Pizza Bake-Off

I have been trying to figure out what to blog lately and honestly, I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my time. As in, how it is possible to have more time and not do anything of substance (read: I’ve done nothing the internet would be excited to read about). Except for adventures in the kitchen, which can be comical. Like the time I tried to make tomato soup and my food processor broke, sending tomato soup all over the kitchen and me. That was solid. Dave asked if I was turning my blog into a cooking blog the other day. I told him not intentionally, but since I like food, I could see why he’d ask that.

The busy season behind us, he and I have time to cook now (or rather, he likes to cook and I like to eat. Grin) so most evenings we can be found making dinner together (I’m an excellent sous chef). Usually at least one night a week, I’ll take the lead in the kitchen but he does such a good job, I’d rather just sit on the counter and watch with a glass of wine in my hand help him.

My parents came over for dinner last weekend. Dave rustled up a roasted chicken and some rosemary potatoes (because I assured him it wasn’t a balanced meal without a carb-licious side starch) and a lovely green salad with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and a vinaigrette. We had persimmon cookies for dessert.

I handle the baking.

The night before that, we tried our hands at recreating pizzas from Pizzeria Azzurro in Napa. I made the dough the night before (thankyouverymuch Sunset cookbook, for providing the recipe for Delfina’s Pizza Dough) and we got 4 different kinds of delicious cheeses (mozzarella and parm were the obvious choices but we also added in ricotta and chevre, in an effort to recreate Azzurro’s “Formaggio” pizza). We couldn’t remember if the pizza we’d ordered one night had sauce or not (it must have had something besides dough and cheese but we couldn’t remember), so we improvised and in our travels to Whole Foods found a white pasta sauce with porcini mushrooms, so we had a pizza bake-off. Yes. It IS as delicious as it sounds.

Pizza Dough
Rolling out the dough
Only half of the cheese we used
Only half of the cheese we used

We made one pizza with the sauce and one without (since I had 3 pizza dough balls to mess with and that was after I had halved the Delfino’s recipe). The sauced pie was the clear winner. The other one, though also tasty, was merely a way to consume massive amounts of cheese. The sauced pizza was a meal. And a delicious one at that. We opted to use the third pizza dough ball to make appetizers for my parents the next night and they were fans too so we knew we had a winning recipe.

And it was pretty easy, as long as you didn’t get the idea to make pizza five minutes before wanting to eat said pizza. The dough can be made the day/night before, which is what we did. Here’s the dough recipe here. I also have the Sunset cookbook, which is what I was thumbing through when the pizza brainstorm came to us but for the purpose of sharing, this works too.

Pizza (pre-baking)
Pizza (pre-baking)

For the pizza, we just pre-baked the pan in a 550-degree oven, because that’s as high as it would go, for 20-30 minutes or so, then got to pizza creating. We sauced them, cheese-ed them and baked them for about 5 minutes before enjoying all that cheesey-dough goodness.

Like an idiot, I didn’t take a photo of them out of the oven, because clearly they looked delicious and I was too distracted by them to remember. But trust me. Yum.