Monday, August 11, 2014

Pizza in Punxsutawney...a little Bit of Paradise

Behold. The Pizza Oven...
There is something to be said for a place where you can have plenty of land. You know. Land where you can build a pizza oven.
You know what else you get with a lot of space? An  Aga. Just saying. I love Punxsutawney.

Friends F and S indulged me in inviting myself to their home in Punxsy to make pizza in the oven. F built the oven, the stone walls, the stone house..but it was that pizza oven I was after.

F built a fire early in the day so by the time we arrived, the coals were glowing hot. I brought the dough and a few toppings. They had some great mozzarella cheese, homemade sausage, basil from the garden.

Take some basil. And green beans. And oregano. And...and...and...

And that oven.

I practiced on a little foccacia.

It seemed easy enough. But as I made bigger pizzas, it was tougher to get them off the peel and onto the floor of the oven. I lost some toppings into the oven. Oops.

But with practice? I got this.

I use Carol Field's pizza dough. I cannot get it thin enough--or could not last night...I plan on learning to toss pizza dough, so I think I can conquer that problem. How hard can it be, right?

Here are two winning combos and my secret ingredient for really great pizza:

Stretch your dough. Brush the dough with EVOO mixed with anchovy past, just a touch. No one will know but you, and it makes it awesome.

I like to sprinkle just a little parmesan cheese on next in case toppings are wet-ish.

Great topping number 1:
Fresh marinated mozzarella (oil drained--we used mozzarella bocconcini from Costco), homemade sopresata, and drained and chopped artichoke hearts. I chopped the artichokes and drained them on paper towels while we waited to make the pizzas. I tore the mozzarella as I put it on so it was not too big.

Great topping number 2:
Red onion, thinly sliced and sauteed. Red bell pepper, thinly sliced and sauteed. Smoked gouda.
Prep the dough the same way (anchovy olive oil, sprinkle of parm) and top.

I think we cooked a little too late--my host thought the oven should have been hotter, and for the very last pizza, he raked the coals (I should have paid more attention) and the pizza cooked a lot more quickly...I liked turning the pizza in the oven with the peel--once it was in, if I waited about a minute, it was easy to lift and turn the pizza to take advantage of the coals.

Awesome night--thanks, my friends!!
Until we cook again...

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