Sunday, September 27, 2009

Impromptu Pizza Night

I like when dinner comes together easily. That transition from wondering what the heck to make and eat, to a ha! Last night was one of those nights. I was putting together the shopping list and menu for the week and could not decide what to make that night. Nothing was sounding good. Because of the diet restrictions for J, we have not had much bread or cheese in our lives lately, which of course is missed. J has been doing so well that we have decided to start slowly introducing these things back into his diet, and happily it has been going very well. We have found that he does better with natural, local sourdough than commercial yeast, so we will be sticking to that - which is fine with us.

So after struggling to decide what to make, my a ha moment came - pizza! I had a sourdough dough ball in the freezer, tomatoes and basil in the garden, and just enough cheese in the fridge to pull it all together. I set the dough out to defrost, picked some pizza perfect San Marzano tomatoes, a bunch of basil, and got to it.

The sauce was simple, and uncooked. I chopped a few cloves of garlic in the food processor, added about 2-3 cups of chopped tomatoes, a handful of basil, some oregano and rosemary (all the produce came from the garden). Pulse it together for a few seconds with a pinch or two of salt and you're good to go. Fresh, bright and delicious.

I only had a small amount of mozzarella on hand, so we relied heavily on some goat's milk pecorino which was nutty and rich and a perfect foil to the sweet tomatoes.

Clearly I am not too concerned about perfectly round pizzas. I went low stress, just slap them together, throw them on a hot hot hot baking stone (preheat your oven as hot as it will get for at least 30 minutes). The sourdough crust was good - light, with a little crisp and some airyness. It's not a well charred crust like pizza from a wood fired oven (still on the list of things I covet - and will one day make) but for an impromptu pizza night with the family, it couldn't get much better.

The fun thing about pizza night is that each pizza takes time, they come out of the oven about every ten minutes which is just enough time to pull the previous pie out, cut it up so everyone has a slice and hang out together having fun. By the time you finish your slice, the next pizza is ready. It's always a great way for us to spend some silly time playing and eating with the kids. Now that J is handling some sourdough and cheese, we will definitely be having more pizza night picnics. How could you not want to with this is how your kids react?