This issue we’re doing homemade pizza and, as it turns out, the house is sold, and this will also be my final column so we’ll celebrate with a pizza “party” before we return to the U.S.
Whether you’re settling in for a quiet afternoon or evening at home or planning a party there’s always something festive feeling with pizza on the menu! ( In Italian “pizza literally means”pie”). Or it’s handy to have in the freezer so it’s ready for a quick snack or you need a quick bite to eat if you’re in a rush.
It is truly a dish you can make to your own specifications and to include your own preferences. The dough base can be either whole wheat or all-purpose white flour or a 50-50 blend of the two. You can fix a thick-crust, deep dish style pie or roll out the dough for a more traditional thin-crust pizza.
The recipe we use here makes one thin-crust, 10-12 inch pizza base or 3-4 individual size pizzas. You can use a cookie sheet or large skillet for baking.
Your choice of sauce can be a bottled sauce off the shelf at the grocery store, one you make yourself, or can consist of fresh, uncooked ingredients.Either can have its role. Likewise your cheese can be grated and pre-packaged at the store, or bought in a chunk and grated at home as you need it.
My preference, though, is the fresh variety available at L’Angelo’s Italian grocery/restauarant in downtown Quepos, lifted straight out of its brine bath and into the baggie for you to take home. Two tennis-ball size pieces,of mozarella sliced thin, will cover a 10-12 inch pizza beautifully and the light, distinctive flavor is the real thing.
Finally pizza is a fun dish to prepare whether you’re by yourself or you’re making it with a group of family or friends. Everyone can get in on some part of its “construction” or “production”.
Toppings? Whatever you can think of! Though what we’ll use here are fairly traditional.
Pre-heat oven to 500 or high heat.
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 envelope or 1 TBS. dry yeast
2 C white or whole wheat flour, or a mix of the two
Dissolve sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl, cover, and place in a dry, warm location until the water ‘fizzes” with tiny bubbles. (This tells you the yeast is working as it should. If it doesn’t you can still fix an appealing pizza though the dough will be a little heavier — like the familar pie crust most of us grew up with.) Add the flour, stir in with a spoon, and knead briefly into a ball. Pat and stretch into a round, flat pizza base on the cookie sheet or skillet.
7-8 thin slices Italian ham (prosciutto), fresh at L’angelo’s, about 200 grams
2 medium fresh, ripe tomatoes, sliced
One small tin of anchovy filets
Mozarella cheese of yhour choice
Red hot pepper flakes
Dried oregano flakes
Arrange toppings in the dough base in ther order listed and bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted, Slice into wedges and serve at once. Though I Iove cold, leftover pizza, too! Serves 4-6.
Bien provecho y adios amigos!