Roman Pizza

I finally – FINALLY! – made my own pizza dough. And guess what? It was sooo easy. I’ll admit that my bread making experience is pretty limited at this point, and I think I was letting that lack of experience intimidate me. I watched Giada de Laurentiis make this absolutely delicious-looking Roman Pizza on Everyday Italian a few weeks ago, though, so I decided I just had to give it a try.

First, I dissolved 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water (5 minutes). The water has to be between 105F and 110F; I just stuck my thermometer fork in the water to check the temperature.

While the yeast dissolved, I combined 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of coarse salt in the small bowl of my food processor. With the machine running, I used the feed tube to add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the yeast/water mixture. I blended everything *just* until a dough formed.

Next, I lightly floured a piece of wax paper, placed the dough on it, and kneaded the dough until it was smooth (1 minute). I lightly oiled a large bowl, put the dough inside, and turned the dough to coat it with the oil. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough sit until it had doubled in volume (1 hour). This is the part that always sounded so dramatic to me… When the hour had passed, I punched the dough down (it didn’t fight back!) and formed it into a ball. I wasn’t quite ready to make my pizza yet, so I put the dough in an airtight container and stored it until later that evening. (You can make the dough up to 1 day ahead.)

I deviated from the recipe a bit when it was time to actually make the pizza. Giada’s recipe says the dough I made (1 pound) will make two 13 1/2 x 8 1/2-inch rectangular pizzas. This seemed like it would create an incredibly thin crust. All of the other pizza recipes I’ve tried have recommended 1 pound of dough per pizza, so I just decided to roll mine out into a large circle and bake it on my pizza stone. (As you can see from the picture, I’m “circle challenged” when it comes to rolling out dough, but it doesn’t have to be perfect!) I topped the dough with 1/3 cup of marinara sauce, 1/3 cup of shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, 1 cup of shredded Fontina cheese, 2 ounces of thinly sliced mushrooms, and 2 ounces of chopped pancetta.

I baked the pizza at 450F until the crust was crisp and the cheese was melted and browned (15 minutes.)

Yum-my! This was so incredibly easy and delicious. The combination of the pancetta and mushrooms was just terrific, and I loved the cheese blend. The crust was light, thin, and perfectly cooked through. If you’re looking for a chewy crust, this isn’t it; it was more like a cross between bread and a cracker. Dr. O and I really enjoyed the texture and flavor, though.

I love the convenience of being able to make the dough ahead of time… If you put it together and grate your cheeses on Thursday night, you can have Friday night pizza ready to go in 20 minutes. It doesn’t get much better than that!

TIPS: Mozzarella and fontina are both relatively soft cheeses, so they’re easier to grate if you put them in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes first.

Recipe link: Roman Pizza

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