Woo hoo! Thank God for weekends! In our case, since we, Dads, usually cook during weekdays, our wives give us a reprieve by taking command of the kitchen and whip up their piece de resistance. For this weekend, my wife declared that she’ll be baking pizza for dinner.
We knew from long ago that pizza was once considered a poor man’s meal in Italy where the poor people of Naples in the 16th century added the once-thought of poisonous Peruvian tomatoes to their yeast dough.
The Margherita pizza has its interesting origins, too, dating back to 1889 when the Italian Queen Margherita, favoured the classic pizza a la marinara because it resembled the Italian flag with its colours of green (basil), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes). However, from our experience, looks does not simply tell everything. For instance, on a trip to Paris, our pizza looked more North American because it was overloaded with toppings such as cheese, onions, mushrooms, and meat! In fact, it was the presence of an accordionist that reminded us we were in France and that simply changed the pizza’s flavour. 😉
At any rate, my wife went for a North American version but with Queen Margherita in mind. The basil was replaced with green bell pepper, the red tomato sauce was highlighted with salami and there was mozzarella cheese overload! We all love it! What’s best about her version is it actually costs less than the pizza we buy from the popular pizza restaurant. We even got more for less because each of us had a share of the pie. In fact, there was enough pizza dough for a cheese pizza which my daughter baked for herself. It’s definitely a dish that kids will enjoy doing, too. 😀
On the side (and at her request), I complemented the pizza with a romaine and walnut salad tossed with lemon maple dressing and a banana strawberry smoothie for dessert.
Indeed, life is good and the best reason why we look forward to weekends! Buon appetito!
1 pack of pizza dough*
1 can of pizza sauce*
1 pack of salami
3 pcs. button mushrooms
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. cornmeal or flour
1. Dust a baking pan or the counter with cornmeal or flour and add olive oil to prevent the pizza dough from sticking.
2. Stretch the dough on a square^ or circular pan or the counter. There are various ways of doing this; some use a rolling pin, drape and stretch it with their hands and for the more adventurous, tossing it in the air. My wife used both the rolling pin, and the draped and stretched method. A word of caution: Be careful not to stretch too much as the dough might tear. Once the dough has been stretched, wait for about 30-40 minutes for the dough to rise again a bit.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Next, chop the mushrooms into thin slices, grate the mozzarella cheese, and slice the green bell peppers. Depending on your kids’ taste, you may add one or two more toppings such as onions or basil and that’s it! Too many toppings tend to overpower the taste of the other ingredients. In this case, we abide by the rule, ‘less is more’ because less toppings allow the flavours to linger in your palate making the pizza more tasty.
5. Using a spatula or spoon, spread the pizza sauce on top evenly. My wife said that tomato sauce or pasta sauce may do. Others even suggest teriyaki or barbecue sauce so it’s really up to you which sauce will match your toppings+.
6. Next, top it with grated mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sliced green bell pepper, and mushrooms.
7. Put the pizza in the oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for 20 minutes. Check if the cheese has melted and has started to brown.
8. Once it’s cooked, let it cool for about 3-5 minutes before slicing. A 9 x 12 baking pan yields 12 slices of pizza. Enjoy!
*Incidentally, pizza doughs are usually sold at bakeries and pizzerias. For a complete recipe of how pizza doughs are made, you can check the following websites:
+ A topping of roasted chicken strips, for instance, tastes better with barbecue or teriyaki sauce than tomato sauce. Anchovies go best with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. Remember not to put toppings with high-water content if you do not want to end up with a soggy pizza.
^My wife said that you’ll save more when using a square pan than a circular pan because it can yield more servings.