I like to think of myself as somewhat of a connoisseur of pizza. The absolute best I’ve ever had was in Italy (no surprise) in a little off-the-beaten-path pizzeria in Florence called Il Pizzaiuolo. During my four months of living in that beautiful city, I ate there as often as my pants size would allow me …although who am I kidding, by the end of four months I was only wearing bottoms with elastic waist bands. Anyone who has been there can attest to the life-changing experience inspired by this pizza.
The beauty of pizza is that it’s been interpreted in so many different ways, with every region having its own take on the original. Thin-crust pizza; deep dish pizza; greasy, cheesy New York pizza. If you don’t love pizza then I will have to assume you’re not a human. So in the spirit of variety, here is one of my favorite pizza recipes (with the added health bonus of being whole wheat). It’s not delivery, it’s a whole lot better!
6 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons white wine
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 large tomatoes
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella
Few leaves of basil
Whisk the wine, water and yeast in a large bowl until yeast has dissolved. Then add honey, salt and olive oil and stir to combine. Add flour and work with your fingers until it forms a dough. If the dough is too dry, you may need to add a bit more water — I usually remedy this by simply wetting my hands and working the dough a little more.
Dust the counter with flour and knead the dough for a few minutes. Then form into a ball.
Coat a large bowl with olive oil, place the dough inside and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for a minimum of one hour until it is doubled — I often leave for two hours if I have the time.
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Dust a pizza stone or a baking pan with flour and set aside.
Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured counter and press down to gently deflate the dough. Form it back into a ball and let it rest on the counter under an upended bowl for 15 minutes.
Gently roll out the dough (this is not your stretch, spin and flip in the air pizza dough) in a round or square shape, depending on the pan you are using, until it is about one-third of an inch thick. Place onto floured pan or stone and top with slices of tomato and mozzarella (or any other desired toppings — I like to base mine on seasonal availability).
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese has begun to bubble. Sprinkle with slivers of fresh basil and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then slice and serve.
Yield: One large pie (approximately 8 slices)
Time: 2 1/2 – 3 hours