No Knead Pizza Dough

It’s time for another pizza recipe.

Discovering how to make homemade pizza is one of those enlightening moments in life. I made my first pie a few years ago and have been experimenting with new versions ever since. To some, making pizza at home is nothing more than buying dough at a local pizzeria (or the supermarket) and dressing it with your own set of toppings.  I call that cheating :)  Gotta make the dough yourself!  Besides…that’s the most fun and fulfilling part!

One of the first posts to this blog, back in the day, was a pizza dough recipe that I often use.  Well it’s time for a new one. This recipe comes from a recent issue of Bon Appetite. It’s a no knead pizza dough by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NY.  The key ingredient in this recipe is TIME. Unlike other dough recipes out there, this one calls for very little yeast (and obviously, no kneading). The trick to this dough an extra long (18 hour) fermentation process. The result is a very light, rustic dough that will amaze you!

Recipe

Serving Size (three 10″ pizzas)

Estimated time: 20 hours (1 hour active, 19 hours inactive)

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • small can plain tomato sauce
  • your choice of spices (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried basil)
  • your choice of  toppings (I used mozzarella, sopresatta and arugula in this recipe)

What You’ll Need:

  • medium mixing bowl
  • pizza peel
  • pizza stone

Dough Directions {steps 1-9 follow sequence of images above}:

  1. mix dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. slowly add water while stirring with a wooden spoon
  2. use your hands to create the dough into a rough ball (do not knead). add a slight bit of more flour or water, if the dough is too dry or wet
  3. move dough into a clean mixing bowl (or clean one you just used) and cover with saran wrap. let sit at room temperature for 18 hours
  4. the dough will rise fully after 18 hours. spill dough onto a well floured surface and divide, using a dough cutter or butter knife, into 3 equal pieces
  5. for each piece of dough – shape into a rough square, fold 4 corners into the middle, flip over in your hands and gently (without squeezing air out of the dough) create dough into a round ball by pulling surface of dough from in to out (and under)
  6. place doughs on a PAM sprayed surface. gently spray doughs and cover them with saran wrap. let sit for another 1-2 hours
  7. dough will rise again
  8. at this point, you can either use the dough immediately or store them for later use. if storing, place each individual dough into a large ziplock bag (do not seal completely). pour some oil in and move dough around to keep it from sticking
  9. if storing for later use – when ready to use dough, remove from refrigerator and place it on the kitchen counter covered with saran wrap for 1 hour (for another rise…similar to step 6 above). if frozen, leave on countertop (covered) for several hours until dough has risen
  10. generously sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peel to prevent dough from sticking. alternatively, you can use parchment paper and spray it with PAM
  11. use your knuckles to gently stretch the dough out. once expanded, place onto the peel and stretch the outsides using your fingertips. this will take practice and requires feel more than anything.

Pizza Directions:

  1. preheat oven to 500F (let oven stay at this temp for 30-60 minutes to make it very hot)
  2. carefully pour tomato sauce onto pizza. use a spoon to evenly spread it out. don’t over sauce the pie!
  3. sprinkle with spices of your choice
  4. add toppings
  5. cook in oven from 8-11 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is melted

Tips:

  • I like to make a batch of several dough rounds (this recipe calls for 3). I’ll typically freeze one or two for later use (within a month)

Dark Chocolate & Almond Bark

I am a chocolate fiend. That should be no secret considering the dessert section of this blog is exclusively a list of chocolate recipes. One of my favorite chocolate treats is ‘bark’, which, if I didn’t know any better, was named after a doggy treat. I’m not sure what it is about bark that makes it a completely different experience than any other piece of chocolate. Maybe it’s the irregularly shaped chunks that it comes in. It feels imperfectly natural…as if it was a natural food.

The creation of chocolate bark isn’t a recipe as much as it is a reformation of a perfectly shaped piece of chocolate. The process is simple: melt chocolate, add toppings (almonds in this case), re-harden in the fridge and break apart with your hands! It may seem elementary, but the process leads to such a better experience that it makes it totally worthwhile.

Recipe

Serving Size (10-15 pieces)

Estimated time: 1 hour (15 minutes cooking, 45 minutes cooling)

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz your favorite dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup almonds (sliced, whole or chopped…your choice)

What You’ll Need:

  • small, shallow baking pan
  • heatproof bowl
  • small pot
  • parchment paper

Directions:

  1. pour 1″ of water in a pot and bring to a simmer. lower heat to low and create a double broiler (by placing bowl on top of the pot)
  2. break chocolate into smaller pieces and melt in the bowl
  3. once melted, add almonds to the chocolate and stir
  4. line baking sheet with parchment paper
  5. pour melted chocolate into lined baking pan
  6. place into the fridge for 2 hours or freezer for 1 hour
  7. once fully solid, break sheet of chocolate into smaller pieces and serve (break pieces using your hands, but covered in parchment paper to avoid melting)

Spaghetti with Ramps

Your secret ingredient is…RAMPS.

That was the thought that entered my mind yesterday afternoon. We were deep in heart of Jersey at a venue called Ninety Acres Culinary Center in Far Hills, NJ. Picture a huge estate with endless rolling hills and a beautiful brick cottage at the top of a long, windy hill. That’s where we were when we met Ben and Jared, two prospective partners in our latest business venture. Ben, a devoted foodie, was generous enough to gift us a freshly picked batch of ‘ramps’ from his garden.

I accepted the friendly gesture without having a clue how to actually prepare them! That said, I was totally up for the challenge. I imagined myself on the set of Chopped or Iron Chef, being introduced to a secret ingredient.

After scouring the internet, I decided to incorporate them into one of Mario Batali‘s spaghetti dishes . I’ve been making a lot of pasta lately and loved the idea of introducing ramps into a dish I knew would taste good. As part of the recipe, I separated the ramps into root bulbs and leaves (discarding the stems). I ended up with an herbal root similar to garlic/onion/shallot and a leafy vegetable that resembles spinach in consistency.

The end-result was delicious! In stepping up to the challenge, I educated myself on ramps and successfully incorporated a completely new, seasonal ingredient into a great recipe.

ramps - separated into chopped root and leaves

sautéed with olive oil and red pepper flakes

Recipe

Serving Size (2 people)

Estimated time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • batch of ramps (around 10 pieces)
  • 1/2 box of spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • kosher salt to taste

What You’ll Need:

  1. medium pot with lid
  2. large frying pan
  3. salad spinner (optional)

Directions:

  1. cut root bulbs off of ramps. using your hands, remove the loose layer of skin from the bulbs and wash them
  2. cut ramps leaves off of stems, wash/dry them (I used a salad spinner to dry the leaves) and cut them in half (lengthwise)
  3. finely dice ramp bulbs (like you would garlic)
  4. fill medium pot 2/3 with water and add a tablespoon of salt. cover the pot and bring to a boil
  5. once boiling, add pasta and cook for 9-10 minutes until al-dente (test a strand of pasta near the end for doneness)
  6. after 5 minutes of cooking, heat olive oil in a separate frying pan (low-medium heat)
  7. add diced ram roots to the pan and cook for a few minutes until tender
  8. add a teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes to the pan and stir
  9. once pasta is 1 minutes away from completion, add ramp leaves to the frying pan and allow them to wilt
  10. once pasta is complete, use tongs to remove pasta from the pot and into the frying pan
  11. raise frying pan temperature to medium/high and cook or 2-3 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated
  12. mix in breadcrumbs and serve
  13. drizzle olive oil over the plated pasta

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