I have not always been a pizza lover. Growing up I didn't get it. When I was a kid, if you asked me what my favorite food was it wasn't pizza. As long as I can remember my favorite food was my daddy's fried rice, and steak. I didn't get the appeal of greasy pizza that came in a cardboard box. Or the pizza that you bought in the freezer aisle, which was always too crispy, or too artificial tasting.
But as I got older, I started to eat out on my own, and really tasted pizza. Like, good pizza. We have some great places that specialize in gourmet pizza around the Twin Cities. And I have had the pleasure of tasting a few. But, since my favorite place to get pizza doesn't deliver to my hood, and because most of the appeal of getting pizza is the convenience of delivery, I had to take matters into my own hands. And I am now a proud lover of homemade pizza.
The key to good homemade pizza is the crust. And for this I turn to Baking Illustrated. I first saw this on Annie's blog, and it is my absolute favorite pizza crust, and is extremely versatile. It is thick, and chewy, but also has a nice crusty crispiness when cooked on a pizza stone (which is also a crucial element to pizzeria quality pizza at home). But I don't always have bread flour on hand, so when that happens The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Pizza Crust, it comes in at a close second.
Usually pizza night at my house means defrosting and letting rise a dough ball that was frozen the last time a made a big batch, and throwing whatever I can find in the fridge in the crust. But last week was Blogger Tribute Week, and I made a lot of blogger recipes that didn't make the blog. This is one of them. And it was oh. so. good.
Traditional Pizza Crust
Makes: 2 large pizza crusts*
*For the purposes of pleasing my loved ones, and trying not to have leftovers because we would be out of town the following 4 days I took one crust, divided it into 2 and made 2 smaller pizzas, one white clam, one traditional (tomato sauce, sausage, onions, mushrooms, peppers). And I ended up rolling the crusts a little bit thinner than I usually do. They weren't as puffy and chewy as it is when I make one large crust, but it was still delicious, and slightly chewy, and crispy!
** And truth be told it is better for you to use a pizza stone. Your crust will undoubtedly be crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. But I don't have one, so I dust a large cookie sheet with cornmeal, and bake close to the bottom of my oven.
White Clam Sauce
Makes: Approximately 2 cups sauce, enough for 1-12" pizza, or 1lb linguine
Lightly Adapted from Good Clean Fun
1 Tbsp.unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. flour
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 (6.5 oz) cans of minced clams, drained, juices reserved
1/4 cup reserved clam juice
1/4 cup cream or half and half
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Combine butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. once butter has melted, add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add flour and stir for 1 minute. pour in wine and stir well until smooth.
- Add clam juice and simmer until reduced by half. stir in clams, cream, and parmesan and stir well until smooth.
- Spread on pizza crust, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (if using), and bake according to crust directions
-Toss with cooked linguine, and sprinkle with parmesan. sprinkle with fresh parsley and enjoy!