April 20, 2019

What’s Cooking? Summertime Pizza

By Lucy McCullough

When you make pizza at home, you can add favorite toppings, control the amount of sauce and cheese and even compartmentalize the pizza for the fussy eaters. Grilling the pizza is faster than oven-baking and keeps the heat out of the kitchen, too. You can make your own dough, or purchase it ready to bake. The most popular cheese used is mozzarella, but a mixture of different hard cheeses is fun to experiment with.

Toppings might include lightly sautéed onion slices, sliced sweet pepper, mushrooms, black olives, kale, spinach, thin tomato slices, pepperoni, cooked sausage, bacon or other flavorful meats.

Pizza Dough (makes 2 pizzas)

3½ to 4 cups flour (I like to mix 50-percent white and 50-percent whole wheat)

2 packages dry yeast

1½ cups water

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour and yeast. In a quart-sized glass measuring cup combine water, oil and salt. Microwave on high for about 1 minute. (Or heat in a saucepan to lukewarm (120 to 130 degrees). Add liquid to the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Stir in 1½ to 2 cups more flour to make a stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover and let rise about 1 hour (until doubled). Punch down.

To bake in the oven, divide dough in half, place on greased pizza pans stretching and forming edges. Add thin layer of sauce, toppings and cheese. Bake in preheated oven 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, until cheese is melted, bubbly and lightly browned.

Grilling the Pizza

Remove grill’s warming shelf if possible, making it easier to cook and turn the dough. Heat the grill to 500 degrees. Assemble sauce, toppings and cheese and have them ready along with tongs or spatula.

Stretch the prepared dough or press into a thin round. Brush or spray one side with oil. Place the oil side down on the heated grill. Cook for about 3 minutes, checking often. You will want grill marks, but not crispy. Flip the dough with the tongs/spatula. Quickly top the pizza with a thin layer of sauce, cheese and toppings (Caution! Too many toppings will prevent the pizza from cooking well).

Lower the lid and cook 3 to 5 minutes. If the pizza is cooking too fast, turn the heat down or move to cooler area on the grill.

“Let’s eat!”

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