May 28, 2011

GOOP - Squash Blossom Pizza

squash blossom pizza

I adore Gwyneth Paltrow's energy and worth ethic. And lately, I've come to love her recipes. I can't wait to try this one for Spring Squash Blossom Pizza with homemade ricotta cheese and summer squash blossoms fresh from the garden.

For the dough:
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 packages, or 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon, active dry yeast
  • About 5 cups of flour plus more for kneading and dusting. I used Italian "00" flour but you can also use bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
For the dough, whisk together 3/4 cup of the water and the yeast in a large bowl and let stand until the surface has a few little bubbles and is creamy (about 5 minutes).

Add 1 1/2 cups water, 3 3/4 cups flour, olive oil and salt and stir until smooth. While stirring, gradually add up to another cup of flour until the dough starts to pull itself from the edges of the bowl.

Knead the dough on a generously floured surface until it's elastic and smooth—it will take about 8 minutes of hard work. Dust the surface with flour as you go—you don’t want the dough to stick.

Form the kneaded dough into a ball, dust with flour, and gently place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea-towel. Let it rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. You can let it sit for up to a couple of hours or even overnight in the refrigerator.

For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot and onion and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not ground, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the salt. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 40 minutes. Carefully puree in a blender until very smooth. Let it cool before saucing your pizzas. This can be made up to a week ahead.

For the toppings:
  • A thin layer of tomato sauce
  • A few dots of homemade ricotta
  • Grated parmesan
  • Torn squash blossoms tossed with a bit of oil (so they crisp in the oven)
To assemble pizzas, break off pieces of the dough and stretch with your fingers until quite thin. You can also roll your dough out using a rolling pin.
Now top your pizza. I start with pizza sauce. Be sure not to put too much sauce on (this will weigh it down) and don’t go too close to the edge as this will make it hard to slide your peel under the pizza.
  1. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Arrange an oven rack in the top third of the oven (but not on the top rack) and place the pizza stone on the rack. Let it heat for about 1 hour. Turn a large baking sheet upside down and dust the surface with flour.
  2. Place a ball of dough on a clean, lightly floured table or cutting board, and dust the top of the dough with additional flour. Use your fingertips to flatten the dough into a 12-inch round.
  3. Carefully set the dough down upon the floured baking sheet. Working quickly, put the toppings on the dough.
  4. Jiggle the pizza gently on the pan to make sure it is not sticking, and un-stick it if it is, putting a little flour underneath the sticky parts. Slide the pizza onto the heated pizza stone; make sure to start at the stone’s back end so that the entire pizza will fit.
  5. Cook the pizza for 3 minutes. If you have a broiler on the top of your oven, turn off the oven and turn on the broiler. Broil the pizza until golden, crisp, and a bit blistery and charred in places, 2 to 4 minutes (watch it carefully to see that it does not burn). If you don’t have a top broiler in your oven, just bake the pizza until the cheese is melted and the crust well browned, about 10 minutes, but go on how it looks, not the time since it varies widely depending on your oven.
  6. Use tongs to slide the pizza to a large platter and dig in!

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