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Pan Pizza for a Gathering
Chris Chisholm, CSW
Snug Harbor Wine
Continuing on our theme of easy food for entertaining, I give you the humble yet versatile pizza.
Start with store-bought dough (we’re making this easy, right?), and leave it out on the counter so that it warms up to room temperature. This may take several hours, but it makes stretching the dough much easier. Grab a large sheet tray and roll, stretch, and pull the dough to fill the tray as best you can. Who cares if it’s perfect?
Now that you have the dough in the pan, get interesting with the toppings (skip the pepperoni) and make it a gastronomic flat-bread creation.
Here is a basic tip: anything you would have as a pasta sauce or as a side dish would go great on a pizza. Yes, tomato sauce is fine, but it can be messy during a holiday party. How about brussel spouts and bacon, broccoli and cheese, or prosciutto and a fried egg– seriously! Two favorites of mine: goat cheese, figs, caramelized onion, balsamic vinegar, and arugula, or apple, roasted fennel, prosciutto, and parmigiano reggiano.
What you need to consider when selecting your toppings is whether or not they need precooking or if precooking them would add more flavor. For instance, slow-cooking onions for an hour will give you a more interesting pizza than raw onions cooked on the pizza. Using brussel sprouts or broccoli–or a number of other vegetables–may necessitate some pre-cooking (unless you cut them very thin).
Cooking time will be about 15-20 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven, set to 450°.
Another tip: Have a good pantry, and buy pre-cooked ingredients. You can get prepared roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, minced garlic, etc. in just about any grocery store. Use these jarred ingredients on your pizza, add some fresh cheese, and you have something great to serve your guests.
(this column is reprinted from Snug Harbor Wine’s December 15, 2017 newsletter)
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