June 2009

Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi (Recipe)

 

When I was in Florence Italy I remember having a wonderful dish created with Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi and a light Gorgonzola Cream Sauce.


The Gnocchi were like little pillows of air, light not heavy like some of the Gnocchi bombs I have had in the past!  Here is a recipe for the Gnocchi itself.

For the sauce I would add some heavy cream to a saute pan about 1 1/2 cups, sea salt and fresh ground white pepper, a sprig of fresh basil and 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese with a little Parmesan.  Toss your Gnocchi in the sauce and add a fleck or two of cold butter and reduce. This is sort of like a modified Alfredo sauce.

 

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Pizza Toppings (Recipes)

Best Pizza Toppings

 


Pizza is different for everyone!

  The most ordered Pizzas are Pepperoni, Italian Sausage then followed by combination's of Italian Sausage and Mushrooms, etc.  I have included here some of my favorite Pizza Toppings as well as a list of other Pizza Toppings that may inspire you.  The most important thing to remember is to always use the freshest highest quality ingredients when possible!  Keep your cooking clean and simple; let the flavor of each ingredient shine through!

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Pizza Sauces (Recipes)

  Tossa pizza

 

 

Across the world you will find many different version of Pizza as well as Pizza Sauces.

Thanks to Wolfgang Puck and chains like CPK you will find many non traditional pizza sauces like BBQ, Thai Peanut or even Hoisin Sauce.  These sauces are great and have their place, but today I offer to you some of the basic sauces that you may find in an Italian Pizzeria.  Pizza is a genre to itself and deserves the respect of your time.

After all you deserve to experience the freshness and quality of a great sauced and topped Pizza.  Here are the basic Pizza Sauces, more on the toppings for Pizza to come in future posts as well as actually baking Pizzas for those who need help.  Feel free to comment, it is always appreciated!

 

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Italian Pizza Dough (Recipe)

Dough


Everyone loves pizza! And everyone loves homemade pizza even more, especially if it is a tradition passed on from each generation.

  My Mother use to make Pizza on Saturdays and Gravy on Sunday.  Saturday we would come home from playing outside only to find a pan of Pizza ready to devour.  As an added treat she would fry the Pizza Dough in Olive Oil and hit it with sugar! Yum! A separate recipe post will cover sauce and toppings for Pizza.  But for now here is the Italian Pizza Dough Recipe!
This recipe is adapted from a Wood Stone Oven recipe where I substituted the 00 flour with a blend of Cake and All Purpose Flour.  If you want a crisper pizza use a Bread Flour. 

 

 

Italian Pizza Dough print version

Italian Pizza Dough

About 4-5 Individual pizzas more or less.

Ingredients
3 cups All purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 ½ cups, plus 2 TBL cool water
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
 olive oil to coat the bowls

(For high altitude above 6000 ft increase water to 2 cups and decrease yeast to slightly under a 1/2 tsp)

Method

Place water in the bottom of the mixing bowl
Place flour on top of water
Keep salt and yeast separate! measure and place atop of the flour in separate spots

Place the dough hook on your mixer and raise the bowl
Start the mixer on the slowest speed and mix the ingredients till they are wet and incorporated
Increase the speed of the mixer to medium low and proceed to mix your dough for 10-12 minutes
The dough should eventually pull from the bowl and slap against the sides.  If the  dough crawls up the dough hook stop the machine and push the  dough down and resume mixing.
If your dough looks too wet add a bit of flour, too stiff drizzle a bit of water.  The consistency will be soft when finished.
A good way to tell if your gluten is developed is to pinch a walnut piece of dough off and work it between your fingers to create a window.  If the window does not form then mix your dough a bit longer.

Once your dough is developed stop the machine and add your olive oil, turn on the machine at a quick pulse and stop.  This will help with removing the dough.

Portioning

Portion the dough into 6 oz portions for an individual pizza. About 4-5 portions more or less.

Here is how to make your Dough balls. In order to form each portion of pizza dough into a ball hold your hand like a spider over the dough piece, roll your  dough into a ball, continue to roll while applying pressure with your palm and heel of your hand.  You will feel the dough grab the table and begin to roll in the palm of your hand.  If this is too difficult you may fold the top of the dough piece into its center and continue buy turning it a quarter turn and repeating until you go full circle (see image above).  Turn your shaped pizza dough ball seam side down when placing it into your oiled container.

If you plan on making Italian Pizza the next day, place each  dough ball in its own individual oiled plastic container and refrigerate overnight.   If you want to make Pizza right away then leave your containers of portioned pizza dough on the counter covered to rise till double in height, It could take as long as 1 1/2 hours.

When working with refrigerated dough you should remove your dough 1 hour before making your Italian Pizza.