February 18, 2010

Made Pizza

The recipe has been refined. The teaspoon sugar (or honey), omitted. The salt, once coarse, now fine. When the oven is set, it's set to 450°. The pizza stone, replaced by a commercial grade screen. Pizza.

Roberto was outside shoveling. I was indoors boiling a potato and stretching dough. I had to try, really try, to make the dough not perfectly round, but more rustic. The Italian's skills in the department of pizza have rubbed off on me.

It's so easy to clear the counter, pull out the all-purpose and shape the dough. I sprinkle a tiny bit of flour and extract the dough from it's oily bowl. Tap and pat using the tips of my fingers, with great rigor from inside, to out, to around, and repeat. I flip the dough, flapping it back and forth between my hands to shake off any excess flour. Of course, there is always excess.

Once transferred to the screen (our screen is 16"), I paint on a nice coat of extra virgin olive oil, and spread to the far reaches a good bit of sauce. A dusting of oregano is followed by a scattering of sliced potatoes. Mozzarella, a in-house product from our neighborhood deli, darts from my fluttering fingers, filling in the gaps. Crushed red pepper, fresh thyme, and a final dusting of Parmesan.

The oven thermometer reads 450°. I slide the pizza in.

There it goes, the dough is puffing. And there...over there...the dough is bubbling. The sauce is seizing, I can hear its faint scream. The fresh herbs are drying. The cheese is melting and trapped, trapping it all. Pizza.

The rustic, misshapen glory has been transferred from screen, to peel, to rack, for finishing. The dough is more than dark golden on the bottom, it's brick oven perfection from our tiny wall oven.

It is lunchtime once again. Roberto is in from shoveling. Slices, crunchy, not flimsy, hot from the oven, blister our tongues.


  1. Oh yum, what a perfect description, and still snow...

  2. How did the screen compare to the pizza stone? Right now we use an upended half sheet pan that has cornmeal scattered on it, but I'd love to hear if this method yields a crisper pizza.

  3. Kath - I made this last Wednesday when both of our offices closed due to the blizzard (part 2). It was delicious. :)

    elizabeth - The screen is WONDERFUL. The crust gets really crisp/firm (not floppy) and browns nicely. We also take it off of the screen and finish it right on the oven rack the last 5 minutes. The results have been amazing.

  4. Oh my, that looks like straight out of an Italian kitchen. Such a perfect rustic look!

  5. My dear, you are a poet! I smile through all your posts and leave with a heart enriched and an imagination enlivened. :-)

  6. Beautiful! I've never used a screen. Do you oil it and/or preheat it before placing the dough on top? Must try.

  7. tiina - Thank you. We are in pizza heaven now with the screen. It's really so much better than a stone, in our little oven anyway. :)

    Tart - That is sweet to say. I really do want readers to experience what we experience. I love writing about it. :)

    Michele - No oil (the small bit of flour from stretching and shaping seems to be enough to keep things from sticking) and no pre-heating of the screen required. Just place the stretched out dough with favorite toppings on top and pop in your hot oven. Do try. :)

  8. The pizza looks fabulous and the poetry written to describe the journey to enjoying this pzza was awesome.

  9. So nice... Your descriptions always make me want to be in my kitchen. Chris (my husband) was actually home in time to cook w/ me last night. It was so much fun. We need to make this happen more often. Thank you for these gentle reminders.

  10. Never heard or tried a pizza screen. Are they available in most cookware stores or is it soemthing I should search the internet for?

  11. Velva - Thank you. :)

    Denise - I hope you are able to make it happen more often. It is lovely. I find it's the best part of the day for me.

    Lindsey - We found ours at a kitchen supply store. Did a quick search on Amazon and they carry them as well.

  12. I like that you made the dough a bit more rustic...wonderful shots!

  13. Food porn at its best! I make pizza every Friday night - tonight, since it is lent, is New Orleans barbecue shrimp pizza - it sounds good in my head, we'll see how it turns out!

    Question: what cheese would you go with for shrimp??

  14. blistered and bubbly best!

    the pizza screen looks like a great find.

    so, recipe refined, no sugar--would love to hear more about that---the actual recipe

  15. A am very devoted to pizza. I do not make it. I will learn one day.
    You sound like you know what you are doing with pizza dough,the word'Flapping' makes me smile, toppings sound classic,classy and delicious, crust looks perfect x

  16. Longtime reader and looks delicious! Do you know what the difference is in the crust when using a screen versus a pizza stone?

  17. I'm in love with this pizza Tracy! Seeing this beautiful crust, amazing!

  18. alexandria - :)

    biz319 - I think parmesan and mozzarella work very well with shrimp.

    nancy - I'm making a note to future post our pizza dough recipe. It's so simple. :)

    rachel - Flapping and a bit of fumbling. Flour, everywhere. :)

    Geoffrey - For us the pizza screen allows for more air to circulate beneath the dough resulting in a crispier, firmer, well-browned crust.

    my little expat kitchen - Thanks, Magda. :)

  19. mmmmmm tracy! The crust on that pizza just looks soooooo good! I can't wait to get a stone someday! and go check it out my weeklong blog drought is over! thanks to getting to work early today!

  20. I'm dreaming about homemade pizza, I tried to make it once and it didn't turn out the way I planed, it was really soggy from all the heirloom tomatoes I used as topping.
    Yours looks great.
    Interesting blog and recipes, I'll be dropping by...

  21. my mouth is watering. I can smell the smokey pizza. I can taste the strings of mozzarella. gnam!!!


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