Tuesday, April 8, 2014

....is Béchamel, Sausage & Peperoncini Pizza

Two weeks ago I celebrated my birthday (with an amazing shared Golden Birthday party!) and this post features two of the lovely gifts I received. CPB found a cookbook for a pizza place in New York, Roberta's, the pictures and recipes are wonderful and the stories of their adventures starting a restaurant are entertaining. This is the best dough recipe I have yet to make. I usually have to par-bake the pizza without the toppings but this one was the perfect amount of crunch and chew baked with the toppings. It was so good we've made this pizza three times since I got the book. 

We made it the third time this weekend so I could get pictures in daylight and have a chance to try out my new lens from Pops, he may have received an anonymous tip in his inbox but it was the perfect gift. I'm still learning the manual setting on my DSLR (most of my blog pictures are taken with my iPhone, for convenience) but from my first attempt I already have a crush on this lens.
(Thank you Lauren for the recommendation! Side note: If you're looking for a photographer in San Diego or Texas check out her blog, she captures amazing moments from military homecomings, family sessions, weddings and underwater photography!)

2-1/2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Yeast
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 Cup minus 1 Tbsp Warm Water
(Make the night before!)

2-1/2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp  Flour
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Bay Leaf

Pizza Toppings
1/2 Dough Recipe (Makes one 12" Pizza)
1 Clove Garlic, Thinly Sliced
3 Tbsp Béchamel
2 oz. Fresh Mozzarella, Diced
1-1/2 oz. Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
3-4 Peperoncini, Thinly Sliced
1-2 Pork Sausages, Nickel Sized
1/2 oz. Parmesan, Finely Grated

(make two 12" pizzas)
In the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, add flour and salt, mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl or 2 cup measuring cup combine warm water, yeast and olive oil. Turn mixer on low and slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as it mixes. Once it is incorporated let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. 

Kneed dough (by hand or in the mixer on high) for three minutes. Divide the dough into two pieces, shape into balls and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24, up to 48 hours, allowing the dough to proof improving the texture & flavor of the dough.

Melt butter over medium-low heat and whisk flour until smooth. Cook for 5-6 minutes on medium, until golden. Heat milk and bay leaf over medium heat until it's about to boil. Add half of the warmed milk to the flour mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. Add the remaining milk and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes stirring constantly. This will make more than is needed for one pizza, refrigerate the extra (you'll want it for the second pizza.... and the third.) 

Pizza Toppings
(makes one 12" pizza, serves two people)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (or higher!), place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven and allow to pre-heat for an hour. Ten to twenty minutes before the stone finishes preheating remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.

On a floured surface, with floured hands, gently spread the dough out with your fingers. Pick up the dough and pass it back and fourth between your hands (re-flouring your hands as necessary). Rotate slightly with each pass until it makes a 12" round.

Spread the Tablespoons of Béchamel with the back of the spoon, spread out the garlic and mozzarella.Scatter the red onion, peperoncini and sausage. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden and bubbly. Garnish (or cover completely) with finely grated parmesan.

Happy Cooking!

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