Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pam's Gourmet Pizza.....the real 'fast food'......made at home.

Pizza, who doesn't love pizza!
 I really can't remember the time when we 'ordered in' pizza.  I have always made my own pizza crust with a variety of pizza toppings.  My kids loved to make there own personalized mini pizzas with toppings they picked out from the assortment of vegetables and cheeses I  provided for them.  Healthy, quick and so much fun to eat.    I have tried many pizza dough recipes throughout the years and  8 years ago finally came up with my favorite recipe.  It rises in less that 30 minutes and is so easy to spread into the pizza pan, it's crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside  - to me - a perfect combination!    My best friend Helena first made pizza without any cheese - the real - Italian way 'she said'  and  it was exceptional.  We had gone over for dinner  one evening and she made Red Pepper and Onion, Potato and many more for us to sample. 
She  put a few small cubes of mozzarella on these pizzas and that was it for cheese.
Well I have never had pizza without cheese and the Red Pepper and Onion was incredible.  I have been making it ever since for the 16 years sometimes adding a few cubes of cheese but most of the time just as is. 
Mushrooms are a big favorite in our family, they are so full of flavour and contain many vitamins, minerals and protein. A few years ago I  made a portobello mushroom pizza with a 'creamy mushroom sauce' as I had a couple of portobello mushrooms that needed to be used. I simmer the sliced portobello mushrooms in a bit of water then add either milk or cream, salt and continue to simmer for a bit then remove strain out the juice from the portobellos, then into my pan I add all the mushroom juice and some cream cheese and Parmesan, salt and pepper and simmer it down until thickened and voila, you have your creamy mushroom sauce. It is so flavourful and perfect under the sliced portobellos topped with a bit of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
Portobello Mushroom Pizza is now the number one favorite in this house 'according to my boys ' and my daughter's favorite is still the Red Pepper and Onion.
I love to sample them all. When I make pizza for a crowd there will be Greek Pizza with spinach, onion, red peppers, Kalamata Olives, tomatoes and feta cheese.
For my husband who loves hot peppers I make a Mushroom and Pineapple topped with sliced jalapenos and there we will also have a simple tomato and Parmesan cheese with a few basil leaves. There are so many ways to change up a pizza that it is different each and every time using what vegetables are in season or 'in your fridge'.
When my husband's sisters came for a visit  this is what I served, a  pizza dinner.  Today we have more family coming over for a visit and I will  be treating them to a Pizza lunch. 
Pam's Gourmet Pizza

Ingredients you will need for the dough.

 A few herbs are added - this was an addition made by my late son Alixander.
I love the herbs in the crust .....thank you son.  You are with me in my kitchen
every time I make this dough now.


 The nice thing about this  pizza dough it that it is made  in one bowl.

  Put dry ingredients in your bowl, add the wet and turn on
your mixer (or knead by hand) that is what I did before
I got my mixer.

The pizza dough is rising

Portobellos have been sliced and  ingredients added....simmering
away to release a bold mushroom flavour.

 Portobellos have been removed, strained - excess juices pressed out and
added back to the pan.  Cream/milk is added as well as Parmesan cheese,
simmer until thickened (sauce with thicken even more once it has cooled).


It has been about 20 minutes and the pizza dough is
light and fluffy.

With my hands I spread out the pizza dough onto a pan
greased with olive oil.  Then the mushroom sauce is added
and topped with the cooked portobellos. Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella (1/4 cup or so)
and then grate about  1/4 cup Parmesan cheese on top.

I also made a vegetable pizza topped with white button mushrooms
over a red sauce.    A clove of minced garlic is sprinkled over the red sauce.
Sliced button mushrooms are added.

As you can see there is pineapple and also sliced jalapenos waiting
to be added to this pizza.   Another  pizza crust with mushrooms and red sauce
is waiting in the wings - this will be a Greek style pizza.

Ingredients added and waiting to be topped with shredded mozzarella
and baked.

  YUM.....Portobello Mushroom Pizza with mushroom sauce is out
of the oven.....the kitchen smells amazing.....


 Dig in, enjoy....share
Makes 2 pizza crusts (3 if thin crust)
3 cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (I use bread machine yeast)
3 Tablespoons cornmeal
dried herbs, oregano, basil etc.
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
Put dry ingredients into the bowl of your mixer, mix well then add your wet ingredients.
Turn on mixer and mix for 1-2 minutes  (make sure all ingredients are incorporated well)
and set aside to rise until doubled - approximately 20 minutes. 
Divide dough and spread onto greased pizza pans. 
 Add your sauce   (as little or as much as you like) and toppings  (sliced red/yellow/orange peppers - mushrooms, red onion, spinach, olives, tomatoes, pineapple, Jalapeno) and mozzarella/feta/Parmesan cheese.
   I  add  minced garlic onto the sauce and then whatever toppings I have.
Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.
Halfway through baking remove pizza from the pan (carefully)  (if the dough is still soft, let it bake longer then remove) and slide onto the oven racks, continue to bake another 10 minutes until the crust is crispy and browned, then slide back onto pan and remove.
This will give you the crispiest crust and yet it will still be soft and chewy on the inside.
Another trick from my friend Helena!
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Maya Angelou