We just returned from a potluck gathering Sunday afternoon out at the farm where we have our weekly CSA program. I was just itching to try a few recipes from my newest book in the Bread in Five Minutes a Day collection from Jeff Herzberg and Zoe Francois. Artisan Pizzas & Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day arrived by UPS back in late October.
Baking bread from scratch is a home art that has begun making a comeback in this country in recent years. Think of a time when your grandmother may have made her own bread on a large kitchen table with large bowls & tea towels, kneading bread in a warm kitchen. In today's busy world no one has time to bake bread, much less from scratch. There is nothing more fulfilling than baking your own bread, whether in an afternoon after work or on a weekend when you have more time than during the week. By making a large batch of no-knead dough you can shape and form a loaf every day if so inclined.
For this weekend pizza party (with many other devotees of Jeff & Zoe) I set out to assemble the Italian torta and also the Chicago Deep Dish pizza, page 191. I made a trip out to my favorite Purcellville Community Market to buy some of Lothar's Italian sausage for my Chicago pizza. The dough needed to be one that would stand up to a deep dish type pan or a springform pan, so I chose to make a batch the cornmeal olive oil dough. The dough is made by assembling the flours, yeast, salt, oil and liquid in a large 6 qt container with a lid. Once made I headed out to the market for the rest of my ingredients for a weekend of making pizzas.
I cooked the mushrooms in a little olive oil for the torta in the skillet first and seasoned with salt & pepper.
There is much versatility to the recipes in that you are given variations to nearly every recipe. For example the Chicago deep dish pizza recipe gives you the option to use cornmeal olive oil dough, any lean dough or a savory brioche dough for the base. Directions follow a patten and are consistent throughout the book. As you read through the book you will begin to see the same language used for similar preparations. I used the short version of the tomato sauce (no cook) and just used my food processor to puree the tomato paste, tomatoes and spices. This way it did not need to be cooked.
Deep dish pies usually start the bottom layer with cheese. This keeps the bottom crust from getting too soggy as you add other filling ingredients. I added a mixture of cooked italian sausage and shredded mozzerella cheese. You could add your favorite ingredients in layers here. I will play with variations the next time I make this. Take a little extra time to saute your vegetables before putting them onto your pizza.
The Italian Torta is a bit more involved with all its layers but is worth the effort to make. Mine had layers of cooked mushrooms, red and yellow roasted peppers, cooked chopped spinach, chopped artichokes, pepperoncini, and fresh basil leaves in the layers. I am planning to use this torta as a main course for an Italian vegetarian night in a few weeks so had to try it out. Make sure each layer is cooked or drained so your crust will not get soggy. A tip I will add it to have a piece of foil ready to place over the top so it does not get too brown while the bottom crust cooks.
I have purposely not included recipes in this post and encourage you to check out the website below for more information on Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Fine Minutes a Day. If you hanker to make some homemade pizza, pick a weekend and assemble your ingredients.
Join the world wide pizza party this week and make your own:
Twitter hashtag: #PizzaPartyin5
Why get take out when homemade is so much better in just 5 minutes a day!
Artisan Pizza & Flatbread
in Five Minutes
[Technical difficulties with getting my links to work. Will look into getting them working. BD]