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About Me

Phoenix, Arizona, United States
The most important thing in my life is my family. I love my dear husband and 4 wonderful children (ages 11 through 18). I am a stay-at-home mom (my dream job!). Some of my favorite things to do include cooking (and eating!), photography, reading, piano, flute, watching my favorite TV shows, swimming, traveling, and most recently...using the rip stick with my kids. I would love to attend culinary school someday & fit my love of photography in with that somehow. My dream vacation is Italy - something I was recently blessed to experience! I'd love to return and see more of that beautiful and DELICIOUS country! My days are usually full of running kids to and from activities - scouts, sports, music and church. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, but I absolutely LOVE my crazy life and the people I am lucky enough to share it with!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

PIZZA MARGHERITA (from Katie Lee Joel's THE COMFORT TABLE)

I'm a purist and my favorite pizza is the classic pizza Margherita. When I was in college, studying in Florence, we ate at Dante's Pizzeria almost every night. I always ordered a Margherita, and the crust was so paper thin that I would eat the entire pie on my own. Of course, I came home ten pounds heavier, but it was worth every bite!

Pizza Dough (I buy 1 lb. frozen dough balls by the case at the Sam's Club Food Court counter)
Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)
Cornmeal
Olive oil
Kosher salt
2 balls fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
8 fresh basil leaves, shredded

Special equipment: baker's peel and pizza stone (for best results) or cookie sheet

Pizza Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
4 very ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE PIZZA
Prepare the pizza dough (if using frozen dough balls, thaw in refrigerator the day before, then put out on kitchen counter first thing in the morning if you will be having the pizza for dinner that night). Put a pizza stone on the lowest oven rack and remove all the other racks. Preheat the oven to 5000 F. Let stone preheat for about 1 hour. While the stone is preheating, prepare the sauce.

Sprinkle a baker's peel with 1 tablespoon cornmeal and carefully slide dough onto the peel. Jerk the peel in a back and forth motion once or twice to be sure the dough does not stick. If the dough sticks, add extra cornmeal. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread half the pizza sauce evenly over the
dough, leaving a small border.

To place the pizza on the stone, open the oven and line up the far edge of the peel with the far edge of the stone. Tilt the peel and jerk gently to start the pizza moving. When the edge of pizza touches the stone, pull back the peel in a quick motion in order to transfer the pizza to the stone. Bake for 5 minutes. With the peel rotate the pizza and top with half the mozzarella. Bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust appears crisp and golden brown. Slide the peel under the pizza and remove from the oven.
Cool slightly on a cutting surface. Scatter with half of the basil, slice, and serve. Repeat the process with the other pizza.

FOR THE PIZZA SAUCE
Place the olive oil, oregano, basil, tomatoes, and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with pepper to taste. Reserve until ready to make the pizzas.

YIELD: 2 10-INCH PIZZAS
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES

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