Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian Pizza

I love pizza!  One of my favorite types of pizza is the thick crust Sicilian Style pizza.  With a crust to topping ratio over 5:1, this pizza is like one giant bread stick.  I have been looking for a good crust recipe for a while.  I finally found one that my family loves. Actually Dana said it was the best pizza that I have ever made.  Now that is a good endorsement.

Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian Pizza

In the bowl of your mixer combine the water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until it starts to foam.

Allow the mixture to foam

Add 3 cups of flour, salt and 1 tbs of olive oil. Mix slowly with a dough hook until a ball starts to form.

Allow the dough to come together

With the dough hook kneading the dough, Slowly add flour 1 tbs at a time until a smooth ball forms. Roughly 1/2 cup more. Once a smooth ball forms continue to knead for 5 minutes.

Nice dough ball

Place the dough ball in a oiled ball and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.

Stretch onto a sheet pan

Oil a 13×18 half sheet pan and roll the dough ball onto it. Stretch the dough until it almost reaches the edges. Don’t worry if it does not reach the edges. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until the dough rises above the edge of the pan.

Allow the dough to rise

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the dough has done its second rise, Press the dough out to the edges.

Coat with sauce

Cover with the sauce. Don’t go light on the sauce as the dough is pretty thick.

Cover with your favorite toppings

Then cover with cheese and your favorite toppings.

Nice and browned

Place into the preheated oven and cook 15-20 minutes or until the edges and cheese brown.

Slice and eat

Remove, cut into slices and eat.

Sicilian Pizza

Absolutely delicious!

Sicilian Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
The most delicious thick crust Sicilian Pizza around.
Ingredients
Pizza
  • 1 dough, recipe below
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 8 oz cheese
  • favorite toppings
Dough
  • 1½ c. warm water
  • 1½ tbsp. dry yeast
  • 4 c. bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of your mixer combine the water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until it starts to foam.
  2. Add 3 cups of flour, salt and 1 tbs of olive oil. Mix slowly with a dough hook until a ball starts to form.
  3. With the dough hook kneading the dough, Slowly add flour 1 tbs at a time until a smooth ball forms. Roughly ½ cup more. Once a smooth ball forms continue to knead for 5 minutes.
  4. Place the dough ball in a oiled ball and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
  5. Oil a 13x18 half sheet pan and roll the dough ball onto it. Stretch the dough until it almost reaches the edges. Don't worry if it does not reach the edges. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until the dough rises above the edge of the pan.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Once the dough has done its second rise, Press the dough out to the edges.
  8. Cover with the sauce. Don't go light on the sauce as the dough is pretty thick.
  9. Then cover with cheese and your favorite toppings.
  10. Place into the preheated oven and cook 15-20 minutes or until the edges and cheese brown.
  11. Remove and eat.

Adapted from http://pizza.about.com/od/TraditionalPizza/r/Sicilian-Style-Square-Pizza-Recipe.htm

Ultimate Pizza Dough

Ultimate Pizza Dough

Ultimate Pizza Dough

I love pizza.  However, I have never been able to recreate pizzeria style pizzas.  Then I stumbled upon High Gluten Flour.  I know what you are thinking, Rex is bucking the trend of gluten free. It is true, gluten can be your friend.  Especially when you are making pizza dough.  I am not talking about bread flour, I am talking about super flour with a gluten content of 12% or more.  I picked up this super flour at Restaurant Depot.  You can buy similar stuff online at Amazon and other retailers.

I used to think that my old dough was good, but this new dough is amazing.  The only real difference was the flour.  High gluten flour allows you to have perfect dough that forms into perfect pizzas without ripping or tearing.  Plus, it gives you the most amazing bite ever.  I love this stuff.  Dana actually said that we are no longer allowed to order pizza.  Now that is quite the endorsement from the former New Yorker!

The recipe is simple.  Basic ingredients, but with the higher gluten content you get 100 times better pizza.

I then made a simple blender pizza sauce and it was on.

Ultimate Pizza Dough

You can make this recipe by hand, but it is easier with a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Making dough

Add all of the pizza ingredients minus the olive oil to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until ingredients come together.

Add the olive oil and continue mixing for a few seconds longer.

Once the dough starts to form a ball, turn the mixer to medium and knead the dough for a full 15 minutes.

Dough Balls

Place dough in a large oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 5 days.

Cold Dough

I then baked the pizzas using the kettle pizza attachment for my Weber charcoal kettle.  You can cook them in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until the edges and cheese are browned.

The kettle pizza allows you to make coal/wood fired pizzas on you basic Weber kettle.  Quite possibly one of the best attachments for Weber out there.

Kettle Pizza

I would totally recommend one, as it makes one of the best pizzas out there.   I have been using the kettle pizza for a year now and I have totally got the pizza making process down.  The only modification that I have made is adding a charcoal basket full of coal and wood to the pizza stone level of the kettle pizza.

Charcoal Basket

This adds more heat to the pizza level allowing the cheese to cook as fast as the crust.  With this one modification I have perfected my pizzas and can cook a pizza every 3-4 minutes.

Perfect Pizza

Check out this thing in action.  http://www.kettlepizza.com

Ultimate Pizza Dough
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
The ultimate Pizza dough
Ingredients
  • 3½ cups (16 ounces) high-gluten flour
  • 9 ounces warm water
  • 1 tablespoon classico olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. You can make this recipe by hand, but it is easier with a stand mixer with a dough hook.
  2. Add all of the pizza ingredients minus the olive oil to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until ingredients come together.
  3. Add the olive oil and continue mixing for a few seconds longer.
  4. Once the dough starts to form a ball, turn the mixer to medium and knead the dough for a full 15 minutes.
  5. Place dough in a large oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 5 days.
  6. I then baked the pizzas using the kettle pizza attachment for my Weber charcoal kettle. You can cook them in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until the edges and cheese are browned.

 

Baked Mac and Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese

The Perfect Mac and Cheese

My son Liam has been cutting teeth like no other.  Since he has had some teeth pop through, he has been loving real food.   His favorite is Mac and Cheese, so I decided to go ahead and make some. I wanted to reward him for all of the hard work he has been doing.   The best way to do this was to go with one of my stand-by cookbook recipes.  The Fannie Farmer cookbook has a great recipe for Mac and Cheese.  This cookbook is a great classic American cookbook.  It uses basic ingredients and makes simple and delicious food.  I whipped up some classic mac and cheese and Liam ate it up.  He may not be able to speak yet, but his plate was cleared so I knew he loved it.

Baked Mac and Cheese

The first step is to set up your mise-en-place.  Shred your cheese, measure out the ingredients and get them ready to go in small bowls. Make sure to buy a block and shred it yourself as the pre-shredded stuff has additives that keep it from clumping.  I also like to add the salt and pepper to the flour and set near the stove.  Measure out the butter, cream and milk and set near the stove in separate bowls.  Once you get this process going you will want to keep stirring so having the ingredients ready is a must.  I like to use some small bowls to do this.  I know that you can get them pampered chef or I like these ones from Libbey.  At this time also start to boil water for the macaroni.  Also butter a medium sized baking dish.  I use a 15oz oval corningware baking dish.

Shred the Cheese

Once you have your mise-en-place ready it is time to start.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the water starts boiling, add the macaroni to the water and cook according to the package instructions.  Remember, you only need 8oz of macaroni.  Most macaroni is sold in 16oz boxes.

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Then add the flour mixture to the butter.  Whisk until combined.  Then continue to cook for 2 minutes, continually whisking.

Add the flour to the butter

Then pour in the milk and cream.  Continue to whisk.  Bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Allow to thicken

Whisk in the cheese and continue to cook on low for 5 minutes.  Make sure to continue to stir.

Add the cheese

Add the cooked and drained macaroni to the cheese mixture and stir.

Stir in the Macaroni

Pour the mixture into the buttered medium sized baking dish.

Pour into a baking dish

Melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave and pour over the bread crumbs.  Mix thoroughly and then pour the breadcrumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Buttered bread crumbs

Place the macaroni and cheese in the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

The Perfect Mac and Cheese

Remove and serve.

The Best Mac and Cheese

The best Oven Baked Mac and Cheese I have ever had.  Basics are the way to go.

Baked Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
The ultimate mac and cheese
Ingredients
Mac and Cheese
  • 8oz macaroni (1/2 of a 1pound box)
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups good quality shredded cheddar cheese
Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs Butter
Instructions
  1. The first step is to set up your mise-en-place. Shred your cheese, measure out the ingredients and get them ready to go in small bowls. Add the salt and pepper to the flour and set near the stove. Measure out the butter, cream and milk and set near the stove in separate bowls. Once you get this process going you will want to keep stirring so having the ingredients ready is a must. I like to use some small bowls to do this. I know that you can get them pampered chef or I like these ones from Libbey. At this time also start to boil water for the macaroni. Also butter a medium sized baking dish. I use a 15oz oval corningware baking dish.
  2. Once you have your mise-en-place ready it is time to start. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water starts boiling, add the macaroni to the water and cook according to the package instructions. Remember, you only need 8oz of macaroni. Most macaroni is sold in 16oz boxes.
  3. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Then add the flour mixture to the butter. Whisk until combined. Then continue to cook for 2 minutes, continually whisking.
  4. Then pour in the milk and cream. Continue to whisk. Bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the cheese and continue to cook on low for 5 minutes. Make sure to continue to stir.
  6. Add the cooked and drained macaroni to the cheese mixture and stir.
  7. Pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish.
  8. Melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave and pour over the bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly and then pour the breadcrumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
  9. Place the macaroni and cheese in the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  10. Remove and serve.
Notes
Adapted from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook

 

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Ever since I found the pressure cooker in our garage, I have been thinking of various dishes to make with it.  So when I went to the store and found that short ribs were on sale, I knew I needed to make short ribs.  Braising short ribs takes forever.  At least 3 hours at a minimum.  That doesn’t even account for prep time.  So I figured this would be perfect for the pressure cooker.  I was totally right.  Don’t mean to pat myself on the back or anything, but if my arm was a bit longer I would.  These short ribs were awesome.  Plus they only took about an hour to make.

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Trim any excess fat off the short ribs.  Don’t trim all of the fat, just anything that is over a 1/4 inch thick.

MMM Short Ribs

Place the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Season the ribs and then lightly coat each rib in flour.

Flour the short ribs

Add the butter and olive oil to the pressure cooker over medium-high.

Brown the Ribs

Brown the ribs on all sides in the pressure cooker, about 8 minutes. Make sure to do this in batches so that each rib gets browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan

Add the onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs and saute until soft, roughly 5 minutes.

Deglaze the pan

Once the onions are softened, deglaze the pan with the red wine, water and beef base. Continue to cook for about a minute cook, stirring making sure to mix in the beef base.

Place the ribs back into the cooker

Return beef to pressure cooker.

Secure the pressure cooker lid and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat once pressure is reached and cook for 50 minutes.

Remove the lid and glance at the wonder that is Short Ribs

After the 50 minutes, remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally before removing the lid.

Remove to a platter

Transfer the short ribs to a platter and strain the remaining liquid into a gravy separator.

Awesome Short Ribs

Serve the short ribs over mashed potatoes, rice or even a parsnip puree.  Drizzle each portion with the remaining liquid.

Fall apart short ribs

Enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree - Pressure Cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Fast and easy short ribs. The use of a pressure cooker takes these from a 3 hour snoozefest to a week-night gourmet meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 lbs beef short ribs (about 6 ribs)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme sprigs
  • ¾ cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbs beef base
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In 6-8 quart pressure cooker, add the butter and olive oil to the cooker over medium-high.
  2. Place the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Season the ribs and then lightly coat each rib in flour.
  3. Brown the ribs on all sides in the pressure cooker, about 8 minutes. Make sure to do this in batches so that each rib gets browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs and saute until soft, roughly 5 minutes.
  5. Once the onions are softened, deglaze the pan with the red wine, water and beef base. Continue to cook for about a minute cook, stirring making sure to mix in the beef base.
  6. Return beef to pressure cooker.
  7. Secure the pressure cooker lid and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat once pressure is reached and cook for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally before removing the lid.
  8. Transfer the short ribs to a platter and strain the remaining liquid into a gravy separator.
  9. Serve the short ribs over mashed potatoes, rice or even a parsnip puree.
  10. Enjoy!
Notes
If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can make these in a dutch oven with a heavy lid. Instead of cooking for 50 minutes, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 3-4 hours.

These were some of the best short ribs I have ever eaten.  They were delicious!  If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can make these in a dutch oven with a heavy lid.  Instead of cooking for 50 minutes, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 3-4 hours.

Bacon Crust Pizza

Bacon Crust Pizza

Ever since my BreakFast Fatty post, I have been getting bombarded with emails requesting more bacon recipes.  So I took the bacon weave from the breakfast fatty, cooked it like my bacon crusted quiche and mixed it with America’s Favorite Dish, PIZZA!  Yep, I took this pizza to the carbohydrate free extreme (ok a few carbs in the sauce, but come on, bacon crust pizza).  I made the crust out of pure BACON!

Read more

New Pizza Crust

New Pizza Crust

Pizza Dough

I just picked up a new pizza stone and have been making pizza a lot.  I have been using my basic pizza dough recipe, but the other day I decided to mess around with the preparation and ingredients to see if I could improve upon it.  I did.  My new dough recipe is crazy good.

In a medium bowl combine the yeast, warm water (100-105 degrees) and sugar.  If you have a mixer add this to the bowl of your mixer and let it sit for 5 minutes or until it is nice and bubbly.

Bubbly yeast

Add the salt and oil and then mix.  Then slowly add the flour to the mixture 1 cup at a time. Mix by hand or on low speed in your mixer for a minute or until the flour is incorporated.

Add flour

Once you have a good dough ball, place it on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  If you have a mixer with a dough hook place it on medium speed for 10 minutes.

The Dough

Place the dough on a clean surface and leave it covered with a damp cotton towel or a tea towel for an hour or so.  Basically until the dough doubled in size.

Let it rise

Divide the dough into four separate dough balls.  If you only wish to make one pizza place the extra dough balls in the refrigerator.

Split into four equal portions

To form the pizzas, place the dough on a well floured surface and slowly work the dough into a flat disk.

The dough will make four 12-inch pizzas, or you can use it to make two 18in pizzas.

Pizza Dough

To cook the pizza preheat the oven to 550 degrees and place the pizza on a pizza pan or on a preheated pizza stone for 10-12 minutes.

When fully cooked, the crust should be slightly golden the the cheese should be melted.

New Pizza Crust
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza Dough
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
My new recipe for pizza dough. The best I have ever made.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 cup warm water (100-105 degrees)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine the yeast, warm water (100-105 degrees) and sugar. If you have a mixer add this to the bowl of your mixer and let it sit for 5 minutes or until it is nice and bubbly.
  2. Add the salt and oil and then mix. Then slowly add the flour to the mixture 1 cup at a time. Mix by hand or on low speed in your mixer for a minute or until the flour is incorporated.
  3. Once you have a good dough ball, place it on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. If you have a mixer with a dough hook place it on medium speed for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the dough on a clean surface and leave it covered with a damp cotton towel or a tea towel for an hour or so. Basically until the dough doubled in size.
  5. Divide the dough into four separate dough balls. If you only wish to make one pizza place the extra dough balls in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap.
  6. To form the pizzas, place the dough on a well floured surface and slowly work the dough into a flat disk.
  7. The dough will make four 12-inch pizzas, or you can use it to make two 18in pizzas.
  8. To cook the pizza preheat the oven to 550 degrees and place the pizza on a pizza pan or on a preheated pizza stone for 10-12 minutes.
  9. When fully cooked, the crust should be slightly golden the the cheese should be melted.

This pizza was amazing.