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Pizza (Pulp Fiction + Jim Lahey)

I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction. It got so much hype that I quickly lost interest. It’s a problem I have. I avoided seeing it until it seemed too late to see it and by then it had become sort of a badge of honor. People are horrified: You’ve never seen Pulp Fiction? Yeah, so what?

It was kind of like that with Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread. Everyone was going crazy for that recipe and I waited just a little too long to try it and then decided it was stupid. Until last month when I got a beautiful new Le Creuset dutch oven as a housewarming gift and for some reason decided to break down and make the bread. Turns out I’m the stupid one.

I am now a Jim Lahey missionary spreading the gospel of no-knead bread far and wide. I make that bread on an almost weekly basis. I now own Lahey’s My Bread and while the breads are deservedly the stars of the show I was curious about his pizza recipes. I was happy to discover that they are as easy as the bread and quite delicious. In a couple of hours you can make this amazingly crisp and flavorful pie which holds up to whatever toppings you choose to use. This weekend we had our friends Tony and Mikaela over for lunch and served an onion version of the pizza with a green salad. Everyone seemed to agree that it was very good pizza.

An added bonus is that this recipe makes enough for two pizzas. You can throw the other piece of dough in the fridge or freezer and have a quick weeknight dinner. We ate ours the next day topped with some tomatoes and fresh basil. This is probably the 4th or 5th time I have made this pizza in the month or two since I bought the book. It is incredibly easy and so very tasty.

So, don’t be stupid. Make this now.

If you don’t need two pizzas you can put the other half of dough in a lightly oiled freezer bag and keep it in the fridge for a day or in the freezer for a month or so. Defrost frozen dough in refrigerator overnight and then let the refrigerated dough come to room temperature before stretching and baking. If you have a scale, now is the time to use it. Baking is so much better by weight. Trust me. Recipe makes two pizzas, each serves 4.

Pizza Dough (adapted from Jim Lahey [1])

In a medium bowl, stir together the bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended, at least 30 seconds. The dough should be able to contain all of the flour, if it seems dry or if there is excess flour at the bottom of the bowl, add water a tablespoon at a time.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Oil two 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheets. (I used about 2 tablespoons of oil per sheet) Use a bowl scraper or a rubber spatula to scrape half of the dough onto one of the well oiled pans in one piece. Gently pull and stretch the dough across the surface of the pan, using your hands to press it evenly out to the edges. If the dough sticks to your fingers you can lightly oil your hands. Pinch any holes together. Repeat with the second piece using the other pan. Top with:

Pizza Cipolla

Preheat oven to 500° F.

Use a mandoline, or very sharp knife, to cut the onions into thin slices (1/8-inch thick). You want about 6 cups of sliced onions. In a medium bowl, toss together the onions, cream, salt and thyme.

Spread the onion mixture over the dough going all of the way to the edges. There should be more onions around the edges of the dough since they tend to cook faster.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until the topping is turning golden brown and crust is slightly charred. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Pizza Pomodoro

Preheat the oven to 500° F.

Use a blender or food processor to pulse together the tomatoes, juice, olive oil and salt until they are chunky. The mixture will be quite liquidy.

Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges. You want the sauce thickest along the edges which will cool fastest. Sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Sprinkle with basil and serve hot or at room temperature.