Sunday, March 07, 2010

Easy as pizza pie

Those of you on Facebook saw me post this photo the week I made it: a Valentine's heart-shaped pizza. Made with pizza dough from the refrigerated section at Trader Joe's, it took a little work to convince the yeasty mass into the form of a heart — which it vaguely held onto as it puffed up during baking. Hidden under a generous layer of cheese were mushrooms, anchovies, and a thin layer of homemade tomato sauce.

That Valentine's Day was the first time in ages that I'd made a pizza. The Anthropologist loves pizza (who doesn't?), and we'd had our fair share in India, as well as in sports bars and from delivery before and after the trip. But since making it myself last month, I never want to call for take-out ever again. Pizza made with Trader Joe's dough is really that good. It has become by go-to dish when I don't have anything else planned for dinner, especially since I now keep canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and pizza dough as staples in the kitchen.

I'm not opposed, of course, to making my own dough. I suppose I'll eventually start making large batches to keep in the fridge or freezer. Maybe I ought to start making my own mozzarella, too, so that I can have pizza made entirely from scratch. Once in a while, that might be fun, but I enjoy the ease of cutting open the plastic pouch that holds the dough, throwing some tasty toppings on, and sticking the whole thing in the oven for ten minutes. It's faster than delivery — and at $1.29 for a ball of dough, it's much cheaper.

As with anything homemade, one of the best things is that you get to control what you put into a dish. You can top your pizza with veggies straight out of your garden or from the farmers' market, pepperoni or sausage without nitrates, and maybe even some cheese made by a local dairy. I love that I can open up my fridge and invent some creative and tasty toppings — like the above slice, which has asparagus and cheese with a pesto bechamel sauce. At this very moment, I've got a pizza in the oven with some frozen corn under sliced (rather than shredded because I was feeling lazy) mozzarella, since I'm out of fresh veggies right now.

I don't think I need to convince you any further to take on the task of making your own pizza. Just do it! You can thank me later.

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