Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Betty makes pizza

On the borderline with Triumph - but the base just isn't quite there.

Betty makes pizza

Betty combines the ingredients
into a dough...
Okay, so I’ve named my glorious, bright red Kitchenaid stand mixer. In my first post, I mentioned that she should have a name like Memphis Belle, but I’ve decided she needed something simple, old fashioned, yet sassy, so I’ve named her Betty. I’ve got no idea why, but I think the name suits her.

Anyway, Emperor D and I have been getting into the habit of staying home Saturday nights. Instead grabbing some takeaway, I’ve been digging out some recipes that I just wouldn’t have the time or patience to cook during the week, especially the slow-cooked stuff. One Saturday I made a great veal osso bucco, which slowly baked away in my oven until it came out all fall-off-the-bone tender.

It’s no longer the dead of winter here, so
 ...and then she kneads it in a 
third of the time!
 instead of the hearty slow-cooked stuff, last Saturday I decided to make something that still takes a bit of patience – pizza. When it comes to pizza, I have a great mentor and someone to live up to in my dad; he’s a great pizza maker. This is probably by virtue of him having to work two jobs in the mid Eighties, when I was a kid, to make ends meet. Well, thank God for the recession back then, because the second job he took was first delivering, then making, pizzas.

I’ve made pizza before, with varying degrees of success. But one thing I did learn off dad was that after the dough is kneaded, it needs time to rise. I remember a well-oiled mixing bowl sitting for hours on the kitchen bench, with a tea towel over the top of it, underneath which the dough would be slowly rising.

Emperor D's pizza

So, not long after lunch I start making pizza dough. Actually, I shouldn’t take credit for this – Betty made the  dough. I just put the ingredients together in the bowl and gave a gentle stir to get things going. Betty is just brilliant; first she gathers all the ingredients together to form dough. Then the recipe says to knead the dough for ten minutes. Betty giggles at that – she can do it in a third of that time with her dough hook attachment. After just three minutes, the dough comes out all smooth and elastic-y. I think I love Betty. Then the dough sits on top of my washing machine in the laundry all afternoon (my kitchen faces south and is freezing in winter), while it gently rises.

After a few hours, the dough has tripled in size. Emperor D and I preheat the oven, prepare our toppings and roll out the dough into rustic-looking (read, couldn’t get a round circle) shapes. I spread some leftover home made pizza sauce (tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, fresh and dried herbs) over the bases and we stick our toppings on.
My pizza

When I was a kid, I only ever wanted bacon and cheese on my pizzas, no matter how hard my dad tried to get me to put something else on them. Sorry dad – I’m now 30 and still only want cheese and bacon on them, but I’m a bit more sophisticated these days and add herbs and chilli flakes. I find when it comes to pizzas, the simpler the toppings the better. Emperor D adds capsicum, onion, olives and some bacon and ham to his. After baking in the oven for around ten minutes, they come out sizzling and golden. The base? Not bad, but I think I might have rolled out the pizzas a little too thin. Next time, I’ll have to have more dough for the same size bases or make fewer pizzas. Homemade pizza – what a great idea for a Saturday night spent in.

No comments:

Post a Comment