Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aruba Pizza

Well, ok so this pizza isn’t a cultural food experience like eating pasta in Italy or coq au vin in France. It mostly likely bares no reflection on the Aruban food experience other than it was the best dang pizza Pat and I possibly ever had.

We went to Aruba for our honeymoon this past September and it was fantastic. Water so blue and clear….palm trees….white sandy beaches….warm, warm sun…..you get the point. Basically the exact opposite of January in Indiana.

Anyways, we had just gotten done with a Sunset Sail one night and decided to go low-key and stop by a pizza joint, Tomato Charlie’s, on the island on the way back to our hotel. We ate outside under white twinkle lights with the warm breeze of the evening grazing our skin. (It is hard for me to imagine exposing any skin again as I sit here in my sweatshirt, yoga pants, wool socks and a blanket, but yes, in Aruba, you were always warm, even in a sundress).

The ingredients on the pizza are nothing crazy or unheard of for pizza. But there was just something about it. I have been dreaming about it ever since and decided to try my hand at recreating it this past weekend. We have made pizza’s at home before, but until that night I had never in my life made my own crust. It was such an exciting sense of accomplishment mixing the flour, yeast and oil together, forming it into a ball, kneading it and then (magically!) watching it rise.

Pat and I patiently waited for the pizza to cook in the oven while its sweet smell filled the air. Once it was bubbly and the crust was a beautiful golden brown we immediately gobbled it up. It was perfect! And for a second, we were in Aruba.

Really Simple Pizza Crust
From Smitten Kitchen

Makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza. Double if you like your pizza thick and bready.
(I doubled our recipe)

1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water (plus 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.

If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2-5 minutes. The dough will be a lot more lovable then.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (you can use the same one) or spray with cooking spray and dump the dough in. Turn the dough so that every side is covered. Cover it with plastic wrap and set it someplace warm with no drafts for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size. Setting it on top of an oven on low does wonders!

Dump it back on the floured counter and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under the plastic wrap for another 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to it’s top temperature. Roll out the pizza and toss on your toppings.

For the Toppings:
1 green bell pepper cut into thin slices
½ red onion (or more if you really love it) cut into thin slices
1 15 oz can of Dei Fratelli Pizza Sauce
8-12 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese (depending on how much you want) sliced
1 cup of mushrooms
8-10 pepperoni slices (again, depending on how much you want)

Cook bell pepper and onions on a grill pan on medium high heat for about 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Add the mushroom until slightly cooked.

To make the pizza first apply the pizza sauce. I didn’t use the whole 15 oz can, just enough to really coat the dough . (I couldn’t find any smaller sizes at my store). Then place the mozzarella cheese on top. We like to coat just about every inch!

Next add the rest of your toppings, pepperoni, peppers, mushroom and onions, then toss 'er in the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

I like to add red pepper flakes to my pizza before eating it…but that’s just me!

Here is the start of my yummy dough.

Stirring the ingredients together.

And forming into a ball!

I really liked the Dei Fratelli pizza sauce. It has a nice fresh taste that didn't overpower.

Do you like how we cut tiny slivers of cheese so as not to leave any space uncovered!

Our pizza right before we put it in the oven.

And now finished in all it's delicious glory!

Oops...it's missing a bite!

Two very happy and full people!

Last Bite: Making a pizza crust from scratch is not the scary at all! It is actually pretty easy and fun. Choose any toppings you like and go for it! You won't be sorry!

1 comment:

  1. Home made pizza ..I really enjoyed your blog.If anybody looking for best Pizza in Aruba, this would be the best one.Thanks for sharing such an easy steps.