I am sure you can guess that I try a lot of new recipes quite often. Luckily, my boyfriend is pretty open about trying new things and rarely complains. (I will never hear the end of “Tater Tot Hotdish,” though. It’s practically the official Minnesota state hotdish and a hometown favorite, but he thought it was disgusting and questions the taste buds of Minnesotans. What could be so offensive about some hamburger and potatoes baked together? I really thought he would like it. I can’t imagine what he would think about lutefisk…)
Anyway. Somewhere along the way I asked Terry about his favorites in food. I wanted to know which of the things that I had made he liked best. I wanted to be sure to include plenty of those things in the regular rotation along with all the new recipes we were trying. Apparently, Terry didn’t get the memo that I was giving him an opportunity to praise me and the food I make. He answered, “pizza, hamburgers, beer.”
Excuse me? Maybe he didn’t understand the question? I hadn’t made any of those things…
Once I pulled myself together, I determined that if those were his favorites, then I was going to figure out how to make really good hamburgers and pizza at home. Earlier this summer, I shared a teriyaki burger which mimics one of his restaurant favorites, and today we have pizza. I make this in the oven most of the time, but in the summer, it is an extra special treat to make it on the grill. The grill adds a little different texture and flavor, and it is nice to not have to heat up the oven when it’s hot outside. We still get an occasional carryout pizza and even frozen pizza once in a while, but this homemade pizza is definitely a winner.
So far, I haven’t even considered making homemade beer for him, but who knows? Maybe I will have a beer post someday…
Ingredients for the dough: (from Lauren’s Latest)
- 1 cup warm water (between 105-115 degrees F)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar (I use honey)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil (I use olive)
- 2 and 1/2 to 3 and 1/2 cups bread flour, depending on the heat and humidity when making
Ingredients for the sauce: (Adapted from Allrecipes.com)
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 6 ounces warm water (use the empty tomato paste can to measure)
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- dash of dried parsley
- dash of garlic powder
- salt to taste
- toppings of your choice for the pizza–pepperoni, pineapple, black olives, mozzarella cheese, dried oregano, mushrooms, chicken, etc. (This cooking method is really great for the margherita pizza with tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella.)
- additional olive oil for brushing on the crust
Directions for the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to proof (make bubbles and foam to show that the yeast is good).
- Once the yeast bubbles, add in the salt, oil, and half the flour and mix on low with your dough hook. (If the yeast doesn’t bubble, you need to get new yeast and start over.) Once the initial flour is fully incorporated, begin adding the remaining flour a little at a time until you get to the right consistency. I can’t give you an exact amount because it varies based on humidity and other factors; you have to feel this one. Aim for dough that is slightly tacky but not sticking to your fingers. Once you reach this consistency, knead for six minutes with your dough hook.
- At this point, the dough should be smooth and easy to work with, and your bowl should be clean (no more sticking dough). Lift the dough out with one hand and lightly spray the bowl with cooking spray. Roll the dough ball around in the bowl to get some spray on it and then cover the bowl with saran wrap and leave it to rise for 1-2 hours.
- While your dough is rising, make your pizza sauce. Stir all of the ingredients together thoroughly in a small bowl. Let sit for at least thirty minutes for flavors to blend.
Directions for grilled pizza:
- While you are waiting for the dough to rise, assemble all of your toppings and tools. This is one of the most important steps when making grilled pizza. You only have a small window of time to get the toppings on the crust, so you need to be ready to move. You will need olive oil for brushing on the dough and then whatever toppings you desire. With grilled pizza, less is more. The crust is kind of the star of the show, so select just a couple of toppings along with your cheese. This is not the time to do a super supreme deluxe pizza unless you have pre-mixed all of your toppings in a bowl or something and can just pour them on to the crust by the handful. One of my boyfriend’s favorite combinations is pepperoni and pineapple; he likes the spicy and sweet together.
- When the dough has risen, preheat your grill on high and then roll out your crust. With this amount of dough, I usually make three or four small pizzas rather than one big one. It is easier to manage smaller pizzas on the grill and you can experiment with different flavor combinations to find your favorite. Don’t worry about making perfectly circular pizza; it is kind of cool to have the rustic shape to go along with the rustic grilling. You can choose your crust thickness, but it seems to work best for me to go a little thin.
- When your grill is heated and you have all of your toppings, tools, and dough ready, it is time to make the pizza. Brush one side of one of your pizza crusts with olive oil. Place this crust olive oil side down on your grill and then turn the grill down to medium or low. Let the crust grill for 2-4 minutes until the dough has set and the bottom has begun to brown and show grill marks. The time will vary depending on how hot your grill is.
- Once the bottom of the crust is browned to your liking, flip it over and begin topping it with sauce and other ingredients as quickly as possible. Close the grill and let it cook for 3-5 minutes until the cheese has melted and the ingredients have heated up. Again, the time will vary depending on the heat of your grill. (If you have a top rack, you can assemble your pizza there and then move it to the heat to cook.)
- Once you have a handle on grilled pizza, you can cook as many at a time as you can fit on your grill.
- My recommendation: When your pizza is done grilling, sprinkle the top with a bit of dried oregano. It gives the pizza a gourmet look and extra flavor.
- Pizza is best right away, but it can be refrigerated and reheated.
*If your dough falls into the cracks of your grill grate when you place the dough on it, your grill is not hot enough. The crust should begin cooking immediately and will look “set” when it is ready to flip. Sometimes you will get air bubbles; just flip the crust when it is time, and the air bubbles will go away.