There are certain truths about the Super Bowl. There will be a winner, a loser and food. All the rest is commentary.
While submarine sandwiches are great, chili is excellent and hot dogs are just super for my money, pizza is the way to go when you’re watching grown men pounding on each other for bragging rights and a ring and of course, really good (and bad) commercials.
I am not suggesting that you order a triple cheese, extra meat and pineapple special or pop in a frozen facsimile in the oven. I’m saying, make it yourself and then you’ll really have something to cheer about.
The toppings, including fresh cheese, mushrooms, onions, veggies or cooked meats, are your choice.
Pizza Dough (for a thin pizza)
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active-dry or instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In a bowl combine the water, sugar and yeast and stir to dissolve. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix until you’ve formed a loose dough.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface (along with any extra flour from the bowl). Knead until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly moist and slightly sticky to the touch. However, if it’s glued to your hands and counter-top like rubber cement, add in a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth. Let sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes. You can let the dough rise longer (no more than 45 minutes) or use it right away.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven. Divide the dough in two pieces. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk with your hands. Press outward from the middle of the dough. Use the heel of your hand and push the dough until it’s about 1/3 to 1/4 of an inch thick.
For a really thin crust, your best bet is to roll it with a rolling pin. Just remember, the dough may shrink (pull back a bit). If this happens, let the dough sit for a few minutes then start rolling again.
Carefully place it on a cookie sheet if that’s how you’re cooking it. Spread the sauce over the top of the dough, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge. Try not to put too much sauce on as it can make the crust soggy. Add your toppings, cheese and if you’re using a pizza stone, place the pizza on the stone.
Bake for about 5 minutes and rotate the pizza. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until the crust is golden-brown and the cheese looks bubbly and golden. Remove the pizza from oven and place the pizza on a wire cooling rack. Repeat the process with second piece of dough. Makes two pizzas.
Extra Special Pizza Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (or just use 3 tablespoons olive oil)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seed (optional)
In a large skillet sauté the onion, celery and garlic in the oil and butter until they are soft. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine
Add the parmesan, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, pepper, bay leaf and fennel, if using. Slowly simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bay leaf and cool if not using immediately. This can be made five days in advance and stored in the refrigerator or frozen for three months.
When ready to use, spread the sauce on your prepared pizza dough. This is enough to cover four 12-inch pizzas.
1 recipe pizza dough
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 medium, waxy potatoes (about 14 ounces), peeled, cooked and thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the dough and let it rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Dust a baking sheet with flour. Roll out the dough to an 18-by-12-inch rectangle, and fit it onto the baking sheet. Let the dough rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle it with the garlic slices. Cover it with the potato slices, and then drizzle those with the remaining olive oil and the cream. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves, crushing them, and season it with pepper and lightly with salt.
Bake in the center of the oven until the dough is golden at the edges and the cream is bubbling gently, about 35 minutes. Remove, let sit for 5 minutes, then cut and serve.