“Let’s make pizza,” I said.
“Okay. Let’s use the pizza stone,” Dad said.
“How?” I said.
“I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out,” Dad said.
And so, on a lazy Sunday evening, this is what my Dad and I set off to do.
Pizza connoisseurs will tell you that the pizza stone is the only way to make a homemade pizza.
Honestly, I don’t really know. I’ve only ever made one “special” pizza in my life. It happened right after I read the book “Eat, Pray, Love,” as I found myself infatuated with cheese and bread and Italy. And the pizza? Let’s just say I fell into a food coma directly afterwards. It was…one word…ah-mazing.
All the other pizzas in my life have been quick, no-rise versions. (Or takeout!!) Needless to say, a pizza expert, I am not.
So I was a little intimidated when Dad pulled out the pizza stone. A little apprehensive. I may have even let out a groan or two. A flip of the eyes in Dad’s direction, just to be sure he realized what kind of toll this was putting on my slightly over the top, very unattractive, perfectionist side.
I’ve come to realize that you can’t be a control freak in the kitchen if you have no idea what’s going on. 😉
But Dad, in his typical calm and cool kind of way, told me there was nothing to worry about, as he popped the stone into the oven and cranked it up to a whopping 500 degrees. I don’t think the oven has ever yet experienced such a heat wave. I instantly had visions of smoke and fire and burnt mozzarella.
Anyways. I ignored those visions and got right to work on the pizza dough.
For extra safety precautions, I used my “lucky spoon.” 😉
I don’t really know what happened after that. It’s kind of a whirlwind.
I do know that it was a two person job. Between the prepping, the planning, the “we don’t have a recipe, what do we do?” solutions.
Two heads are
sometimes oftentimes better than one. Yes. Even in the kitchen.
Besides. Dad said that if all else failed, the telephone was in full working condition. The pizza barn was just a number away.
This made me feel slightly better.
But in the end, no pizza barns were called. We ate. We smiled. We laughed at the night that had just unfolded. Then we savored the sweet, summer produce from our garden. And then, lastly, we patted each others backs to a job well done.
The crust came out perfect, the toppings were fabulous, and best of all, we had fun. Yes. Sometimes, not knowing the outcome of a recipe can make for a very special, delicious memory.
I’m still kind of scared of the pizza stone.
Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza—cooked on a stone
If you don’t have a stone, use a cookie sheet in place of it. Or, use this dough recipe to grill your pizza, which is always a fun and delicious option. This dough would also make delicious breadsticks to accompany a bowl of minestrone soup, if you sprinkle the bottoms with a bit of cornmeal, spreading garlic and olive oil on top. Enjoy!!
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 clove garlic
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin or torn
- Large handful of fresh basil
- 2 fresh tomatoes, sliced thick and patted dry with paper towel
- Place pizza stone in unheated oven. Then, preheat oven to 450.
- For dough, pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.
- Whisk oil and 1 teaspoon salt into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is incorporated. Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead for about 2-3 minutes, until dough forms an elastic ball. Transfer to a medium bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray or brushed with oil; brush the top of the dough lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 30 minutes.
- On a pizza paddle or a thin wooden cutting board, sprinkle coarse cornmeal. Place dough on cutting board and spread out into large round shape, using fingers to spread. Using a wide spatula (or the paddle,) transfer dough to preheated stone. Cook 7 minutes.
- Brush dough with a mixture of mixture of oil and garlic. Place tomato, cheese and basil on top. Continue cooking for another 10-13 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for several minutes and serve. Enjoy!
QUESTION: Do you have any “fears” with kitchen utensils, equipment or cooking methods?