The reason for my absence from the blogosphere for the past two-three weeks is that my aai-baba are visiting us. And last week we were visiting my in-laws in Seattle. If you get the chance to visit Seattle around April, do try and visit the Tulip festival that is celebrated around this time every year. Its a sight you should never miss.
Now getting back to the recipe. I first became a fan of Wolfgang Puck when i had his four cheese pizza while waiting for a flight connection at the vegas airport. Thats when i learned what a difference fresh herbs can make to a fast food like a simple cheese pizza (sans the tomato sauce). So last weekend i made pizza from scratch- an adapted version of the four cheese pizza (since Mr. Puck is all for adaptation and improvisation) and our own desi-style indian pizza. The first day i made a thick crust pizza and the next day the thin crust one. Everyone at home just loved the pizzas. Hope you enjoy the pizzas- believe me -just give the pesto sauce-six cheese pizza a try and you will be hooked forever like me.
For the pizza dough (Makes 12 thin crust pizzas and 7-8 thick crust pizzas)
1 tsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water (105-110 degree)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil and more for brushing
For the pesto sauce (Makes 1/4th cup)
2 tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp olive oil
12-14 medium fresh basil leaves
a pinch of salt
For the tomato sauce (Makes 3/4th cup)
3 boiled and peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh oregano
salt to taste
For the pizza toppings
Chopped Roma tomatoes (oven dried)
E.V.O.O (extra-virgin olive oil)
finely chopped garlic
finely chopped onions
chopped green peppers
1 packet shredded Italian six-cheese topping
1. For the pesto sauce, first put the olive oil and garlic in a blender and blend it, next add the pine nuts and blend some more and finally add the basil and blend. Makes 1/4th cup pesto sauce.
2. For the tomato sauce, blend the boiled and peeled tomatoes with the chopped onion and garlic. Remove in a cooking pan and boil it with the fresh herbs till it becomes thick in consistency- i.e decreases to almost 1/3rd (should be spreadable but not runny). Set aside.
3. For the pizza toppings, chop the herbs, the green peppers, the tomatoes and the onions and keep them handy.
4. For the oven-dried tomatoes- slice the tomatoes thinly, brush them with some olive oil, sprinkle some garlic, and some herbs and put them in the oven for 10 -15 minutes at 250 degrees.
5. For the pizza dough, mix the salt and the all-purpose flour well. Add the olive oil and mix again. Separately in 1/4th cup of warm water, add in the yeast and 1 tsp of sugar. If the water is too hot (more than 110 degrees) it will kill the yeast and if its too cold the yeast wont rise. To make the yeast rise remember to add 1 tsp of sugar. Keep aside for 10 minutes. The yeast should double in size. Add this to the all-purpose flour mixture and add in the remaining 3/4th cup of warm water and knead the flour till it all comes together as a dough. Knead well and brush with some olive oil. Cover with a thin muslin cloth and keep aside for 1 hour. The dough should have doubled in size.
6. Make small balls the size of an orange (for thick crust) or smaller (for thin crust) and pat out and stretch with your hand. Roll out with a rollling pin on a flat surface.Use flour to brush if needed and make 8 inch pizzas.
7. For the pesto-sauce pizza, brush the rolled out pizza crust with the pesto sauce, add some shredded cheese and then top with some freshly chopped basil, thyme and oregano, oven dried tomatoes and some sun-dried tomatoes and then finally top with some more shredded Italian six-cheese. (you can use whatever Italian cheese you have on hand)
8. Place the pizza on the pizza tray and put it in a pre-heated oven (500 degrees) and bake for 15 minutes. Every oven has a different temperature setting- so i baked the pizza at 300 degrees for 10 minutes and then increase the temperature to 500 degrees and bake some more till the bottom and top both have a golden crust.
9. For the indian desi pizza, brush the rolled out pizza crust with the tomato sauce, add some shredded cheese, green peppers, onions and then top it with some more cheese and bake it in the same way as above.