Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pizza: tomato and garlic, chanterelle and onion confit

We decided that the perfect thing for B's birthday would be a pizza dinner, and then cake and presents. We made two types of pizza. Begin, of course, by making a simple white bread dough for the pizza: flour, salt, yeast, water. Knead lightly and let rise, and then roll out on a floured work surface with a rolling pin. The rolling will knead the dough and develop the gluten horizontally, so that when the water expands, it will puff bubbles between two layers of thin crust.

One was a fairly traditional tomato pizza. Slice tomatoes thin, spread in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet, and sprinkle with salt and many cloves minced garlic. Bake 400°F until the tomatoes are reasonably cooked. Remove the tomatoes, and turn the oven temperature up to 500°F to preheat for the pizzas. Transfer the tomatoes to a rolled-out dough, and cover with liberal amounts of parmesan cheese and small cubes of a strongly-flavored pecorino romano.

The fancier pizza requires beginning a little earlier with an onion confit; the recipe is essentially from Chez Panisse Pasta Pizza & Calzone. (The confit keeps well in the fridge and can be prepared long in advance.) Heat four tablespoons butter or goose fat in the bottom of a dutch oven, and add four onions, sliced thin, and some salt and pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes, and then sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. After the onions have cooked another few minutes, so that the sugar caramelizes slightly, add leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme, two cups red wine, and 1/4 cup each red wine vinegar and sherry vinegar. Simmer one two two hours, until syrupy.

Spread the onion confit on a rolled out pizza dough, and top will a little fontina cheese. Then add chanterelle mushrooms that you have sauteed in butter or goose fat with some thyme. More fontina and the pecorino.

Bake both pizzas 10-15 minutes, until the cheese just starts to brown. Serve with a Zinfandel or Chianti.

No comments: