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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Moon, Your Eye and the Pizza Pie



Pizza has always been a comfort food for many Italians.  I'm told that it's the go-to comfort food for many Italians when coming home after being abroad after a period of time.  This would be the equivalent of Sinigang na Baboy (Pork in Sour Broth) for the Filipinos.  Somehow, it just tastes different when you have it at home. 
 
For my daughter, pizza has become a food of solace.  But I suppose this is true with many kids these days.  Besides, it's quite easy to just pick up the phone and call your favorite brand for delivery.  But in case you want to have something on the cheap, here is my recipe for a Tre Formaggi  (3-cheese) Pizza.  Its strong cheesy flavor is a certified hit with the kids and even with your lonesome.  Make it look and taste gourmet by serving it with fresh basil leaves and alfalfa sprouts.  Definitely worth mooning over.

The Recipe

1 store-bought 10-inch pizza dough, preferably thin crust
1/2 cup cream cheese spread (i.e. Magnolia, or Laughing Cow)
1 cup grated Mozzarella, or any brand quickmelt cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, preferably fresh
2-3 Tbsp. garlic powder
olive oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 deg. Celsius.  Take out pizza dough from cooler and set on pizza stone, if you have one, or on a non-stick baking pan that has been sprayed a little with olive oil.
 
Generously spread cream cheese first, followed by the mozzarella or quickmelt then parmesan.  Sprinkle garlic powder on top and drizzle olive oil if using.  Place pizza disk in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese browns and bubbles over.  Take out and slice into 8 triangles with a pizza cutter or knife that has been dipped in water to ensure neat portions.  Serve with fresh basil and alfalfa sprouts.
 
In case you have more time in your hands, you can make your own pizza dough by following this recipe.  (While '00' flour is ideal, all-purpose flour is a good substitute):

2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups lukewarm water, divided
3 1/2 cups '00' flour or pizza flour, plus additional for handling
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Stir with fork until well mixed.  Cover the bowl with a dry towel for 30 minutes.  After this time, check if the mixture becomes foamy.  If so, continue to the next phase.  If not, throw away the mixture and start again.
 
When yeast is foamy, add the salt, olive oil and remaining water.  Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time. 
 
Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough for 5-7 minutes or until dough is no longer sticky.  Form the dough into a ball and coat with olive oil.  Place dough in a bowl, cover with a towel and set it in a warm place.  Let dough rise for 1 hour or longer.
 
After dough rises, dust your hands with flour and re-knead the dough for about 2 minutes.  Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and using your hands, shape each into a flat disk.  Cover and let rise another 30 minutes. 
 
Using flour covered hands, flatten disk further by pressing outward until you reach your desired thickness and size.

Normally, this recipe makes 4 10-inch disks.

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