pizza with sausage, crimini mushrooms, and fontina

Like any self-respecting person who tells people she's a New Yorker but really grew up in New Jersey, I am a condescending snob about pizza.  I don't think I am offending anyone in Boston by saying that the pizza here is barely worth eating (ditto for the bagels).  Living in such a culinary wasteland necessitates adaptation, and I've been hard at work experimenting with ways to satisfy my once-a-week pizza cravings.

There's the pizza dough I've let rise for 24 hours, made with live yeast and fancy Italian 00 flour, and mixed in my KitchenAid mixer.

I'm sorry - those are all lies.  I don't even have a KitchenAid mixer. That's pre-made dough from Whole Foods.  I know, I know...there is no comparison to homemade pizza dough, and buying it from Whole Foods is like going corporate and voting Republican.  But it's fast, relatively cheap, and I've figured out how to perfect it.

Here are the things I've figured out about this dough. Each ball of dough makes 2 pizzas (I'm only working with half a ball in these pictures).  You can store it in the fridge for a couple of days before making it.  In fact, I think it might actually taste better after a couple days of hanging out in the fridge - something chemical and sciency about gluten.  Another thing - as is, the dough cooks up to be insanely puffy.  If you're into that sorta thing, by all means, disregard all the tweaks I've made. But I like my pizza flat and crisp.  

You have to let the dough come to room temperature.  Sometimes I forget to do this, and Rob will find me in the kitchen sweating, covered in flour, bashing and swearing at a ball of dough that refuses to be rolled out.  If it's at room temperature, gravity will do the work for you.

This is how I prevent the dough from puffing up - I prick it all over with a fork.

Meanwhile, I have the oven on 500 with my sheet pan preheating inside.  I know there are a bunch of techniques suggested by people who are hell bent on recreating the brick oven effect.  I pay less than $700 in rent.  I don't think my oven is going to deliver a Motorino-style pizza even if I physically start a fire in it. So I just use my trusty sheet pan and eat what it gives me.

I pre-bake the dough on a piece of parchment paper for 7 minutes.  It comes out looking like a mutant engorged pita.  Usually I punch it down to release the air inside before putting the toppings on it (it's hot air by the way.  Don't be stupid like me and press on it with your bare hand).  After brushing the entire thing with some olive oil, I topped it with some sauteed chicken italian sausage, grated fontina, and paper-thin slices of crimini mushrooms.  

Another drizzle of olive oil, a dusting of parm, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Back into the oven for another 7 minutes, or until it looks like you want to eat it - golden, melty, and crusty.

Like this.

And this.  

Lesson of the day, kids: Whole Foods may be the douchiest store ever, but you'll be happy to have a ball of their pizza dough in the fridge at all times.  Top it however you want, but I will make a strong push for prosciutto, fontina, and apple (post coming soon).

pizza with sausage, crimini mushrooms, and fontina
Serves 2
1/2 ball of Whole Foods pizza dough
4 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 link of sausage, pork or chicken
3/4 cup of fontina
parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for sprinkling

Leave dough out at room temperature.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees, with sheet pan inside. Take sausage out of casing and sautee. Roll out or stretch dough until about 1/4 inch thin and lay it out on a piece of parchment paper. Prick the dough with a fork. Place sheet of parchment paper with dough on the sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Take out, flatten, brush with olive oil, top with sausage, cheese, and a layer of mushrooms.  Salt, pepper, and parm, then pop it back in for another 7-8 minutes.  



elc said...

photos are wonderful. i love you. salivating over pizza. also wearing exact same shade of nail polish at this v moment!

Derek said...

you have always been a closet republican, first with cutting the student activities fund (taxes) and now this whole foods pizza dough...
its not so bad is it?

Anonymous said...

If whole foods is really so intolerable, you could always buy the dough from your local pizza place. Most are usually willing to sell it to customers for pretty cheap. Even places from bahston should have a hard time screwing up making dough…

saltandlove said...

i have a weird love hate relationship with whole foods. there are some things that i just have to get from there, like certain meats and seafood, so I always just pick up a bag of dough while I'm there. I wish I had a local pizza place there that I actually liked...

Frank said...

i love corporations, republicans, and whole foods. and this pizza looks pretty bomb too

saltandlove said...

hahah frank, i am currently enrolled in mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, and accounting, so count me in on the dark side.

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Love the prebake technique. I always find their pizza dough to be a bit raw tasting so maybe this is the answer?!? And I hope you have a large supply of pizza- you'll need it muddling your way through securities :)

Unknown said...