Jim and I have been making pizza together pretty much since we first met. At the beginning I tried to impress him by making the dough from scratch. But as our relationship progressed, we started to indulge in the pre-made stuff, in order to avoid the mess and time commitment of making it ourselves. I’ll admit it, we got a little lazy.
But this past Saturday was different. With an unplanned afternoon in front of us, we painfully dragged out our food processor from the back of the cupboard. Candlelight and roses? Forget it. Bring on the flour and yeast.
Once the machine’s blade started swirling, I almost had another dough freak-out, as the flour stubbornly maintained its crumbly form. After a few minutes though, it all worked out, and a soft, sticky ball miraculously appeared.
We coated the pillowy sphere in olive oil and left it to rise for 2 hours. Before we knew it, it was time to punch the puffed-up dough, so Jim gave it the beat-down it deserved.
After we rolled out the dough, it was time for my favorite part: sprinkling the cornmeal onto the hot pizza stone. The aroma of the cooking cornmeal and the humid steam coming off the stone always remind me of the rustic Italian countryside. This time was no different. Then my neighbor’s car backfired outside. Back to reality.
We hurriedly threw on the toppings and put the pie in the oven. Saturday’s list included spicy sausage, fresh mozzarella, arugula from the Greenmarket, mushrooms, and some crushed tomatoes.
After about 20 minutes our pizza was done, and we waited a few minutes before sprinkling some fresh arugula across the top. The crust was crisp and light, charred just slightly around the edges. The combination of ingredients emitted a woodsy, spicy mix of flavors. We drank half a bottle of Sunstone’s 2003 Syrah, a full-bodied flashback to our California trip last fall.
We didn’t finish the whole pizza, but we certainly felt satisfied and relaxed. And happy. That’s what a little fresh dough does for us.