"Peppered Pepperoni" Pizza

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Taste Level: TF
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 40-45 min.
Cook Time: 25-30 min.
Difficulty: 2

I hate boasting but this is one of the top five pizzas I've ever had! This is another one of my ideas that started with a fun name and became a real meal. We've talked of opening a co-op bakery that sold sourdough pizzas, so now and then I try to think of the interesting and delicious pizzas we would sale. I've always been a fan of pizza places where every pizza has a fabulous name (even if they do not always taste fabulous.) When I'm thinking up pizza ideas I try to always come up with both a vegetarian and meat pizza. I'd just come up with "The Sasquatch" or rather I'd come up with the name and knew it is going to be some sort of earthy pizza. Something with pine nuts and chives but I still needed a meat idea. Then I thought pepperoni pizza was the first non-vegetarian meal I had after being a veggie head for a time so I want it to have to do with that. Then "Peppered Pepperoni" popped in my head! I jotted down some ideas of what would be on a "Peppered Pepperoni" pizza and the next day this is what I made for Zo and our company!

(For instructions on how to make your own sourdough pizza skin check posting dated 7/7/09.)

4-4.5 oz pepperoni
1/4 cup pickled pepperchini
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno (sliced)
12 oz fresh mozzarella (shredded about 1 1/2 cups)
1/3 sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

1/3 of a red bell pepper (diced)
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp brown sugar
kosher salt (to taste)
fresh crack pepper (to taste)

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

Crust Brushing Sauce
1/4-1/2 tsp fresh crack pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Parmesan (grated)
1/2 tsp Romano (grated)
1 tbsp 1 tsp olive oil

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.

Heat olive oil in small sauce pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and red bell pepper in oil until golden (3-5 min,) add the rest of the ingredients and bring to simmer stirring frequently. Let simmer 10-20 minutes.

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 red bell pepper 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 sauce, then cover with pepperoni, sprinkle with peppers and finally sprinkle cheddar cheese.

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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