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I am NOT taking the Pizza, Italians really DO IT BETTER! Honest!!
Member Name: luigi0778
Date: 05/01/10, updated on 05/01/10 (233 review reads)
Advantages: Delicious, easy to make, healthy
Disadvantages: Not as convenient as a take-away,
+The Myth Debunked+
The first thing to say about Pizza, is that Pizza is an Italian or more specifically a Neapolitan (from Naples) creation, and not American, in any way, shape, or form. In addition, it has to be said that the Pizza you get from most takeaway chains, most of which are American in origin, are plain awful.
The bases are vile and artifical. Basically tasting as if they are made from the contents of vacuum cleaners, and pure salt. This is then compounded, by the toppings and sauces ranging from barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, pineapple, chicken curry, jalapenos. All of which DO NOT belong on a real Pizza.
OK I grant you, these Pizza's may taste nice, they are certainly convenient. I am not even unduly knocking what is essentially a part of culture in many parts of the world.
Is it however, a real Pizza?
Would Italians recognize it as a Pizza?
The answer has to be an undisputable, No! No Way!
Far from being a relatively healthy meal, most Pizzas from a takeaway, cheaper chains, or in the frozen food aisles of supermarkets have been turned into salt laden, artery clogging affairs.
In all honesty I would strongly urge people to avoid these, other than the rare occasional treats. Certainly NEVER poison your children by feeding them these vile creations too often, as unfortunately many parents seem to enjoy doing.
+The Real Deal +
Now think of a Neapolitan Pizza, a freshly made ultra thin base, using fresh ingredients. Think of a freshly made sauce using fresh garlic, real tomatoes, and herbs. Think of real fresh mozarella torn into pieces over the top. And finally think of all this being placed into an exceptionally hot, wood burning, clay oven.
Do you suppose the ever so slightly smokey (slightly charred in places) base, and beautiful fresh herby tomatoey tasting topping has any similarity to the aforementioned American variety, NO., Absolutely not.
However with a tiny bit of effort you can create an Italian pizza in your home oven. A Pizza which is healthy to eat, and a million miles away from the awful ready made ones.
I admit, very few people (although I do) are going to own, or have a clay oven in their back garden, but modern home ovens are capable of reaching fairly high temperatures, and a whole host of special pizza baking trays are available.
So as I want to demonstrate here, absolutely excellent results are achieveable at home. The taste is pretty close to what you could enjoy on the Amalfi coast, at a fraction of the price of a resturaunt, and as is the case with all Italian recipes, VERY little effort is needed.
+Making the Pizza+
(for 2 large 12" square pizza's)
SIMPLE PIZZA DOUGH:
1/2 teaspoon of fast acting dried yeast (like the stuff you would use in a breadmaker)
300g (11 ounces) Strong white flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried Oregano
2-3 cloves of garlic finely diced, or grated
2 tablespoons of Tomato Puree
Salt and Pepper (to season to taste)
This is a matter of conjecture, you can in theory add whatever you wish, to be traditional though why not make a simple Margherita Pizza.
Delicious and cheap, and to most peoples tastes.
1 Mozeralla ball torn into small pieces
Dozen or so Basil leaves torn up
Some Olive oil,
Freshly greated parmesan to sprinkle before baking (optional)
As mentioned though, you can add any of your favourite ingredients on top, imagination is your only limit.
-The Pizza Dough; OK there a million methods of doing this, you can do this by hand, in a food processor, or even in a breadmaker. Essentially you mix together all the ingredients, and allow for leaving the dough in a warm place to "prove" for around 20 minutes. Basically you want the dough to stretch slightly in size. While your waiting for proving, you can prepare your topping sauce as in the next step.
-Heat the olive oil, and throw in the sauce ingredients, stir, and allow to gently simmer for around 20 minutes. Then switch off the heat, and allow to cool slightly. As mentioned. You can make this sauce while you are waiting for your to dough to prove. Or you can make an extra large batch, and portion it, and freeze it for next time. Just obviously defrost thoroughly first.
-Once all your ingredients are ready, preheat your oven, and pizza tray. It is important you heat your pizza tray. Turn the oven upto around 475 Farenheit which is Gas 9, or higher, if your oven allows. If you do not have a fan assisted oven, arrange your shelves, so that the pizza can go in at the very top. At this point MAKE SURE ALL your ingredients are to hand, and can be quickly applied to the pizza, when needed in the next couple of steps.
-Next cut your dough into two halves. With a little light dusting of flour, stretch and work each half seperately, so that they form a very thin base, and will fit onto whatever tray your using. Use your best judgement, but it should feel very thin, like paper almost.
-USING OVEN GLOVES, remove your hot pizza tray, and quickly onto it, (using caution) place your pizza dough upon it, stretch it out as needed. The tray needs to be hot to prevent sticking, and to ensure a crisp base! Nobody likes a soggy bottom!
-Next drizzle the base with a little oil, and quickly smear over your sauce (not too much, not to wet), and finally add the toppings, waste as little time as you can, aim to get the pizza into the oven within a minute of removing the heated tray. Hotter and quicker you work, the better.
-After about 10-12 minutes baking in that hot oven, your pizza will be ready. I like it slightly charred, but obviously use your judgement. The beauty of baking at a high temp, means that the base wil be well done, but still pliable. This is also another important reason why the base NEEDS to be thin.
Once your happy, slice it up with a pizza roller, or a knife, share and eat while hot to enjoy at its best! Although cold pizza isn't too bad neither! Enjoy it!
Summary: Why not make your own REAL Pizza!
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