"The Parolee" Pizza

Posted by francis keyser Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Taste Level: GR
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 40-45 min.
Cook Time: 25-30 min.
Difficulty: 2

This is the second part of the special edition of Cookingforzo.com. Where I am calling it "Cooking for each other" because we worked together to make this pizza and the pizza I posted yesterday. I want to dedicate this pizza to the man who taught me more about pizza than Chuck E. Cheese. At the Mom and Pop Pizza place I worked at there was a middle aged Parolee whom made all the doughs, sauces and sliced all the toppings. He would always say, "Want to see something," and show me how to do something with the huge machines. After I could do all of his work he would sit back have a cigarette and tell me about different crimes he and his buddies did back in the day. It was all small times stuff, crimes that make you wonder why people get put in prison for. He also showed me where he stashed a personal oven to bake himself pizzas to take home for lunch and dinner, (I used it frequently after that.) I learned the most when he would go off to do who knows what. I would experiment by flavoring the dough by adding sugars, honey, spices, butter, cheese, garlic, onions and whatever else seemed like it might taste good in the dough. Sometimes he would come back and notice that I had been adding items and be really pissed at me. The dough was his responsibility and sometimes it was really noticeable that I had added ingredients. Customers never complained about my experiments and I even got a few complements or rather my Parolee buddy got complements about the dough but I felt the pride!
(For instructions on how to make your own sourdough pizza skin check posting dated 7/7/09.)

Ingredients:
Toppings
10 oz fresh mozzarella (shredded)
1/2 cup white cheddar (shredded)
12-13 Linguica slices
1/3 cup sweet onion
1/2 green bell pepper (Juliane then cut in half)
1/2 cup pesto marinara

Crust
1 portion of sourdough pizza dough check posting for 7/7/09 or pre-made crust

Crust Brushing Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves (minced, about 1 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lime juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.


Tossing dough
What works best for me is I strongly throw the ball of dough down on a solid flat surface covered with a piece of wax paper until it is large and flat enough for me to easily balance on top of both of my fists. Then I make an X with my arms keeping my fists close together (backhand to back hand, the dough atop of them both) and I fling the dough upwards with my fingers as I simultaneously bring my arms quickly parallel (palm to palm) about 3-4 inches apart. As the dough falls I remake my fists and catch the dough atop them again in the X position and repeat until the dough has formed a 12-14 inch crust.

(Alternately you can lay dough on a solid flat surface covered with wax paper and squish flat with hands. Roll into a ball and slam the dough down onto your solid flat surface covered with a piece of wax paper. Using your fist mush the dough down repeatedly as if you were punching it softly but firmly (this helps get any air bubbles out of it.) Now using your finger tips press and stretch dough until you have formed a 12-14 inch circular pizza skin (you can also make an easier rectangle skin.)

Brushing Sauce
In a small bowl use a whisk to vigorously mix brushing sauce ingredients.

Pizza
Sprinkle corn meal onto a baking sheet and lay skin on to it. Use a basting brush to coat the first 2 outside inches of crust with your crust brushing sauce and then pour the pesto marinara into the center of crust. Spread sauce evenly up to the point you brushed with the brushing sauce (I find using a pastry spatula works great for spreading tomato sauce.) Evenly sprinkle mozzarella over pesto marinara sauce and then spread out your slices of Linguica. Sprinkle onions and bell pepper over pizza. Finally sprinkle white cheddar evenly over pizza.

Place pizza on baking sheet lightly coated with corn meal.

Arrange your oven racks to where they are on the upper and lower thirds of the oven. If you are using a baking stone as we do place it directly onto the floor of a preheated oven for 45 minutes (but you will be less likely to ruin your pizza stone if you place it on a rack at its lowest position.)

Place baking sheet with pizza on the lower oven rack and bake for 7-10 minutes, move pizza on baking sheet to upper rack and bake 7-10 minutes (if cooking a second pizza you can put it on the lower rack now on a separate baking sheet.) Slide Pizza off of baking sheet directly onto baking stone and cook for 3-8 minutes or until crisp and bottom is browning (if you were cooking a second pizza you would move it to the top rack on its baking sheet once you slide the first pizza onto the baking stone and of course you would move it to the baking stone once you have remove the first pizza and cooked the second one 7-10 minutes on the upper rack.)

Slide pizza onto a cutting board or baking sheet and use a pizza slicer to cut into 8-10 slices and serve hot with your favorite pizza sides, seasonings and sauces!

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