Impress Your Guests with This Homemade Gourmet Pizza!

We mentioned recently that we had made a pizza from scratch for Harris’ mother’s Italian birthday, so we wanted to share our recipe with you! 

Gourmet pizza is always a great crowd pleaser and with Super Bowl Sunday coming up, this might be one of the best entrees to serve up!

Here is our recipe that worked great for us. But the beauty of pizza is that you can dress it anyway you like, so feel free to experiment with your own variations! What’s your favorite way to decorate your pizza? Have you made it at home before? What tips worked great for you that you would like to share? Leave a comment and we will let you know if we try any of your suggestions!

Arugula with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Four Cheeses Pizza

The Dads: Pizza

For the Pizza Crust:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
¾ cups of warm water, not over 110 degrees
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

(Note: If you do not have a standup mixer, then mix it by hand using a wooden spoon. An electric mixer would be too difficult to use in this instance.)

Pour yeast into the warm water and allow to sit for five minutes.

Using a standup mixer first combine the flour and salt. Next, set your mixer to run at low speed and drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Pour in yeast and water until just combined. The dough will be sticky. Coat a mixing bowl with olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Toss the dough ball in the bowl with olive oil to coat the ball. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for one to two hours. It is best to place bowl in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead for the best flavor.

Punch the dough down and roll out to fit your greased pan (we used a standard baking sheet). Try to avoid stretching the dough.

For your Toppings:

1 unbaked pizza crust (as above)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch Kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1/3 cup basil pesto
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups red cherry tomatoes – sliced in half
1 ½ cups yellow or orange cherry tomatoes – sliced in half
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
4 ounces asiago cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan reggiano cheese, grated
½ cup ricotta cheese
4 ounce fresh arugula

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Place cut tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste in a medium size bowl.  In small skillet, heat olive oil, add garlic and stir for one minute and remove from heat.  Pour over tomatoes mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Set aside.

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Roll out dough very thin, dusting with flour and transfer to oiled baking sheet.  Drizzle a little olive oil over dough and spread evenly.  Spread pesto over dough.  Sprinkle mozzarella, asiago, and parmesan reggiano evenly over pizza.  With a spoon place a small amount of ricotta over the entire pizza and sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste.

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Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes. Then cover top with arugula, then spoon over tomatoes mixture.  Cut into squares and serve.

Bon appétit! 

Our Fresh Pasta Journey in the Harris & Dave Test Kitchen!

The Dads: Harris & Dave decided to learn how to make pasta and share with you. We’ve all watched the cooking channels and saw how easy it is to make so we decided to see if all that is true. We downloaded several recipes and began our experimentation.

We tried the method of using the food processor and realized you run the risk of burning out your motor and it’s not that much easier. Using the method of creating a well in the center of your flour directly on your countertop or cutting board and slowly working the egg into the flour worked just fine.

We also tried using different flour: Bread flour, All Purpose flour, and Semolina flour. We found we got the best result from using straight All Purpose flour. We were disappointed as we thought Semolina would be more authentic Italian but what we learned is Semolina was too coarse for this application and made the pasta too difficult to work with.

We tried recipes that called for Olive Oil to be added to the recipe. While we liked the flavor that added, it did make the pasta just a little more difficult to work with so we found less was better.

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We experimented with the number of eggs to use. While we loved the taste of more eggs, we had to balance that against tenderness of the noodle and pliability for cutting in the pasta machine.

We also experimented with cooking the pasta fresh right after you cut it, freezing before drying the pasta and drying on racks. We found if you’re not going to cook it right away, it is definitely best to let the pasta dry before freezing or it will stick together when you go to cook the pasta.

The end result is the pasta recipe which we will upload tomorrow! Stay Tuned!

Dave

Recipe: The Dads’ Perfect Chocolate Cake!

Who can resist a bite of this delicious, decadent Chocolate Cake?!

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Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients:

1 C Unsweetened Cocoa
2 C Boiling Water
2 ¾ C Sifted All-Purpose Flour
2 t Baking Soda
½ t Salt
½ t Baking Powder
½ lb. Unsalted Butter – softened
2 ½ C Sugar
4 Eggs
2 t Vanilla

In a bowl, combine cocoa and boiling water. Mix with whisk until smooth. Allow to cool completely. When cooled, preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour-dust three 9 inch layer cake pans. Cut rounds of wax or parchment paper and place on bottom of cake pans to help remove cake from pans after baking.

In large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, at high speed cream together butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. At low speed, alternately beat in 25 percent of flour mixture and chocolate mixture until fully incorporated – do not over beat. Divide equally into the 3 cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs bake when gently pressed with fingertip. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to completely cool on rack.

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

1 10 oz. Package of Semisweet Chocolate Chips or Squares
¾ Light Cream or Half & Half – Room Temperature
¾ lb. of Unsalted Butter
3 ¼ C Confectioners Sugar

In saucepan on low heat, melt and combine the butter and chocolate. Add cream and sugar. Whisk until smooth and holds shape.

Assemble and frost the cake. Enjoy!

Friday Grilling: Dave’s BBQ Sauce!

It’s Friday and we’re so excited for this weekend! We are busy working on our deck and can’t wait to start some outdoor cooking.

So in the spirit of our excitement, we’re making barbecue! Try Dave’s special sauce! In Leah’s opinion, it is smack-your-mama good!

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Ingredients

· 2 Tablespoons Butter
· ½ cup chopped Sweet Onion
· 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
· 1 cup ketchup
· ½ cup apple cider vinegar
· 1/3 cup of chili sauce
· ¾ cup brown sugar
· ½ cup honey
· 1/3 cup Worcestershire
· ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
· ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
· 2 tablespoon chili powder

Directions

Sauté the chopped onion in the butter. Once translucent, add the tomato paste.

Once the onions are browned, add the ketchup.

Brown the onions and ketchup.

Then, add the remaining ingredients. Cook until the sugar is dissolved.

Once cooked through, process in a blender. You can skip this step if you don’t mind chunky BBQ sauce.