Best friend, the Onion News Network producer, rolling out the dough.
A cold night, a few bottles of wine and three best girlfriends make it Pizza Night. Because, let’s be honest, when women get together, all we crave are carbs and cheese… and a little heavy conversation.
A comedy writer, a forensic accountant and a cook get together on a Tuesday night and the one thing that they agree on is pizza. Really? Okay, I was there and I’ll divulge that we also settled on the fact that the city breeds anxiety, it’s okay if a woman makes more than her mate and the desire for babies somehow replaces the need for one night stands when you reach your 30’s. Deep into the 2nd bottle of wine, the Greco di Tufo, is when the conversation really gets interesting…
So we talk and lament and dream with our hands deep in a bowl of warm flour and yeast. The dough slowly comes together and handling it begins to relax us. When it’s ready, it pulls away from the oiled bowl and sits prettily in our dirty, tired hands. Now what?
White Pizza w. Portabellos & Truffle Oil
Shaping a supple mass of dough into a neat, round disk can be intimidating–but it doesn’t hold a candle to structuring an identity and a life in Manhattan as a 30 year-old woman.
We turn out the smooth, shiny ball of dough onto a floured countertop and work it with a rolling pin. When we’re more experienced, we’ll work it like a Little Italy pizzaiolo (pizza guy), spinning it out and tossing it up in the air with finesse and ease.
After a bottle of Nebbiolo d’Alba, we’ve created three different pizzas. They’re all luscious and beautiful. And guess what? The secret’s not in the sauce–it’s in working the dough and being persistent. Most important of all, after 30 years of workin’ it, we realize that everything turns out better when you have a glass of wine and a few good girlfriends along for the ride.
Roasted Red Pepper & Blue Cheese Pizza
All you need is a good dough recipe and the rest is up to you and your imagination. Here’s ours, excerpted from our baby, Just Married & Cooking. Make it once. Make it twice. Love it. Memorize it! This recipe delivers (and faster than Pappa John’s).
Makes 2 8-10 inch round pizzas or 2 9×13 (half baking sheets) or 1 18×13 pan pizza (full size baking sheet)
1½ cups water, lukewarm (@100˚)
1 teaspoon honey
1 packet (2½ teaspoons) dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1½ cups all pourpose flour OR
3½ cups all pourpose flour
¼ cup olive oil
Whisk together the water, honey and yeast in a small bowl; set aside for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, flours and olive oil, blend well. Mix the yeast into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. The mixture should pull into a smooth ball. Transfer the dough to clean bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 45 minutes or, for best results, refrigerate overnight.
Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured work surface. “Punch the dough down” by pressing the air out of it with floured hands. Gently knead for the dough and divide it into two pieces if making round pizzas (for pan pizza, keep as one piece).
For pizza, roll the two pieces of dough into a ball under the palm of your hand. Then roll into a flat disc with a rolling pin. Finish stretching the dough by hand. The pizzas are now ready to top.
For pan pizza, oil the baking pan and place the dough in the center of the pan. With lightly oiled fingertips, pull the dough to corners of the pan. Continue stretching and pulling until the dough fills the bottom of the pan in an even layer.
Set your oven to 450 degrees. Allow the oven to heat while you prep your toppings.
Our Best of Show
White Pizza with Portabellos
shredded provolone, asiago, mozzarella, pecorino; thinly sliced portabellos sauteed in garlic and evoo; truffle oil
Roasted Red Pepper & Blue Cheese Pizza
shredded fontina, domestic blue, roasted red peppers