Cooking Videos

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.


Ravioli alla Ricotta - Ricotta Cheese Ravioli (Recipe)

Ricotta ravioli in bowl

 

Nothing beats the anticipation of a plate of freshly made raviolis with ricotta cheese or meat filling!

  Raviolis are just one of the classic Italian filled pastas that you should attempt to master!

I just look at that picture and fear comes into my mind, the fear that my brother will get more than me!  We all waited for the call to the table!

There were so many Raviolis on the bed that we had to hang up our coats! The kitchen filled with family all catching up on what's new with who and sharing stories of past times.

 The aroma of a pot of Gravy cooking on the stove, fresh basil growing in the window in tomato cans and the faint hint of gas from an old space heater in the kitchen.

The table was set with a mix match of glasses plastic, metal and cut crystal. The table was covered in special linen and the kids table in newspaper! Homemade Wine on the table in gallons!

It is amazing how food can conjure such imagery! I can just taste them now!

Continue reading "Ravioli alla Ricotta - Ricotta Cheese Ravioli (Recipe)" »


Fresh Semolina Egg Pasta (Recipe)

Fresh cut pasta

 

When I first attempted making Fresh Pasta I wasn't sure if I could do it?

  After all its Fresh Egg Pasta, and it is made with Semolina, not the stuff from the box that folks reach up and buy, boil and toss with jar sauce and eat.

 

The majority of people, because of their busy lives, depend on the convenience of ready to cook or heat and serve foods. In the 80's fresh pasta was emerging as the hottest thing in the country.

  To be able to say that the Pasta in your restaurant was made in house was a draw for those who either haven't experienced it or know what it's like to experience this simple but delicious food.

It took me some time and practice and eventually I could crank out a small batch in no time!

Please do not be discouraged If you don't nail this recipe and technique at first. It's worth the time and effort!

I will cover flavored Pasta in future posts.

Continue reading "Fresh Semolina Egg Pasta (Recipe)" »


Basil and Oregano Pesto with Walnuts Recipe

 


  Basil pesto

image courtesy of http://thebittenword.typepad.com/thebittenword/

This recipe originated when I was Chef at Steven Restaurant in Scottsdale Arizona.

We used this to toss with pasta, marinate chicken breasts, mix in meatballs, add to sauces, create herb marinades and compound butters.

It is easy to see how by changing some herbs you can create a whole new taste.  Try substituting rosemary instead of oregano and add some fresh thyme!

Don't like the nuts, simply leave them out and add more cheese.  Why not create a Greek version with Feta and Olives!  I better stop!  If you want these versions I would be happy to add them to the posts!  Just let me know!

Basil and Oregano Pesto with Walnuts  print version


Ingredients
2 bunch fresh Basil picked
1 bunch fresh Oregano picked
1 oz peeled fresh Garlic
2 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 oz of Walnuts or Pine Nuts
Juice of 1 lemon
4 oz good quality Olive Oil

Method
In a food processor or blender place the Basil, Oregano, Garlic and Olive Oil.

Blend until chopped fine, if you like a smoother Pesto let it blend or process longer.

Proceed by adding the cheese and then the Walnuts, this will thicken up the mixture.

If you want a looser Pesto add more oil slowly.  If you don't care for Oregano substitute 1/2 flat Italian parsley.

The classic method using a Mortaio and Pestello

Below is a video which shows you the classic way of making Pesto with a Mortaio and Pestello! This creates a texture which is by far superior than blending or processing.  Sure its more work but it is a labor of love and may be done as a demonstration before your guests while they enjoy a glass of wine and wait in anticipation for you to create fresh cooked pasta tossed with this wonderful classic sauce.

In order to allow the full release of its aromatic leaves the basil should be crushed by hand in the Mortaio by means of a wooden stick called "Pestello". The movement of the wrist is very important. It should be a round movement, allowing you squeeze the leaves while crushing them. You gradually pour some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then put some sea salt and again continue with the milling, finally pour in the Parmesan cheese along with the Pine Nuts and some more Olive Oil. The result should be a creamy Pesto, thick but not hard solid.