The month of October was a busy one. Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Sienna, Cefalu, and Sicily, 16 days in Italy and I never a bad meal, a couple of very hard beds but never a bad meal. With so many wonderful dishes it hard to pick just one to post about, so I’m not. I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks and try to do some of these beautiful dishes justice.
Bread, pasta and pizza are some of my favorite food groups. So I guess going to Italy was a good idea. Rome is one of my favorite cities. The shear amount of history that the city holds is enough to make you take pause. The other thing that may give you pause are the motor scooters, but don’t pause too long they will cut you off. Rome is crowded, the traffic is a bear, but going in October did help. The second ace that I had up my sleeve was my husband, who drove all of Rome and everywhere in Italy and that is saying something. Some of the cars look as though they have been in a demolision derby. He only hit one mirror and it bounced right back!
One of the other great things about this trip were the friends that we got to share this trip with. Jen and Joe were great company for this trip, they love food and wine almost as much as my husband and I. Being able to share with them some fo the places we had been to before was great. Sharing antipasto, pizza and several bottles of wine over a late lunch is pretty awesome too.
I love pizza! I have a beautiful Fontana Pizza Oven in my backyard, so I take my pizza pretty seriously. Everyone has their favorite, I prefer thin crust and a thin cracker style crust is one of my favorites. The pizzas I have had in Rome are of a thin to medium crust with a nice crunch and chew to them. I have a number of different pizza crust recipes in my back pocket, this one is a very good representation of the pizzas we had in Rome.
Classic Pizza Crust
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar, this helps feed the yeast
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons olive oil, yes Italian!
1 cup semolina flour
2 cups bread, or all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
semolina flour for dusting
Preheat you oven to 400 + as high as it will go…. The use of a pizza stone is a great thing. Dusted with a little bit of cornmeal too, will help to slide your pizza off and onto the pizza peel.
In a small bowl combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Allow the yeast to “bloom,” for 5-7 minutes in a warm corner. Add you olive oil. In a medium bowl pour sift in the flours and salt, pour in wet Ingredients, gently with your hand combine the ingredients in the bowl, working until it is incorporated. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
In a large greased bowl place dough, cover with plastic wrap and allow to raise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Divide into 4 pieces. Time to roll. On a pizza peal dusted with cornmeal, flatten the round of dough with the heal of your hand and roll from the center out, rotate a quarter turn, roll center to outer edge. Continue until 12″ inches in diameter.
Time to top. This is where the sky is the limit. Olive oil, mozzerella, pancetta, Is wonderful option. Pulled from the oven piping hot and then dressed with fresh arugla and shaved Parmesion. Paired with a local chianti life is good!