Jun 062013

Pizza a la Jim
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
There is nothing more gratifying than taking a recipe from thought to fruition; and then sharing the final outcome with people you love. Better yet, love to be around.
  • 1 package of dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Classic olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • My toppings today are: Italian sweet sausage—casings removed, cooked and drained, fresh basil (julienned—cut into thin strips), fresh tomatoes, scallions, garlic & mushrooms; and hand-grated provolone & ricotta cheese,.
  1. Lightly-Sauté your garlic, scallions and mushrooms with a little salt at the very end of the cooking process. Never salt mushrooms until they give off their moisture.
  2. Method for making the dough:
  3. • In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in ¼ cup of the warm water—allow this mixture to sit for about 5 minutes to proof. If the mixture does not become bubbly then you have tired yeast and need to start over.
  4. • In a large bowl combine the flour and the salt.
  5. • Add the remaining water, oil and yeast mixture then using a wooden spoon mix by hand until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl—about 10 minutes.
  6. Note: The pizza dough can also be made with a Stand Mixer using the dough-hook attachment. Dissolve the yeast as above. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of your stand-mixer. Mix for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients (including yeast) and on low-speed allow the dough to mix until it comes away from the sides and gathers around the dough-hook. Continue as below.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer.
  8. At this point your dough should be smooth and firm.
  9. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel (not terry-cloth).
  10. Place in the warmest area of your kitchen (I use the top of my fridge) and let it rise for 30 minutes.
  11. By now the dough will have softened and be very giving to your touch.
  12. Divide the dough into 2 balls, about 12 ounces each.
  13. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat this process 5 to 6 times.
  14. Place dough on a smooth clean surface (I use a marble cutting board) and roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm; keep the shape of the ball, though. This should take no longer that 1 minute.
  15. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 20 minutes longer.
  16. Dip each ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour.
  17. Place the dough on a clean, lightly-floured surface, and begin to stretch the dough from the center outward; while rotating the dough in a clock-wise fashion. Continue this process until the dough balls are roughly 12 inch pies. The outer edge should be a little thicker to contain your toppings.
  18. Your dough is now ready!
  19. Method for cooking the dough:
  20. Take a large pizza stone (30 inches) and place it on the middle oven-rack; then preheat the oven to 500º F.
  21. Brush the entire surface of the dough with Classic Olive Oil (never use virgin or extra-virgin olive oil for high-temp cooking—Sorry Rachael) then arrange the toppings in the following order: ricotta (toss it on, it’s fun! Or you can spoon it on), sautéed mushrooms/garlic/scallions, fresh tomato, julienned basil leaves, sausage and top with provolone –not too much as you already have ricotta.
  22. Using a lightly floured rimless flat baking tray or a floured baker’s peel (if you are going to be doing pizzas on a regular basis I recommend this), slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is golden brown and your cheeses are bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  23. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or sharp knife—preferably an arched edge, so you can rock the knife to cut. Rock like “rocking a baby” not rock and roll; although that would be cool too.
  24. Serve immediately and finish the dish with a nice salad—I added my mom’s homemade ranch dressing for the salad; so this one is special!


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