Not So National Pizza Day
Do you know what today is? No? Me neither. But I certainly know what today is not: National Pizza Day.
Which is what I thought today was when I set out to write this article. Turns out though, National Pizza Day is February 9th. TODAY is National Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day….I guess we were not exactly in the ballpark. But let’s all be honest with ourselves here. When did we ever need a reason to eat pizza?
If you need a reason to eat pizza, I’m sorry but we can’t be friends. Pizza is basically my life source. I like ALL the pizza whether it’s a $5 dollar hot and ready, a frozen pizza, or a gourmet pie from my favorite pizza place back in Ann Arbor. I truly cannot and will not say no to pizza.
So, in honor of today, which is definitely not National Pizza Day, I’d like to bring you my favorite recipe for grilled pizza. I prefer to have my grilled pizza on a fall/winter night with my husband, sitting next to my chiminea while drinking a stout beer. But fall/winter is just when Tucson, Arizona starts to get good. For all of you where it’s starting to snow (I feel ya as a recovering Michigander), you can easily make this dough in the oven or just hold on to this sucker until the ice melts away and you can uncover your grill again. Either way, this is a good go-to dough. The toppings, well those are up to you. I’ll tell you two of my favorites but honestly, any way you want to dress it up, it’s all pizza… which means, it’s all good.
Dough – enough for 2 medium pizzas
1.5 cups warm water
2 packets of active dry yeast
2 teaspoons of sugar
4 cups of flour
¼ cup oil – preferably some good extra virgin olive oil
Suggested Toppings #1 – Spiced up Margarita
Marinara Sauce – you could make your own or be lazy like me and get you some of that Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
Suggested Toppings #2 – Mushroom, Arugula, Goat Cheese
Balsamic reduction sauce
Warm the heck up out of your water in a large bowl. Not boiling but pretty darn hot. If you want to get technical, you’d like it around 110F – but I think you know some hot water when you see it.
Sprinkle your yeast on top of the water and then sprinkle the sugar on top of the yeast.
Watch. Your yeast should literally foam and bubble up. If it hasn’t done this in 5-10 minutes, you’ve got some dead yeast on your hands and will need to scratch it and start over. If you’re not in to dealing with yeast, I’d highly suggest Trader Joe’s garlic and herb pizza dough. It’s pretty awesome.
Mix in the flour and oil until the dough starts to form a kind of sticky ball. It’s ok if it seems a bit dry as long as it is all sticking together.
Coat a large bowl in olive oil and drop the dough in. Lightly coat the top of the dough as well.
Let the dough sit in a warm place for 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Lightly coat your counter with flour and plop that dough on down. Knead 5-10 times and let rest for a couple of minutes on the counter.
At this point you need to decide what size pizza you want. I like individual sizes so I cut the dough in to four equal parts.
Roll it to desired thickness/size and you are ready to get cookin!
If you want to grill your pizza (I highly suggest it as you get a completely different flavor and texture of the dough) you’ll want to preheat your grill and let it get to roughly 400F with a low flame.
Put your rolled out dough directly on the grill (or use a pizza stone). Grill on each size until just barely browning. You want it to be sturdy enough to start putting toppings on but not dark enough that it will burn before your cheese has time to melt.
Top that sucker up! This is where you get to have your fun and make whatever your heart desires.
Put back on the grill on a low flame. Close the lid and let the heat melt your cheeses and brown up your dough.
Eat and enjoy on any day of the year, including but not limited to National Pizza Day.