Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pizza, Pizza! (I miss Little Ceasar's): Supreme, Nana's Pizza

One of the most perplexing aspects of the BGE is its ability to be set up to distribute heat similar to an oven.  Combine this with its ability to get extremely high temperatures and you might as well have an authentic Italian brick oven.  From the first time I watched the owner's dvd (I watched it with FFIL when he got his XL years before I got my L. (FFIL says that I will develop egg envy eventually)) I knew that I was going to cook the hell out of some pizza.  I did a lot of reading on making 'za before I ever attempted and one of the most useful things I read about was the quality of the baking stone you use at such high temps.  I learned that the Pampered Chef (PC) stone we use in the oven would not survive the temp that pizza should be cooked at in the egg. So my first step towards perfecting pizza was to get a BGE pizza stone.  The stone is much thicker than it's PC counterpart and therefore more resilient. Before I could make any pizza I also realized I had nothing to get the pizza off the BGE with so I invested in a pizza peel from target.

One of the most important aspects of pizza is the dough.  I had read about Publix selling pizza dough balls in their bakery and decided that I should buy the ball rather than make it for my first attempt.  So I grabbed one of their frozen balls and let it thaw overnight. The next day the cook was on...

I had MBH pull the ball out about 2 hours before we planned to make the pizza and cut it in half about 1 hour before we planned to cook. The purpose of this was to let the dough rise and make it more shape able.  The dough was stretched and shaped into something resembling a pizza.  We then made the sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15-oz can whole tomatoes
1 sprig fresh oregano
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Heat the oil in a 1-1/2 qt sauce pan. Cook the onion and garlic until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir as necessary. Add tomatoes, crushing lightly with your hands as you add them. Be sure to add the juice, too. Strip the leaves of oregano from the stem and then chop roughly. Add the oregano and the sugar. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 minutes, until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

We added the sauce to the stretched dough and added the toppings.  On one pizza we added sauteed ground turkey, onions, banana peppers, green peppers, basil, oregano, and fresh mozzarella.  On the second we added basil oregano and mozzarella.  The second was a 'za modeled after the Nana's special at one of our favorite pizzerias, Varasano's.

(I have pictures of the prepped pies to add here)

I preheated the grill to 550º with the daisy wheel completely off the top.  I had the plate setter placed in feet down with the green feet on top of that to raise the pizza stone.  We made the pizzas on parchment paper and just dropped this on to the pizza stone.  I watched the pizzas through the top of the grill until they were done, it took about 20 minutes per pie.

When first stretching the dough, I folded it in on itself a few times which made it impossible to stretch.  I would not do this in the future as it needs to re-rise.  I thought the sauce was really good but the pizzas were a bit thin and fell apart when eating.  I would also cook on higher heat next time.  I think the quicker the pizzas get done the better so I would definitely attempt 600º+. All in all, this cook has just furthered my desire to perfect pizza cooking on the BGE.