Cornmeal Pizza Dough (recipe follows) or about 1 lb (500 g) prepared pizza dough
1 tbsp (15 mL) peanut or canola oil
1 lb (500 g) extra-lean ground beef
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
2 cups (500 mL) thick chunky-tomato salsa
1 small sweet green pepper
1½ cups (375 mL) cubed orange cheddar cheese, about 8 oz (250 g)
1½ cups (375 mL) cubed Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese, about 8 oz (250 g)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced sweet white or red onions
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh coriander or parsley
½ cup (125 mL) sour cream
1 medium bag tortilla chips
- Divide and pat out dough in 2 oiled 12-inch (30 cm) round pizza pans. (Toppings are thick, so 2 smaller pizzas are better than 1 large one.) Form a rim around edges. Dough resists flattening, so let rest between patting while continuing with toppings.
- To make sauce, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Crumble in beef. Sauté, stirring often, for 5–8 minutes, until browned. Drain off any accumulated fat. Add garlic, chili powder and cumin. Sauté for 1 minute. Stir in salsa; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool until lukewarm or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
- Arrange oven racks with 1 on lowest level and 1 just above oven centre. Preheat oven to 475°F (240°C).
- For the toppings, seed and thinly slice green pepper. Dividing equally, spread beef sauce over dough. Scatter top with cheese cubes; top with tomatoes, onions and green pepper. Let rise, uncovered, for 10–20 minutes, until dough has almost doubled.
- Place pizza on lowest rack. Bake for 5–10 minutes. Use a spatula to turn up 1 corner of the dough to check for browning. When nicely browned, move pizza to top rack and bake for 5–8 minutes, until top is golden.
- To preserve crispy bottom, slide onto a cooling rack. Cut with kitchen shears. Serve slices with a sprinkling of coriander, a dollop of sour cream and 1 or 2 upturned tortilla chips. Pass additional salsa, tortilla chips and a bowl of black olives.
1 to 2½ tsp (5 to 12 mL) bread machine or instant dry yeast
2½ to 3 cups (625 to 750 mL) bread (hard) flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1¼ cups (300 mL) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
- To make dough in bread maker, use 1 tsp (5 mL) bread machine yeast and 2½ cups (625 mL) flour. Layer into canister along with salt, water and oil, using manufacturer’s directions; use dough mode. (Use the programming device so the dough is ready at suppertime.) Check at the beginning of the cycle. If dough seems too wet to form a soft ball, add some flour; if already a firm ball, add some water. When cycle is finished, place dough on oiled pans. Let rest for 10 minutes, then pat out.
- Arrange oven racks with 1 on the lowest level and 1 on the upper level.
- Preheat oven to 475°F (240°C). Pat out dough in oiled pan(s); form a rim around edges. Spread with sauce; then sprinkle with toppings. Let rise, uncovered, for 10–20 minutes, until dough has almost doubled in thickness.
- Place pizza on lowest rack. Bake for 5–10 minutes. Use a spatula to turn up one corner of the dough to check for browning. When nicely browned, move pizza to top rack for 5–8 minutes until top is golden. Ovens with exposed heating elements brown crust fastest, so watch carefully; adjust baking times for future pizzas to suit your individual oven.)
Add ¼ cup (60 mL) fine cornmeal to water; let soak at least 15 minutes before making dough to prevent graininess in baked crust.
To add a whole-grain flavour, substitute 1 cup (250 mL) spelt flour for same amount of bread flour. Spelt is an ancient low-yield wheat popular in Europe and has a fine, almost nutty, taste.
Soak 1 cup (250 mL) fine cornmeal in 1¼ cups (300 mL) water for 15 minutes. Reduce bread flour to 2 cups (500 mL). Use a bread machine or mixer with dough hook to keep dough extra-moist.
To replicate a pizzeria oven, buy a ceramic “stone” or enough unglazed tiles to snugly line oven rack. Wearing long cotton sleeves and long oven mitts prevents burns when using this technique. Place stone or tiles on lowest rack; preheat oven to 475°F (240°C) at least a half-hour ahead of baking. Make a pizza with a medium to thick crust for easier handling until you become proficient. Place prepared pizza in pan or baking sheet on heated ceramic area. Bake for 5–10 minutes, then peek at bottom. If somewhat browned and stiff enough to lift, remove pizza from oven. Loosen pizza completely, open oven and slide pizza minus pan onto hot stone. Continue baking another 5 minutes or until bottom is richly browned. Position original pan or a wooden peel next to pizza and slide on baked pizza. To preserve crispy bottom, slide onto a cooling rack; cut pizza with kitchen shears.