4.08.2013

pizza, pizza.

Mari has a little pizza dance. We sing it when she's whipping up yet another pie in her tiny kitchen. On Friday night, we sang it for real when we made our first-ever, from-scratch family pizza. Oh, so fun. And so good.
I really thought I'd have to spend endless hours researching and testing homemade pizza dough, but friends, my work here is done. I have found the thin crust pizza I was looking for: no stone, tossing or grill required. It's about as easy as it gets and the flavor is exactly up my alley.

We used Jim Lahey's recipe, which I found in Dinner: A Love Story's (DALS) book on page 270 (you can also find it online here, but you really should own this book).
Our favorite pizza is BBQ chicken, and because I can't pass up the opportunity to add some green, we usually add in some spinach. Besides this amazing crust, I really think the secret to good BBQ chicken pizza is the sauce. Years ago, my friend Erin told me she learned to mix marinara with BBQ, versus just using BBQ alone. I don't know where she picked that up, but I've followed her lead for years, and it makes all the difference, in my opinion.
This crust is so good that you must try it, with whatever your favorite toppings might be. If you're into BBQ, here's a rough recipe of our yummy Friday BBQ chicken pizza night.

Mari's BBQ Chicken Pizza 
Serves 4

Jim Lahey's homemade pizza dough
1 purple onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 big bunch of fresh organic spinach, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1-2 breasts of organic cooked chicken breast, shredded
Your favorite BBQ sauce, as little or as much as you like
Store-bought marinara, a few big spoonfuls
Freshly grated mozzarella cheese, about 2 cups or so

Make your pizza dough at least two hours before you intend to bake it. Once it's ready, prep on a sheet pan, according to DALS' instructions.

For the toppings:
Sauté the onions in a small splash of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium low heat (if you like, top with a light seasoning of salt and pepper while cooking) for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. If your pan gets a little dry, you can always add a splash of water (or white wine - my preference) to deglaze the pan. Add the spinach and gently toss until just wilted. Remove vegetables from heat, place in a small bowl and set aside.

While the veggies are heating up, toss shredded chicken with a few squeezes of BBQ sauce, just enough to lightly coat, in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Mix marinara and BBQ sauce in a small bowl. I'd say the ratio for my favorite sauce is about 2:1, marinara:BBQ. Set aside.

With your pizza prepped, top with sauce first, then vegetables, chicken and cheese, in that order. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 500 degrees. Let sit a few minutes before slicing in, if you can. I usually end up burning my mouth. I have very little patience when it comes to pizza.
That's pre-bake and post-bake. Messy, gooey and good, all the way around.

My favorite store-bought sauces: Trader Giotto's Rustico Pomodoro and Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce. 

3 comments:

Belle on Heels said...

Yum!!

Kate Burgener said...

Oooh, I bet it's the same dough as in the No Knead Bread cookbook and my husband has made it a lot. It's pretty tasty but we're most addicted to topping it with super-thin slices of potatoes like one recipe in that book calls for. Potato pizza is where it's at!

Karen said...

Alison,
I'm a huge fan of homemade pizza and this one looks amazing. I've been using TJ's handmade pizza dough but I like the size of the recipe you've shared. I see a pizza night in our future. :D
Karen