pie (this dough is perfect for it) just remember to use your knuckles when spinning and tossing . . . fingertips can cause holes).  Sprinkle flour over the surface of this thin disk (this will become the bottom of the pie when you place the pizza base on the peel in the next instruction).

3.  Distribute some four over the surface of a pizza peel (this will act as “ball bearings”, allowing the pizza to move easily over the surface of the peel and will produce just the right amount of char on the bottom) and transfer the formed pizza base onto the peel insuring that the lightly floured side is on the bottom.  Evenly spread 4 to 6 ounces of the spicy pizza sauce over the pizza base leaving an about ½-inch un-sauced margin around the edge for a crust, now sprinkle ¼-cup of the grated  Parmigiana cheese over the sauce, then evenly arrange the provolone slices around the pie, distribute the sliced mushrooms over the pie, next evenly distribute the diced green bell peppers, followed by the diced onion,  the torn ham and finally sprinkle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the pizza.

4.  Gently shake the peel to insure the pizza moves freely (if it doesn’t gently lift the edges of the pizza and distribute additional flourl until it does), using the peel slide the pizza onto the stone and bake the pizza for about 4 or 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then turn the oven to broil and bake the pizza for another minute or two (watch the pizza closely) until the crust chars slightly.  

5.  Remove the pizza from the oven, slice into 8 wedge shaped slices and serve.

6.  If making more than one pizzas, repeat with the remaining dough and  toppings and cheeses. 

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