Archive for the 'Pizza' Category

Recipe: Homemade pizza, ricotta cheese

|November 8, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Today I made some pizza dough to make a nice old-style Napolitan pizza.

Dissolved my yeast in warm water in a large bowl, added just a tiny bit of sugar, water, oil, flour and salt.

After the first rise, I separated the dough into portions. One went into a large (food grade) plastic bag – leaving plenty of room at both ends for it to rise in the refrigerator; placing a  twist tie at the very end of the bag for closure. Gently place on a tray and slide into the refrigerator and DO NOT DISTURB at all. That is for tomorrow's pizza.

Since it is dough for pizza – it doesn't need to rise a second time. So I spread my dough in my tin (today I used a jelly roll pan), greased (grease for a soft-bottomed crust, do not grease for a crunchier bottom), and drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top.

I opened a large can of crushed tomatoes and cooked them with diced onions; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, and a bit of marjoram. Simmered to thicken a bit; cool before spreading on pizza. The rest is in the refrigerator for tomorrow's pizza. A light sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano and a sprinkle of dry bread crumbs.

Now that is the way pizza is supposed to be made!

While that was being made, I made my ricotta cheese. Look – I couldn't beat the price. I found whole milk for $1.68 per gallon at WalMart. I didn't have buttermilk so I used about 1/4 cup of white vinegar; stir and bring to simmer. By the time the temperature of the milk hits about 175 to 180* F. you will see the whey and the curds separate. Transfer curds to a cheesecloth-lined strained (several layers of cheesecloth) – drain off liquid but don't press the curds. Place over bowl and bring up ends of cheesecloth and tie; allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to have a deep bowl so that the liquid is not touching the cheese). I'll have about 4 cups of homemade ricotta cheese for tomorrow's lasagna.

You can't beat homemade and you can't beat the price!

Since the oven will be on tomorrow, I'll make my homemade bread in the morning and time it so that it comes out of the oven just in time to slide the lasagna in. A large salad of greens with a nice homemade vinaigrette and we will be happy. I have our big meal planned for some time between noon and 1 in the afternoon; pizza for the later meal with chicken wings. Hey – it's a great way to watch a football game!

Recipe: Pizza Dough

|February 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Pizza dough – not always used for making pizza.  Many times when I was younger, we used our bread dough.  Just made a bigger batch of dough and used some for pizza.  Sauce was very easy to come by – we always had fresh sauce or tomatoes to make a pizza sauce. 

A true Italian pizza isn't like what you get at your corner pizzeria – we eat REAL pizza. 

And there are many dough recipes out there.  Try a few and go with the one you want to use.  It's so simple to make.  This recipe is a good one – it's been around for some time –



3 cups all-purpose flour (3 to 3 1/2 cups)
1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (125º to 130ºF)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1. In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast and salt. Stir very warm water and olive oil into dry ingredients. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

2. On lightly floured surface, form dough into smooth ball. (If desired, freeze dough as directed below.) Divide and roll to fit desired pan or pans*. Top as desired.

3. Bake each pizza in preheated 400ºF oven for 20 minutes or until done. Time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings; deep dish pizzas can take up to 50 minutes.


Dough Variations:

HERB: Add 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning, basil, oregano or rosemary leaves and 1 clove finely minced garlic along with dry ingredients.

CORNMEAL: Replace 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with cornmeal.

WHOLE WHEAT: Replace 1 cup all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

CHEESE: Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese along with dry ingredients.




Use your favorite toppings or select new combinations from the following suggestions.

Sauces: homemade or prepared pizza, tomato or spaghetti sauce, pesto, salsa, barbecue sauce, hoisin sauce

Quick Tomato Sauce: Combine 1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce and 1 can (6-ounce) tomato paste. Stir in 2 teaspoons oregano or basil leaves and 1 clove garlic, minced. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Cheeses: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, Jack, Parmesan, Brie, Feta, Muenster, blue, Fontina

Meat/Seafood: pepperoni, salami, ham, cooked bacon or sausage, smoked turkey, roasted chicken, anchovies, clams, shrimp, smoked salmon

Vegetables: tomatoes, red, yellow or green bell peppers, summer squash, onions, mushrooms, olives, carrots, broccoli, artichoke hearts, jalapeno peppers


Note: To prevent a soggy pizza, slice raw vegetables thinly and do not overload your pizza. Or, use lightly sauteed or cooked, drained vegetables.

Seasonings: garlic, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, fresh parsley or cilantro, crushed red peppers
Fruit: pineapple, apples, pears



1) Prebake crust (without sauce or toppings) in 450ºF oven for 8 minutes.* Cool on wire rack.

2) After prebaking, wrap crust airtight and refrigerate for 2 days or freeze for 4 to 6 weeks.

3) To bake: thaw frozen crust at room temperature for 30 minutes.

4) Spread with sauce and toppings and bake at 450ºF for 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Notes: *Master Pizza Dough can be divided and/or shaped to fit the following pans –
THIN – 2 (12-inch) round pizza pans
THICK – 1 (14-inch) round pizza pan (could try 2 very thin)
THIN – 1 (10- x 15-inch) baking pan
THICK – 1 (13- x 9-inch) baking pan
THIN – 2 baking sheets (make six 7-inch round individual pizzas)
THIN – 1 (14-inch) or 2 (9-inch) deep-dish pizza pans


To Freeze Pizza Dough:

Flatten dough to 8-inch disk. Wrap airtight in double thickness plastic freezer bags or foil. Freeze up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature, in microwave oven or in refrigerator: At room temperature, thaw 2 to 4 hours. In microwave oven, microcook 10 minutes on LOW (10% power), turn over and rotate 1/4 turn. Let rest 10 minutes. Repeat 1 to 2 times, until dough is thawed. In refrigerator, thaw 8 to 16 hours or overnight. Thawing times will be shorter if dough is divided in half and frozen.


To Use Active Dry Yeast:

Combine yeast and warm water (105º to 115ºF) in large bowl; stir until dissolved. Stir in salt, oil and 2 cups flour to yeast mixture; blend well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead as directed. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Punch dough down; prepare according to selected recipe or freeze.

Pizza dough can be made in a bread machine with a large (about 1 lb.) capacity. Process in the "dough" cycle.