Saturday, May 28, 2011

Brother #3's Pizza Recipe

While I may be our designated salad maker, Dad may be our go-to grill guy (although he's holding onto that title by a thread because he gets too distracted by the news), and Mom may be our recipe guru (for maple walnut cake to braised short ribs and everything in between), Brother #3 is our official pizza maker.

I love Brother #3's pizza so much that I refuse to eat almost any other kind of pie. I make only one exception: a perfectly portioned hybrid gourmet pizza from David's. On a recent mother-daughter date I got the meat pizza (which features pepperoni, Italian sausage, hamburger, carmelized onions, Italian herbs, mozzarella & parmesan cheese) and stole a few choice toppings from the "awesome vegetarian" to create a mouth-watering combination.

Tonight, we decided to add a couple of toppings to our standard plain-Jane cheese pizza and the result was pure bliss. The heady aromas of melting cheese, sizzling pizza sauce, and homemade dough were enough to make me swoon...and that was before I took my first bite. Open your pantry, take stock of what you have, run to the grocery store to pick up what you don't, and make this pizza. It never disappoints.

Mostly Homemade Cheese Pizza with Broccoli and Ground Beef

Ingredient List:

The dough:
1 cup of bread flour
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of water (lukewarm)
1 packet of instant-rise yeast
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
A handful of cornmeal

The sauce:
We used a pint of store-made Whole Foods pizza sauce this time, but of course you can use homemade sauce or substitute for another brand if you have a preference
Liberal sprinkles of Penzeys Spices pizza seasoning

The cheeses:
As much fresh mozzarella cheese as desired
4 slices of muenster cheese

The toppings:
1/2 a pound of 85% lean ground beef
1 large head of broccoli


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the water and the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Then add the sugar and the rest of the ingredients. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes (do not skip/rush this part!).

In the meantime, cook the ground beef completely on the stovetop before adding in the broccoli (which will soften and absorb some flavor). Add pepper, garlic salt, and pizza seasoning as desired and let it simmer on low as you return your attention to the dough project.

Sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheet before stretching the dough into a pizza shape. Fold over 1/2 inch pieces of the perimeter to create the illusion of a crust (it never seems to truly work). Distribute the pizza sauce evenly over the dough before placing the meunster cheese slices on top.

Stretched Pizza Dough with Attractive Blob of Sauce

Even Spreading = Overrated

Shred the mozzarella cheese and apply liberally.

Shredded Fresh Mozzarella
(Insert Boyfriend's Cringe at My Distinctly Non-Italian Pronunciation)


Remove ground beef and broccoli from stovetop and decorate the top of the pizza!

Ready for the Oven

Cook for around 20 minutes (times may vary - look for a lightly browned crust)

Ready to Cut and Eat!

Note: We discovered that using fresh mozzarella cheese made the pizza more "watery" than usual. If you prefer crispy pizza, try a blend of cheeses like cheddar, provolone, asiago, romano, and parmesan.

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