My version of Sicilian pizza

I went to wine tasting years ago and I tried a slice of Sicilian pizza and I loved it. Sicilian pizza dough is thick and chewey, simple toppings of cheese, a vegetable and herbs, maybe slices of sausage or pepperoni. At the wine tasting I asked the guy about the pizza and then I did some research and then I started to make my own pizza with various toppings and this was the combination I liked most. I also brought this version to my workplace potluck.

For the dough

1 1/2 cups of warm water
4 cups all−purpose flour
1 tablespoon of salt
2 teaspoons ground flax seeds
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar

For toppings

300 ml passata (strained tomatoes)
2 ripe tomatoes sliced
1 large red bell pepper sliced
2 cloves of garlic slivered
1 sprig fresh rosemary
10 leaves fresh basil torn
400 gr mozzarella cheese grated
50 gr Pecorino Romano cheese grated
1 teaspoon fennel seeds crushed
Pinch sea salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
Olive oil
100 gr deli pepperoni sliced (optional)

Put the warm water in a bowl with the brown sugar and dissolve, add the yeast, allow it to sit for about ten minutes in order for the yeast to foam.
In another large bowl combine the flour, salt and flax seeds and mix. Make a well in the flour add olive oil and stir in the foamed yeast water, mix well and turn dough on a floured surface and begin kneading for about 7-10 minutes until a soft dough forms. Put dough in another oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel, let it rise for at least one hour.

Punch down dough and allow to sit covered again while you prepare the toppings. In a small pot warm a bit of olive oil and sauté the garlic add the passata, rosemary, fennel seeds and simmer on low heat for about ten minutes, remove from heat and allow sauce to cool down before spreading on dough. Preheats oven at 450*. Stretch dough out to fit a 12 x 20″ cookie sheet using a rolling pin, oil cookie sheet and dust with corn meal. Lay out dough on cookie sheet and using your fingers, try to develop a thicker edge. Spoon sauce all over pizza dough, add basil and cheese, top off with the peppers, tomato slices and pepperoni. Put pizza in oven and use convection if available. Cook pizza for about 18-25 minutes. Ovens vary so check under crust after 15 minutes for doness. I hope you try this one out and again please comment below.

Pinot noir was great with this pizza

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Calzone

I love calzone as much as I like pizza, it’s a pizza that’s filled, kinda like a pizza pocket or a closed pizza. Sometimes these are called a Panzarotti which is the kind that is sometimes deep fried. Make it yourself and you will be amazed how easy and fun, besides tasty. This is something that takes a bit of time, so it’s a good Saturday or Sunday afternoon fun, get the kids involved, they love rolling out the dough.

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
3 ½ cups of All Purpose unbleached Flour
1 cup fine semolina flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp of active dry yeast
Extra flour for rolling out dough

Note: if using whole wheat flour, add a tiny bit more salt and a bit more water.

Put the warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and allow for yeast to foam for about 5-7 minutes. In a large bowl sift both flours, flax and salt, make a well in the flour and pour in the olive oil, foamy water and mix with a wooden spoon, or a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix dough until it comes together. Begin kneading the dough on a liberally floured surface. If dough is too wet keep adding flour until dough becomes soft and stretchy ( knead for about 10 min.). Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap, allow dough to rise for at least one hour in a warm place. Prepare filling ingredients while dough is proofing.

Punch down dough on a floured surface, knead dough for few more minutes. Cut dough into four equal balls or three equal balls for three large calzones, put dough balls back in oiled bowl and cover again until ready to roll out.

Roll out dough ball one at a time on lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to about 10 inch diameter like pizza put filling as a topping only on half the pizza, (see below for filling suggestions) fold over other side to make a half moon, crimp the edges well to seal calzone. Using the point of a knife make a few holes in the top of calzone so steam can escape.

Heat pizza stone or tray to 400* and place calzone in centre of oven, cook for 15-20 minutes until dough is golden brown and remove from oven when done, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot. When ready to eat a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh parsley or basil is a good option.

Suggested combinations for filling:

One large tablespoon per item, maybe two tablespoons for dominant topping or your favourite ingredient, I think it’s better to overfill than to under fill as once it cooks it will puff up and may seem hallow if under filled.

Passata tomato sauce with pinch oregano, salt and olive oil
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Mozzarella cheese grated
Chopped pancetta or ham

Marinated artichokes
Pickled pepperoncini peppers
Drained capers
Pesto sauce
Goat cheese
Sundries tomatoes

Sliced tomatoes
Bocconcini cheese
Fresh basil
Roasted red peppers
Pitted Kalamata olives
Olive oil

Passata tomato sauce
Broccoli florets
Fresh spinach leaves
Minced garlic
Sliced zucchini
Feta cheese

Small can tuna drained
Chopped celery
Aged cheddar cheese
Fresh dill

You could have a party, double or triple dough recipe and put out variety of toppings and let people make there own.

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