Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gwenyth Paltrow's Homemade Pizza

My friend Jennifer Hillen sent me this recipe that she had seen on one of my favorite blogs.  It is Gwyneth Paltrow's blog called GOOP.  It is amazing and always a treat to read.  When we saw this one we knew we had to try it as pizza is one of our favorite meals. This was by far one of the most fun cooking experiences I have had in a while....it was uncharted territory and turned out better than I could have imagined! Among six of us we ate three whole pizzas and they were each delicious and tasty in their own way. I think the pictures will do a better job than I can at describing this culinary adventure...beware, it truly makes a mess, but it is completely worth it in the end!!!!

I made the pizza sauce several days in advance because I have found that tomato sauces are best if they have had time to sit and meld all the flavors together!

Pizza Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced (I used a few baby carrots because I had them on hand)
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the carrot and onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened but not ground, about 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices and the salt.  Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 40 minutes.  Carefully puree in a blender until very smooth.  Let it cool before saucing your pizza.  This can be made up to a week ahead.

Pizza Dough
2 1/4 cups warm water (divided)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 packages, or 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon, active dry yeast
About 5 cups of flour plus more for kneading and dusting. I used Italian "00" flour but you can also use bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
    For the dough, whisk together 3/4 cup of the water and the yeast in a large bowl and let stand until the surface has a few little bubbles and is creamy (about 5 minutes).

    Add 1 1/2 cups water, 3 3/4 cups flour, olive oil and salt and stir until smooth. While stirring, gradually add up to another cup of flour until the dough starts to pull itself from the edges of the bowl.  Knead the dough on a generously floured surface until it's elastic and smooth—it will take about 8 minutes of hard work. Dust the surface with flour as you go—you don’t want the dough to stick!  Form the kneaded dough into a ball, dust with flour, and gently place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea-towel. Let it rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. You can let it sit for up to a couple of hours or even overnight in the refrigerator.  Once the dough has risen the fun part begins! To assemble pizzas, break off pieces of the dough and stretch with your fingers until quite thin. 

    You can also roll your dough out using a rolling pin.

    Now top your pizza. I start with pizza sauce. Be sure not to put too much sauce on (this will weigh it down) and don’t go too close to the edge. If you don't have a brick oven in your back yard try the broiler which is what I did. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Arrange an oven rack in the top third of the oven (but not on the top rack) and place the pizza stone on the rack. Let it heat for about 1 hour. If you don't have a pizza stone you can also use a baking sheet.  Turn a large baking sheet upside down and dust the surface with flour. Or you can use a griddle pan which is what I did. Preheat the griddle pan over medium heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. 

     Jiggle the pizza gently on the pan to make sure it is not sticking, and un-stick it if it is, putting a little flour underneath the sticky parts. Slide the pizza onto the heated pizza stone; make sure to start at the stone’s back end so that the entire pizza will fit. Cook the pizza for 3 minutes. If you have a broiler on the top of your oven, turn off the oven and turn on the broiler. Broil the pizza until golden, crisp, and a bit blistery and charred in places, 2 to 4 minutes (watch it carefully to see that it does not burn). If you don’t have a top broiler in your oven, just bake the pizza until the cheese is melted and the crust well browned, about 10 minutes, but go on how it looks, not the time since it varies widely depending on your oven.
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