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Man/Woman Pizza

February 15, 2011

And we’re back!

Even though the holiday is officially over, I have one more Valentine’s recipe for you. Of course, it’s only relevant because I ate it on Valentine’s day, but I think it makes the case that any kind of food can be romantic if you share it with the right person. Pizza has become traditional date food in our house – something we both really love and love to eat together.

I think pizza is great date food in general. Pizza is relaxed; it puts people at ease. It’s messy enough to be playful without ruining your cute clothes, and you can learn a lot about a person by what they like on their pizza. Are they an adventurous type ordering anchovies or squid? A traditionalist ordering plain cheese or pepperoni? A food snob asking for organic eggs and arugula?

I wish I could tell a picturesque story about this pizza – maybe we ate it at a little pizzeria in Naples, or posh bistro in wine country. Since pizza-taste is so revealing, I’m a little hesitant to admit that the inspiration for this pizza was a short-running special at (dun dun dun) Round Table. The commercial for this pizza was a man and a woman disagreeing over what kind of toppings to get, and then reconciling over a slice of artichoke-heart-and-bacon goodness. Because of the cheesy ads (no pun intended), this pizza was imprinted on my brain as the “Man/Woman Pizza.” I have no memory of what the real name of the pizza was; luckily I did remember what was on it.

This starts with a nice, simple pizza dough. This no-frills recipe is very accomodating: you can mix anything into it, and it also makes excellent focaccia or bread sticks. It starts with eukaryotic micro-organisms.

Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let it sit until it gets a little frothy. Then add flour, olive oil, and salt. At this stage, you can also stir in dried or fresh herbs, garlic, whatever you like.

Mix it together with a spoon or your hands and then move it to a lightly-floured surface to knead.

Knead until the dough is fairly smooth and transfer it to a large, oiled vessel. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes.

This rose for closer to 3 hours, so it got extra bubbly. No matter.

Remove the dough and divide it into 2-3 pieces. Half of this recipe will make a 12-inch round pizza. (Or in my case, 2 smaller pieces and a small focaccia.)

Let the lumps of dough rest while you prep the toppings: green and red onions, crumbled bacon, spicy salami, and well-drained marinated artichoke hearts.

Roll out the dough and transfer to a baking dish or pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal. I’m improvising with a pie dish here, but it worked out pretty well.

Spread on a thin layer of your favorite tomato sauce, a layer of shredded mozzarella and a layer of red onion.

Then go crazy with the other ingredients. Don’t skimp; they’ll shrink as they cook.

Bake until you have a bubbly, cheesy delight.

Pizza Dough

Makes 2 round pizzas, each 12″ in diameter
Adapted from Joy of Cooking

2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
1 ⅓ cups warm (105° to 115°F) water
3½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoons salt

handful of cornmeal for dusting

1. Dissolve yeast in water in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
2. Add flour, salt and olive oil and stir to combine.
3. Turn dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth.
4. Transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes until doubled in size.
5. Punch down dough and dived into two balls. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
6. Roll/stretch out each ball of dough into a 12-inch disc. Oil and dust with cornmeal a baking sheet or baker’s peel and place dough on top. Let dough rest for 10 more minutes before topping.

If you are using a baking stone, preheat it a 450-475°F oven for 45 minutes before baking.

Man Woman Pizza

Ingredient amounts are approximate and should be adjusted to taste.

Dough for a 12-inch pizza (1/2 of the recipe above)
3 Tablespoons tomato sauce
½-¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup thinly-sliced red onion
4 large, thin slices of peppery salami, cut into quarters
⅓ cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained on paper towels
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Roll out dough per instructions above.
3. Spread thin layer of tomato sauce on the dough, and top with the rest of ingredients.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and the crust starts to brown.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Eric permalink
    February 15, 2011 10:50 pm

    As to not exclude anyone, an alternative Valentine’s Day pizza:

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