I used to choose Trader Joe’s dough when making homemade pizza and was perfectly satisfied. That is, until I discovered how easy it is to whip up in the KitchenAid. I prefer my pizza with ultra thin crust – so thin that it crunches a bit with each bite, and this pizza dough recipe does just that. The first time I tried making my own crust, however, it ended much like the red velvet cake incident. I counted on my oven to monitor its own temperature and didn’t account for how excited it’d get when I put in the smooth doughy canvas; consequently, the center was blackened and I ended up with only a donut shaped edible portion – a new trend? Since then, I’ve improved my technique (and oven-sitting skills) and this dough is now foolproof.
I started making pesto when I got my first food processor. It was only 21 ounces, so pesto was about all you it could make (actually, I once tried puréeing soup in it and it took about eight batches). Homemade pesto somehow made me feel less guilty about the heaps of olive oil hiding in the store-bought kind. Once I began making my own pesto, life was all puppy dogs and rainbows until the price of pine nuts went through the roof. Costco even stopped carrying them in bulk because they’d have to charge a small fortune. As much as it pained me, pine nuts got cut from my shopping list, and I had to search for an alternative to the homemade pesto I once fancied. This new reliable homemade pesto (courtesy of Alton Brown), which tastes almost identical to the traditional recipe, uses pistachios instead of pine nuts, and, believe it or not, is completely void of basil. I still have a stockpile of pine nuts in the freezer for desperate times, but will use them sparingly until the crop improves and prices become more reasonable. Until then, I’m satisfied with mixed-herb pistachio pesto.
Crispy homemade pizza with mixed-herb pistachio pesto
Makes 2 14-inch pies
Pizza with shiitake mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, brie, and parmesan
- 3 cups baby shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces brie cheese, cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ cups finely grated parmesan cheese
- Pizza dough (see below)
- Mixed-herb pistachio pesto (see below)
- Spread thin layer of pesto on par-baked pizza dough. Sprinkle with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, brie slices, and parmesan.
- Bake 10-15 minutes until crust is slightly browned and cheese is melted.
Crispy thin crust pizza dough (Adapted from Whipped)
- 1 ( ¼ ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (about 100ºF)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling
- Mix honey and yeast with warm water and let stand for 10 minutes until yeast foams.
- Whisk together flour and salt in large bowl (or stand mixer). Add yeast mixture and combine. Add olive oil and mix. Using dough hook (or by hand) knead dough until it is stiff, but smooth and elastic.
- Fill sink with a couple of inches of hot water. Cover the bowl and let rest in sink for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Spread olive oil on pizza sheet with a paper towel and cover surface with flour. Discard excess flour from sheet. Sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal over surface (I only had polenta-style cornmeal, and it worked perfectly).
- Split dough in half (it’s okay if it deflates a little when you cut it), and press the dough onto the pizza sheet. Prick dough with fork to avoid air pockets.
- Par-bake each pizza for about 5-10 minutes until firm, but not browned.
- Top with pesto, mushrooms, brie, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan. Bake for about 10-15 more minutes until crust is slightly browned.
Mixed-herb pistachio pesto (Adapted from Alton Brown)
- 1 ½ cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ cup pistachios, roasted
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Chop garlic in food processor (or blender) until fine.
- Add pistachios and chop coarsely.
- Add herbs, cheese, salt, and pepper and chop until fine.
- Keeping food processor running, drizzle olive oil into mixture until it becomes creamy and emulsified.
- Serve over pizza dough with mushrooms, brie, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan.