Pizza Friday!

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Ahhhhhhh………Friday.  Been waiting all week for this.  And you’re just about to settle down for pizza and a movie.

Give yourself about an hour and a half before you want to eat: to turn on the oven, bring the dough to room temp and serve yourself some delicious, piping hot pie!

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About an hour and a half before you want to dive headfirst into pizza, take your ‘pizza dough like a pro’ out of the refrigerator and let it rest and come to room temperature on the counter.

About an hour before you want to eat, grab a pizza stone or baking stone of some sort (mine is a rectangular cookie stone!) and put it directly on the bottom rack in the oven.  Remove the top rack from the oven, altogether.

Preheat the oven to 550 degrees.

Thirty minutes before your desired chow time, follow instructions below!

Let the savory adventure begin!

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Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the bowl of dough and literally, punch your dough.

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It’ll deflate a bit…

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punch it some more!  Maybe 2 or 3 times, to get some of the built up gas out.

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Turn dough out onto parchment paper.  Divide the dough in half.

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Like so!

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Using your fingertips, “walk” over the dough, gently spreading it out without squashing all those beautiful air pockets,

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until it starts to look like the size and shape of a pizza.  Leave a little extra on the outside rim for the crust.

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Your pizza dough will not be uniform or perfectly round or without sections which are thinner or thicker.  But that’s the beauty of it.  It tastes amazing;  all of it.  And it looks like artisan pizza from the Italian countryside.

Don’t worry.  You’re doing great.  Keep going!

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Lightly spread each dough round with some pizza sauce, bought or homemade.  Lightly! Your instinct will tell you that it is not enough sauce and you will want to add more.  Do not do it!  Use sparingly!  Otherwise you will end up with a soggy bottom…

and who, tell me, who likes soggy bottoms???

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Tear up basil leaves and sprinkle all over both pizzas.

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No.  I am not making a cheese pizza.  I am making a pepperoni pie.  Again, this will go against your better judgement, but roll with it.  Give it one chance made this way.  if you don’t like it, make it however you want next time…

So add your cheese over the basil and sauce.  I use 3/4 pound freshly shredded mozzarella and about 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan.  I split this amount between the 2 pizzas.  Almost all of it.  Reserve about 1/2 cup.

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Then comes the pepperoni!  However many your little heart desires…and a couple popped in your mouth for good measure.

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Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup of the reserved cheese blend.  Give a light drizzle of olive oil over the top of the pizza.

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Slide, using the parchment paper, onto the hot stone.

Cook for 7 minutes.

Repeat with 2nd pizza.  Cook for 8 minutes.  (This is because the oven has cooled down from having its door open to remove the 1st pizza and put the 2nd one in!)

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Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

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