think outside the tomato

A few summers ago, back when I was still in college (Still! In! College!), my friends and I decided to play a rousing round of pub golf. We modified it a little, so that instead of (a) wearing golf attire or (b) designating a certain drink, or number of drinks, for every bar, we (a.1) wore normal clothes and (b.1) assigned a silly challenge to every bar. Speak in accents, buy a stranger a drink, pretend to work for the Obama campaign. Doing the stanky legg, yes that was one, we were clearly not above embarrassment.

Apparently, I’m still not.

But that is not the point of this post.

The point is that we all rendezvoused before at friend Leah’s house and ordered 2 Amys Pizza. Leah lives across the street from 2 Amys — 2 Amys being definitely the best pizza in DC, and giving the Motorinos and Ottos of New York some very stiff competition. They always offer imaginative, seasonal toppings but that night someone in our party had a make-your-own brain wave: pesto, prosciutto and goat cheese. Unbelievably good. Fresh pesto + tangy goat cheese + and salty prosciutto = the ultimate taste profile.

And last night, we brought that little piece of 2 Amys — and summer! — to Iowa.

I used my favorite dough recipe and topped it with premade fresh pesto, mozzarella and goat cheese, prosciutto, caramelized onions, and chopped tomatoes — following the American “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” approach to pizza making.

And say, about that dough . . .

I’ve tinkered with the recipe a bit, enlarging it by one and a half and simplifying the measurements. Now it truly serves two, or a bird-like three. And I am no longer forced to measure out nine tablespoons of warm water, always a plus here.

Enjoy it!

Favorite Pizza Dough, updated

  • 1/2 cup warm water, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Whisk water, wine, and yeast together in a small bowl. Cover with saran wrap and let “activate” for ten minutes, until the surface is bubbly, as in the upper left photo, and smells yeasty.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, honey, and olive oil. Add the yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients, then use your hands to bring it into a ball. If you’re having trouble incorporating all the flour (lower right photo), add more water by the teaspoon until it all comes together.

Spritz some Pam, or drizzle a little olive oil, in the large bowl, and turn the dough ball to coat. Set it in a warm corner until doubled in size. This takes a minimum of two hours, but I have been known to make it around noon (or even late morning!) and leave it out until dinnertime, which is not strictly Good Bread-Making Protocol, but hasn’t hurt this guy one bit.

How to know if the dough has risen enough? Stick a finger in it. If it bounces back immediately, it’s not ready.

When the first rise is done, you need to deflate the dough. Just press all the air out, flattening it, reform it into a rough ball, and let it re-inflate for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to its highest temperature: for us, this means using the broiler! Roll out the dough on a well-floured counter until it’s pretty darn thin, and transfer it to a pizza stone or the back of a cookie sheet.

Pesto Prosciutto Pizza

  • around 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/2 ball of mozzarella
  • 1/2 log of goat cheese
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 slices of prosciutto

Heat oil in a medium fry pan and add the chopped onion. Salt generously. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until onions are brown and sweet.

Add the pesto, cheese, and tomato to the rolled-out dough and top with the prosciutto. Bake 12-14 minutes, until top is browned and dough is cooked through. Serve hot!


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Martha on December 12, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Wow! That looks so good!


  2. Posted by Olive on December 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I am going to try this pizza dough this weekend, in bologna of all places. I would probably find delicious pizza out and about the city but there is something worthwhile about making pizza at home even if you are in Italy with someone your giddy over.


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