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A Philosophy of Pizza

I got this recipe from
Marcus Ranum:

"Most people don't realize how gosh-darned easy it is to make pizza
dough. So they go buy something from the supermarket that's
made of plastic, wrapped in plastic, and intended to be covered in
plastic. Let me give you some advice:

Don't Do It.

Make your own. It's easy. Take a little bit less than a cup of
lukewarm water. It should be just slightly warm to the touch. Add 1
tablespoon of sugar or - if you're into pretending that "natural"
carbohydrates are somehow better than processed ones - 2
tablespoons of honey. Add 1 teaspoon of yeast. Use the red star or
Fleischman's stuff or whatever. Stir. Let the water sit about 5 or 10
minutes until the yeast begins to "bloom" and foam. Pour it into a
bowl, add 1/4 cup of virgin olive oil, and then add flour until it gets
doughy. Knead it until it becomes smooth and slick. Congratulations!
Was that hard?

Now, put the dough in a large bowl, add a little olive oil, and roll it
around until it coats the surface of your dough-ball to keep it from
drying out. Put a towel over it and leave it someplace warm (oven
with pilot light is nice!) to rise for an hour. Take it out in an hour,
moosh it down gently, cut it in half, and wrap half in plastic: put it in
your freezer (or make 2 pizzas) (or throw it away) (or make Xmas
tree ornaments out of it). You can reconstitute the frozen dough by
thawing it in a microwave; it seems to work fine but is a bit crispier
the second time around. Or roll it out, paint it with garlic, cheese, oil,
and cook it and call it "garlic bread" and serve it with your pizza.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it into a pizza
shape. I use a bottle or a jar or floured rolling pin. Put it on a tray (I
use an aluminum tray with holes in the bottom, my wife uses a pizza
stone; I can't tell the difference). Heat your oven to max. Prepare
to put toppings on your pizza.

Hand-paint a thin layer of olive oil on the surface of the dough, add
toppings, cheese, and put it in the oven. The rest should come

But, since I've now saved you from the eternal damnation of
corporate pizza, why don't you take the next step and completely
throw off the shackles? Put down those tomatoes or that canned
spaghetti sauce you were about to put on your new pizza and get

Consider these as possible toppings (they are favorites of mine):

Instead of "red sauce" coat the pizza with a thin layer of basil
pesto, top with black kalamata olives, knobs of garlic, and prosciutto
Don't use any sauce at all, top with scallops, knobs of garlic, and
thin-cut curls of crispy red pepper, with ground black pepper dusted
over it
Top with smoked salmon, capers, and garlic
Top with shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, and slices of red pepper
Top with fresh basil, black olives, and chorizo sausage
Try some spicy chili, thinly spread, cooked under cheddar cheese
Don't put olive oil on it after you've rolled it out; put Nutella; serve
with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with powdered sugar dusted over
it as dessert
Experiment with different cheeses - buffalo mozarella is different
from the part-skim stuff you get at the store. So is swiss cheese and
ham on a pizza...

I called this article "a philosophy of pizza" because I believe pizza is
an incredibly sophisticated food. I used to spend a lot of time
planning how I would put chunks of garlic next to individual shrimps.
I found myself constructing each bite in advance. You can create
symphonies of flavors and arpeggios of textures - consider what a
piece of crispy red pepper will feel like in your mouth at the same
time as some crunchy crust and a big garlic-soaked chunk of shiitake
mushroom!! I used to create pizza for feeling, taste, and scent
simultaneously. Compare that to the gooey slab of BHA-laden
cardboard, red sauce and cheap fatty cheese you get from the
carryout joint."