Joey announced she'd be hosting this round of Hay Hay it's Donna Day! (HHDD), I promised her I'd join in. I always enjoyed seeing the entries to the past rounds that the thought of joining in the fun crossed my mind a few times. But like with other food events (I've only managed one Lasang Pinoy round), I worry about committing and then not meeting the deadline. And although we're given more than enough time, I find myself coming home from work or the gym too late and too tired to eat, much less to cook anything in the hot kitchen.
But enough with the excuses! I made a promise and I'm happy to say I kept my promise. Yay! Yay! for me! :)
I was really excited to find out that this round was about pizzas - a big favorite of mine! Though I have certain favorites from popular pizza chains and Italian restaurants around town, none can compare to the joy of making your own. I love it's versatility, which is why I also love pasta and salads so much. You can let your imagination go wild in creating your own unique flavor. Pizza dough is like a blank canvass, and you are the artist. And while I've made my share of pizzas in the past, fooling around with different ingredients for toppings, I can't say I've ever made my own pizza dough. But I wanted to! And what better time than now.
Because the event is a homage to Donna Hay, whose cookbooks and magazines are virtual eye candy - such gorgeous food styling! - and whose recipes are simple enough to make an amateur in the kitchen like me seem like a pro, I used her recipe for basic pizza dough. I'm glad I did because it was easy and perfect.
Mushroom Provolone Pizza with Truffle Oil
To make the pizza dough
(pizza dough recipe from Modern Classics I by Donna Hay)
1 tsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups plain flour; (I used unbleached bread flour)
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
Mix together the yeast, sugar, and water in a bowl. Set aside until bubbles form. Add the flour, salt, and oil, and mix to form a smooth dough.
Knead dough on a dry surface with lightly floured hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, dry place until it has doubled in size. Mine took about an hour.
Makes one pizza.
Note: The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw and bring to room temperature before shaping.
To shape the dough:
(tips from The Gourmet Cookbook)
Hold one edge of the dough in the air with both hands and letting bottom touch work space, carefully move hands around the edge, as if turning a steering wheel, allowing the weight of dough to stretch round to roughly 10 inches in diameter.
Lay the dough on the lightly floured work surface or pizza peel if you're lucky to have one. Otherwise use a rimless baking sheet or in my case, a round flat wooden cheese board. Continue to work edges with fingers, stretching the dough until you get the thickness/thinness you desire.
To make the pizza:
Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
fresh mushrooms sliced
oregano for garnish
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Place your baking stone in the lowest rack of a preheated oven (425 deg), allowing it to warm up for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, brush some olive oil lightly on the flattened dough. Transfer this onto the hot pizza stone and let it parbake for a few minutes, just until edges start to turn golden. Maybe around 2-3 minutes.
Saute the mushrooms in olive oil and set aside.
Remove parbaked pizza dough from oven. Arrange cheese slices on top then scatter the sauteed mushrooms above the cheese. Sprinkle with sea salt and grind some black pepper over the pizza and return to the oven to bake a little more. Once the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp and golden, about 6-8 minutes or more. Remove the pizza from the oven, garnish with fresh oregano and drizzle with truffle oil.
The pizza couldn't have been more perfect! Everyone (mom, dad and sister) gushed after taking the first bite, exclaiming how good it was and asking for more. I quickly hid two slices in the fridge (to be reheated at work tomorrow) and watched them clean up the rest. I was happy. :) They aren't easy to please, especially my mom!
The provolone was the ideal vessel for these ingredients, mild enough that it didn't interfere with the aroma and flavor of the truffle oil, and it melted nicely over the crust allowing the mushrooms to sink deliciously into its arms. The crust was just the right crispness, thanks to the pizza stone.
Thanks, Joey! And congratulations on the previous win and for hosting this round! :) And thank you too, Barbara, for conceptualizing such a successful food event!
Below, is another pizza I made using the same pizza dough recipe, with crushed tomatoes as the base, and sliced apples, gorgonzola, prosciutto and arugula as toppings. It's a copycat of a pizza I tried at the La Lucciola restaurant in Bali last year. I loved it, which isn't surprising because I love aurgula and gorgonzola, so I vowed to try and replicate it someday.
You can see the original pizza if you click here. Instead of tomato sauce, I used fresh seeded and crushed tomatoes with basil as the base. You can tell from the dark-browned edges I left it in a tad too long but it was still delicious with a good crunch. I'd definitely make this again!