Henry and I have officially started a tradition. Well, we’ve done it twice, so that counts, right?
It’s called Pizza Night, and though I make pizza for the fam at least a couple of times a year (or at least whenever Henry badgers me about it), its big moment is on Christmas day.
After presents and breakfast Henry and I make the dough, and while the family is out to the movies, it rises. Everyone picks out their toppings and we stand around the kitchen eating our piping hot pizza. This time around (for the inaugural Christmas Day pizza, click here) I took the leftovers from my Christmas Eve pasta and some inspiration from my favorite Italian Classics. The results were delicious:
1. Cherry Tomato Margherita with Lemon Zest and Truffle Salt
2. Broccoli Rabe with Hot Sausage
3. Pasta Pizza (Roasted Butternut Squash, Sunchokes, and Fennel with Walnut Pesto, finished with Brown Butter and Crispy Sage)
4. Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic vinegar and Chevre
INGREDIENTS (PIZZA DOUGH)
All of the pizzas use the same dough recipe.
For four 10-12 inch pizzas
3 cups high gluten flour (I use King Arthur’s Bread Flour), though All Purpose is fine too.
1 teaspoon yeast (half a pack)
1 3/4 cups warm water (about 70-80 degrees, not too hot or you’ll kill the yeast)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In a the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Stir gently to combine. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and on the second highest speed (8 on a Kitchen Aid) knead the dough for 15 minutes, or until it has formed a ball on the hook and has completely pulled away from the sides of the bowl. The best test to see if it’s elastic enough is to pull off a tablespoon of dough and stretch it into a square. You should be able to pull it thin enough to see light through it without it tearing. It is tears knead it for another minute. When it’s ready, knead on the highest level for an extra two or three minutes. Lightly oil a container with olive oil, add the dough, and cover with a lid (or plastic wrap if using a bowl). Mark or mentally note where the dough is, and note where it should be for it to triple in size. Set aside in a warm spot (on top of the fridge is great) and let it ferment for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until tripled in size.
An hour before making the pizzas set your pizza stone in the center of the oven and crank it up as high it can go for at least an hour.
When the dough is ready, scoop it onto a floured counter (it’ll puddle out) and cut into four equal pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes. When ready, pick up a piece of dough and stretch at the edges, moving the dough through your hands in a circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it as thin as you can and put it on a flour baking peel or rimless cookie sheet. Add your toppings and bake for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (CHERRY TOMATO MARGHERITA WITH LEMON ZEST AND TRUFFLE SALT)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 balls bufala mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
4 pinches truffle salt, or a few drops truffle oil, or you can buy cheese with truffle in it.
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced into ribbons)
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don’t have one)smooth 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese (there should be a lot of space around each slice) and dot with the halved tomatoes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and truffle salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes and top with a little basil. Slice and enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (BROCCOLI RABE WITH SAUSAGE)
1 pound broccoli rabe (rapini) or a head of broccoli if you can’t find it
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili flake
1 pinch lemon zest
8 ounces taleggio grated (or mozzarella)
4-5 fresh hot Italian sausages
salt and pepper
grated parm, optional
Break the broccoli rabe into 1 inch chunks. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the broccoli rabe for 1 minute and the stick in an ice bath. Blanching the rabe makes it sweeter and turns is a gorgeous bright green. You can skip the step if you prefer a more bitter flavor, just sauté it for a little longer.
Strain the broccoli rabe and dry completely on a towel. In a saucepan, heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flake and cook until the garlic just starts to toast (careful that it doesn’t brown). Add the broccoli rabe and sauté for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, push the sausage out of its casings and in a pan over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil, sauté it until the bits are completely brown and cooked through.
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don’t have one)smooth 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese and sprinkle a quarter of the sausage and broccoli rabe. Top with some parm and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (PASTA PIZZA)
8 ounces roasted butternut squash
8 ounces roasted sunchokes
4 ounces roasted fennel
1/2 cup walnut pesto
8 ounces grated mozzarella
grated parm, optional
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 sage leaves
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don’t have one)smooth 2 tablespoons of walnut pesto onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese and sprinkle a quarter of the roasted vegetables. Top with some parm and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat, add the sage leaves, and continue cooking until it turns golden brown and starts turning nutty. Drizzle a quarter of the brown butter and sage leaves over the pizza. Slice and Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (ROASTED RADICCHIO WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR CHEVRE)
1 head radicchio, or small red cabbage, quatered
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
8 ounces fresh chevre (fresh goat cheese)
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 425 F. In a small oven-safe pan, drizzle each quarter of radicchio with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the leaves start to wilt. Turn up the oven to broil and broil until the edges start to brown. Take the radicchio out, slice into 1 inch sections, and immediately cover with balsamic, turning to dress.
On one stretched pizza dough on the floured pizza peel (or a floured baking sheet if you don’t have one) smooth 2 tablespoons of sour cream onto the pizza, covering the whole thing, save a 1/2 inch around the edge. Top with a quarter of the cheese and sprinkle a quarter of the radicchio. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 8 minutes and finish with a drizzle of balsamic and some ground pepper. Slice and enjoy!