(Recipes from an Italian Kitchen)
(Recipes from an Italian Kitchen)
From the kitchen of Lucia Cortese
Pizza is a baked pie of Italian origin consisting of a shallow bread-like crust covered with seasoned tomato sauce, cheese, and often other toppings such as sausage or olive. The word pizza is believed to be from an Old Italian word meaning ''a point,'' which in turn became the Italian word ''pizziare,'' which means ''to pinch'' or ''pluck.''
TRIVIA ALLA LUCIA
- Americans eat 100 acres of pizza each day (save the pizza-forests)
- 350 slices per second is consumed daily (who counts this stuff?)
- Pizza is a $30 billion per year industry (rolling in the dough!!!)
- There are 61, 269 pizzarias in the US (the best is Mario's Kitchen)
- Each man, woman and child in America eats 46 slices of pizza a year (I certainly do my part)
- Annually, 5 billion pizzas are sold worldwide (move over Golden Arches)
- According to a Gallup Poll, kids ages 3 to 11 prefer pizza to all other food! (forget the battle with kids over veggies; just put them on top of pizza)
- College students survive on an all-pizza diet (wait, that was Lucy at UF!)
But enough facts and figures. Throw away that Dominos flier...let's make some real pizza!
For the dough:
500G/1 LB plain flour
1-teaspoon fresh yeast
325ml/11 ounces lukewarm water
For the topping:
300 g canned plum tomatoes (or chopped fresh tomatoes)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
30-g/1 ounce Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Fresh basil leaves and dried oregano
140-g/5 ounces mozzarella cheese, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1. Preheat the oven to 250C/500F/Gas 9.
2. In a large bowl, place the flour and salt together. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and gradually add to the flour. Mix well until you obtain dough. If you find the dough too sticky, just add a little flour.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest covered with a cloth for 5 minutes. After this time, you will find the dough much more pliable to work with. Knead the dough and split into two. Knead each piece for a couple of minutes each and form into balls. Sprinkle some flour on a clean kitchen cloth and place the dough on it covering with a slightly damp cloth. Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
4. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and squash them slightly, add salt and pepper and mix well.
5. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and with your fingers spread the dough into a roughly round shape with a border. Make the dough as thin as a pancake but beware not to split the dough. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on two large flat baking sheets or ceramic stones and place the pizza bases on them.
6. Spread a little of the tomato evenly over each base - not put too much as the pizza will go soggy. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, add a few basil leaves or sprinkle some oregano and top with pieces of mozzarella cheese. Then add topping of your choice.
7. Place in the hot oven for 7 minutes (a couple of minutes longer if you prefer your pizza crispy). Remove from the oven, drizzle with some olive oil and eat immediately Now, That's amore!
PS Prez Mario who makes the world's best pizza (second only to Mama) insists that the pizza dough is never flattened with a rolling pin. He says it must be firmly pinched and tenderly plucked. It's obvious why I love this man!!!