Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Roman Holiday Pizza (serves 1)

My Roman Holiday Pizza
Recently my husband and I visited Rome for a fabulous 8-day vacation. This was my first visit. It was one of the most fascinating cities that I have ever visited. There was so much to see. We walked an average of 10 miles a day and we still did not get to see everything. Everywhere I looked there was something interesting to see or do; beautiful sculptures, fountains, artwork (inside and outside), columns, museums, churches and cathedrals that are like museums themselves, amazing architecture, ruins, restaurants with outdoor seating offering delicious dishes using fresh local ingredients and great wine. To top it off the Romans are very friendly people.

One evening while walking in the Roman Forum near closing I was among a few people who were being herded out by 2 young men. They apologized for making us leave the ruins. I imagined it must be a tough job especially at this time of the day and they agreed. They needed to close up so they could eat since they have been working all day. While walking out and on the topic of food I asked if they cook. One of them pointed to his co-worker and said, "my friend here is a very good cook. He makes delicious pizza". He simply uses water and "0" flour. He likes to add fish on his pizza. I have not seen too many people put that on pizza but thought it sounded good.

Roman Forum
The day before I left Rome I bought 2 small bags of Farina Tipo 00 flour and a small bag of semolina flour. We decided to carry on our 2 small suitcases for convenience. In Chicago O'Hare the TSA staff pulled my luggage aside and just left it there with a few other bags from other passengers. He did not notify another TSA staff to come inspect them. We had a very short layover, it took about 20 minutes before someone to finally come (and this was after I had asked several times) to check my bag and to manually sweep my body for dangerous weapons. The man had to test my flour bags twice with a special paper probably to make sure they were free of explosives or recreational drugs. So these tiny bags of flour nearly made me miss my flight home! Mind you I paid money to be TSA-Pre for better services at the airport security.

Today I am off from work so I woke up early and made the dough inspired by the young man I met at the Forum. I wrapped and let it rest for 6 hours before using. I am also inspired by the thin crusts and no pizza sauce from the pizzas that my husband ate during our trip. Here is my home-made pizza totally inspired by my trip to Rome. I used a total of 3/8 cup of warm water for this recipe. Initially, I used 1/4 cup of water. I then add about half of another 1/4 cup to finish forming my dough. I also noticed some of the pizza dough was a bit bread-like so I added a little yeast.

pizza dough
Pizza Dough (1 pizza)

Ingredients:

1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 C warm water
1 C Farina Tipo "00" flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 C warm water

Method:

Mix sugar, yeast and 1/4 cup warm water. Stir and leave for about 10 minutes.
Next, pour flour onto a working surface. Make a well in the middle. Add the yeast and water mixture. Work the liquid into the flour. Mix the salt and 1/8 C warm water. Gradually add this liquid into the flour until a dough is formed. Knead for about 7-10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic or cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest. I let the dough rest for about 6 hours.
  
*You may not need to add all of the 1/8 cup of water to make the dough. Use just enough water to form the dough. If the dough is too dry then add a little more water. If you happen to add all 1/8 cup of water at once and the dough is too moist then add more flour. I find that it is best to add liquid gradually. 
*When you let the dough rest it stretches easily. You will find that you can roll it out easier and it does not tend to shrink much.

My Roman Holiday Pizza (serves 1)

Ingredients:

1 Pizza Dough recipe (see above)
1 large ripe tomato, sliced thinly
A small handful of pea shoots
About 2 oz of Market Basket Pizza Four Cheese (low-moisture mozzarella, provolone with smoke flavor, Romano and Parmesan cheese)
About 2 oz diced pancetta
Leaves from a few home-grown fresh sprigs of oregano

Method:

Preheat a pizza stone over 500 degrees F oven on the third rack from the bottom.
Use extra flour to dust. Roll out the dough as flat as you can get it without tearing or making holes. Layer on the tomato slices, pea shoots, cheese, pancetta and oregano leaves in that order. Once the oven is heated, sprinkle some flour over the stone and gently slide the pizza over to the stone. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden.

*May add more or less of the ingredients to your pizza and layer however you prefer.
*The tomato came from my parents' garden. It was very ripe, juicy and sweet. I left the seeds in.

freshly baked pizza

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