Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pizza Night!

Pizza. It's a food of love as one of the Food Network celebrity chefs would say. Good old fashioned comfort food. And tonight, it's home made! I got the idea from my friend Mike who said he was making pizza with his wife, so thanks Mike.

I stopped in to Trader Joe's on my way home from work to pick up all the fixin's. I bought a bag of ready made pizza dough ($.99) from the refrigerated case, a block of Manchego cheese ($5.19), a package of pepperoni ($2.69), a package of grilled chicken strips ($5.69), and a jar of Trader Giotti's Pizza Sauce ($1.89). I already had Pecorino Romano cheese at home as well as dried oregano and crushed red pepper. This was going to be some good pizza and all for $16.45, about the priced you'd pay for one pizza at a fancy pizza place.

One package of dough is enough for two good sized thin crust pizzas. I removed the dough from the bag - make sure you flour your hands or the dough will stick to them - and placed it on my floured Boos board. Using my pastry scraper I divided the dough in half and began to work each half into a flat shape for the pizza. If the dough is cold, as mine was, it will need to rest and warm up before you'll be able to really stretch the dough. When cold, the dough will be very elastic and won't retain it's stretched shape very well.

Once the dough has rested for about ten minutes, I stretched it out using my knuckles underneath the dough. If you use your finger tips, you're likely to tear the dough or poke a finger through. So I stretched out my dough and placed it on our pizza peel that I dusted with cornmeal; the cornmeal will help the pizza slide off the peel and onto the pizza stone in the oven. I then spread a good coating of Trader Giotti's Pizza Sauce on the dough. J wanted to help make the pizza so she spread about a cup of shredded Manchego cheese, half a cup of grated Pecorino Romano, a healthy dose of dried oregano, crushed red pepper and freshly ground black pepper. Doesn't this pizza look great already?!

Next, J added some sliced pepperoni and pieces of grilled chicken,

and into a 450 degree oven for twelve minutes. Wow this pizza looks great!

While pizza number one (above) was in the oven, I worked on pizza number two. I used the same cheese and spice blend, but made this pizza half pepperoni and half grilled chicken, just to mix things up.

Yummy pizza on a cold Friday night. It doesn't get much better than this!


  1. Looks great! When I first bought this pizza dough from TJs, I didn't know about letting it warm up a bit and had a heck of a time stretching it. Thanks for the tip!

  2. OFG, The pies look yummy. What a great idea! Ours had a fine dice of red-peppers, onions and tomato slices. Normally, we put a little chopped pancetta on top which gets nice and crisp, however it being Friday during Lent we skipped it last night. We cooked ours on a pan at 420/25 minutes, what does 450/12min do to the dough? Also, we had a earthy, not over-powering chianti. What did OFG and J drink?

  3. That looks great! I've seen the pre-made pizza dough at TJ's but have never given it a try. I guess that I should give it a go.

  4. hey, have you tried the No Knead Pizza Dough? I'll post about it soon - but it's just so easy that and you store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks, grab a chunk whenever you need it. Similar concept to the No Knead recipes that I have already posted.

  5. This pizza is inspiring--it looks so professional! Very nice work!

  6. thats a mean lookin pizza. Even i love to do a half and half ... 2 flavours in one ...much easier !

  7. Bud, those are some nice looking pizzas!

  8. Hi Karen, my pleasure. If you let it rest and it still doesn't want to stretch, let it rest some more.

    Hi Michael, thanks. It was a great idea, thank YOU! I'm a big fan of sliced tomato on pizza, nice choice. I like to cook pizza at a high temperature, just like they do in pizza places. On the pizza stone, the crust gets nice and crispy, I like thin crust, so 12 minutes is plenty of time. The thicker the crust, the longer it should cook - just keep an eye on the cheese! We drank some Leinenkugel's beer!

    Hi Loren, thanks. The dough is good, they have a garlic and herb dough and a whole wheat dough as well.

    Hi Steamy, I haven't tried the no knead dough yet, but I could be convinced. Having dough ready to go at any time could be a good thing.

    Hi cakespy, thanks!

    Hi Kate / Kajal, thanks! Chicken and pepperoni were kind of random choices, but these pies were so good!

    Hi Tina, thanks!

  9. wow, you need to open a pizza shop - excellent work with the dough!

  10. Hi veggiegirl, thanks! Opening a pizza shop is a great idea! If you finance it, I'll make the pizzas! What do you say?

  11. Pizza looks good. I was hoping you made the crust because I am really trying to find a good recipe for a home made pizza crust. Tried out a few but nothing I love yet.

    Sharona May

  12. Hi Sharona May, you should try Steamy Kitchen's no knead pizza dough; I haven't made it yet, but I hear it's great.

  13. TJ's pizza dough is good stuff - I've been using it for years. I've been making pizza on Friday night for as long as my daughter can remember, and she just turned 15! It's a family tradition now and I can't stop. :-) She's had friends over who have NEVER had a home-made pizza in their lives before mine. I feel sorry for them. :-)

    Lately I've been by popular request making pizzas without tomatoes or tomato sauce, substituting pesto sauce instead. Yum!

  14. Hi Brett, I agree, a good homemade pizza is second to none! Great idea about the pesto sauce, I'm going to have to try that out!