Prepped and ready to bake

A lot has happened over the last year. I sold my condo, got married and we bought a house. In the midst of these transitions I have still been cooking. In fact, post wedding I’ve been on a cooking spree – so many new gadgets and cookbooks. I’ve been really enjoying the Overnight White Bread from Flour Water Salt Yeast and have been baking a couple of loaves a week. Last week, I had baked the first loaf, but didn’t have time to bake the second loaf, so I stuck the remaining dough in the refrigerator to bake later.

Two days later and I was faced with a dinner dilemma. I took one look in the refrigerator and saw that it was full of a little of this and a little of that from several different projects. I saw that I still had the dough in a bowl, a partly used bottle of tomato passata, hunks of fontina and Pecorino romano leftover from a cheesy pasta bake, a few peppadew peppers, and about four ounces of Spanish chorizo. For whatever reason my brain immediately jumped to pizza, so I started preheating my pizza stone and grabbed my pizza peel. I have to say that the leftover dough held up great in the refrigerator and working with when it was around 40 degrees was really simple. With the addition of some dried oregano and olive oil I whipped together a fast weeknight dinner that was immensely satisfying. The bottom of crust was crunchy and deeply browned, the top was soft and chewy with a great open crumb. The two cheeses worked perfectly with the salty meat and vinegary peppers. This convenient ensemble will get repeated in the future.


Pizza with Chorizo, Peppadew Peppers and Two Cheeses

Makes 1 pizza
1/2 lb pizza dough
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbs tomato passata
3 oz grated fontina cheese
2 oz chopped Spanish chorizo
4 peppadew peppers, sliced into rings
1 Tbs grated Pecorino romano (use a rasp-style zester for a super fine dusting)

Preheat the oven with a pizza stone set a close to the broiler as possible. Let the stone heat for about 45 minutes and then turn the broiler on to high about 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to put the pizza in the oven.

Take your pizza dough and using as little extra flour as possible shape it into a flat, rough circle. If it’s cold enough you might not need any flour. I find that it works best for me to start stretching the door with the backs of my knuckles and about half way through I will stop and let the dough rest for a couple of minutes before I finish shaping the dough (this link will take to you a video of Peter Reinhart demonstrating this technique.)

Once you’ve shaped the dough, set it down on a lightly floured pizza peel. I like to drizzle the oil over most of the surface in a spiral shape and then use the back of a large spoon to spread it out more evenly. Sprinkle the oregano over the top of the pizza. Use the oiled spoon to add the tomato sauce and spread it evenly over the pizza dough – the oil on the dough makes this pretty easy.

Next sprinkle the fontina over the the pizza, followed by the chorizo and the peppers. Finally top everything with a dusting of Pecorino romano – I think this combo is salty enough, so I don’t add extra salt at this point, but you can add about 1/2 tsp of sea salt over the top if you want more salt.

Transfer the pizza onto the pizza stone and close the oven. Immediately switch the oven back to Bake mode at 500F. Bake the pizza for about 6 minutes or until you think it’s browned enough for your taste.

Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 2 minutes. This lets the cheese setup a little bit and the dough finish cooking internally a little – making it easier to cut the pizza. Serve and enjoy!