Sunday, May 15, 2016

PIZZA CALABRESE

Calabria is in the most southern region of Italy, forming the "toe" of the peninsula. They are known for their spicy Calabrese salami. This recipe is for 4 smaller individual pizzas. You can divide the dough in half to just make two larger pizzas, which is easier to manage. I have a system where I bake two at a time, and I definitely use a timer. Make your dough the morning of the day (about 30 to 36 hours) before you want to serve the pizzas. The slow rise in the refrigerator gives the dough a more complex flavor and crispier crust.




Pizza Dough
¾ cup (175 ml) lukewarm water
1 t (5 ml) active dry yeast
2 cups (500 ml) unbleached bread flour
1 t (5 ml) fine sea salt

Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. You can also do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle in yeast and let proof for 10 minutes, until the yeast is creamy and foaming.

With the mixer running, slowly add the flour alternating with the rest of the water and salt. Continue to mix until a ball forms, about 10 minutes

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is soft and not sticky. 
Divide dough into 4 equal balls and place on a lightly oil tray or small baking sheet. 
Lightly oil the tops of each ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
You can also place each ball into a zip-lock plastic bag.

Remove from refrigerator and let dough come to room temperature before shaping.
Form each ball of dough to an 8-inch (20-cm) round. 

Place on 4 lightly oiled pizza pans.

Simple Pizza Sauce
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
1 (24 oz/680 ml) bottle strained tomatoes 
1 t (5 ml) fresh or freeze-dried oregano
1 t (5 ml) chopped fresh or freeze-dried basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the garlic for one minute.
Pour in the strained tomatoes and add the oregano and basil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

Pizza Assembly
Simple Pizza Sauce
¼ cup (60 ml) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lb (500 g) fresh mozzarella, broken into pieces
20 thin slices spicy Calabrese salami
Fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C) degrees.
Preheat a pizza stone in middle rack of oven for 15 minutes. 
Alternatively, you can just bake pizzas on pizza pans.

Spread a ladle of tomato sauce on each pizza dough.
Sprinkle each with a tablespoon or two of Parmigiano cheese.
Add about 6 chunks of the fresh mozzarella to each.
Add 5 slices of Calabrese salami to each.

Place one pizza pan on bottom rack and bake for 5 minutes.
Slide the crust directly onto the stone and bake for another 10 minutes.
In the meanthime, place another pizza on bottom rack after the first pizza has been cooking on the stone for 5 minutes.
I do an assembly-line of pizzas this way, definitely using a timer.

Remove from oven and garnish with basil leaves and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.


Makes 2 to 4 pizzas

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