Monday, April 23, 2007

Pizza in the house

I love thin-crust pizza, as longtime readers will know. The more trendy and obnoxious the toppings, the better. There used to be a terrific thin-crust pizza join on Queen Street in downtown Ottawa called Oscar's, where we would go before or after a movie at the World Exchange Plaza. They had a pizza with shrimp and some other great stuff on it that I ordered every time we went. It closed down a few years ago because the building was torn down for some new development, which made me sad.

These days my favourite place is Wooden Heads in Kingston, which is a bit of a drive just for dinner (about 2 hours each way). This week I was craving it, though, but since we had no time to get down there this weekend, so I sucked it up and made my own pizza dough yesterday afternoon, fired up the sadly underused pizza stone, and whipped up a heck of a pie, if I do say so myself.

I used this recipe for the crust, although I reversed the quantities of white and whole-wheat flours because I only had a cup of whole wheat left in my bag. It turned out pretty well, though I probably should have let it have a second rise after rolling out - it wasn't as airy and chewy as the ones I've had in restaurants. I'm sure there's a secret to it but I haven't discovered it yet. It tasted lovely, though. I preheated the pizza stone for about 35 minutes at 500 degrees; the bottom of the crust crisped up very well.

For the sauce, I used a combination of commercial canned pizza sauce and canned diced tomatoes, drained, whizzed together in my little food processor. It gave the canned sauce a bit more freshness and flavour. I topped the pie with some lightly sauteed chunks of portobello mushroom, sundried tomato strips, balsamic caramelized onions, and a sprinkle of crumbled soft goat cheese. The flavours melded beautifully; we both enjoyed it very much. It's a combination I'll certainly be making again.

It looked pretty, too, though the crust was a little malformed, or shall we say rustic:

That's all that was left when we were done with it. Chris had it for lunch today. The great thing about that pizza dough recipe is that it makes enough for 2 pizzas, so I froze half of the batch. We can do it all again next week if we want to. I'm thinking about adding grilled chicken instead of the mushrooms, and maybe some black olives. Switch up the cheese for, say, fontina, and it's a whole new show. That's what I love most about pizza - the versatility. You can do anything you want with it, and most of the time it tastes amazing.


Ron said...

Pizza. Something else you can do on the barbeque!

Alison said...

We thought about it, but our pizza stone didn't have bbq instructions on it so we played it safe. Next time, though, for sure. Grilled pizza is divine. And the oven made the house really hot.

whatsherface said...

Don't do it. Pizza and the BBQ DO NOT go together.

On an aside, if you like thin crust, woodfired pizza with pretentious toppings, you'll like Pizza'za (in the old Hull bar strip area). My favourite is the "Petite Nation", with sunflower seeds, goat cheese and pesto. Their "Pizza'za" salad is great, too (artichoke hearts, homemade dressing, fresh parmesan...). So hungry...

Alison said...

We should go there this summer! You're the second person who's recommended that place to me (my sister's fiance being the other).

Bad BBQ pizza experience, I take it?