Yep, you read that correctly.
Because sometimes, pizza is the answer. Also: It will be easier to find this post, later, if the title includes the word “pizza” instead of some weird, abstract, unrelated string of words like I usually give to posts that have recipes. See? I’m learning.
Anyway, what you might do with this little post is tuck it away for a day when you need it. Because sometimes (to repeat, for emphasis), pizza is the answer.
The purpose here is to give you an alternative to ordering pizza on some cold, rainy night when the pizza guy doesn’t actually want to be out driving around, delivering pizzas to people who don’t want to get out in the cold rain either. I mean, he’ll do it; but he doesn’t want to. And you’ll have to wait 90 minutes for him to get to your house, because so many other people NEED HIM RIGHT NOW, and having other options would really work out better for you, for him, and for all those other people.
Bonus? You can make better pizza at home than most of your delivery pizzas. I promise I am right about this one.
The high level summary? You’re going to make dough, divide it into portions, and freeze them for later. You’re going to take a jar of store-bought sauce, divide it into portions, and freeze them for later. Then, one night in the future, you’re going to thaw one portion of dough, one portion of sauce, and make pizza, at home.
If all of that sounds like a lot of work, I promise it’s not. But you do have to pick a day when you have 30 minutes (ish) to get things in order. And you have to have all of the ingredients at hand.
9 cups flour
6 teaspoons yeast
6 teaspoons kosher salt
6-9 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups water
1 24 ounce jar of Rao’s Marinara Sauce (or equivalent – but I dare you to beat Rao’s)
You’ll also need 12 freezer-safe containers or bags (6 for dough, 6 for sauce)
First, you’re going to make a triple batch of Mark Bittman’s basic pizza dough. And yes, Bittman does come off as a smug, arrogant, supercilious SOB; but his recipes are generally good, and this one is 100% reliable, and maybe he’s actually a nicer person in real life. (My cooking/writing friend who met Bittman at a market in Paris said he was lovely, so there’s that.)
Back to the main point: Take Bittman’s basic recipe and triple it. Or, if you have a 30-year-old Cuisinart like mine (too small to make more than one batch), then make one batch three times, which really isn’t that hard.
Make the dough, tump it all into one big, glass bowl, and let it settle and start to rise while you do these other things.
As listed, you’ll need 12 containers or bags that can go in the freezer. If you love the Earth with all your heart, then you’ll use something that isn’t single-use. Let us acknowledge, though, the environmentally unfriendly truth about ordering pizza delivery. There are no saints here. Let’s keep moving.
You need 6 of those containers for dough balls and 6 containers for sauce.
This next part is not complicated, so don’t complicate it:
Divide the dough into six roughly equal portions, coat each portion in a nice rub of olive oil, and pop into the freezer-safe containers.
Divide that jar of Rao’s sauce into six roughly equal portions using the six containers for sauce.
Put all 12 containers in your freezer.
Bittman’s recipe indicates that the dough will hold in the freezer for one month. My personal experience is that the dough will hold in the refrigerator for more than a year. Since the Sharpie marker marking rubbed off, it’s possible that the dough held for more than two years. It’s sturdy stuff, that dough.
When the cold, rainy evening arrives (or when you’re just in need of a phone-it-in dinner but also want to be good to yourself), retrieve one ball of dough and one container of sauce. Thaw them under warm running water (make sure there are no holes in the bag/container) or in the microwave, using the defrost setting. (Yes, I know; the very idea of defrosting yeasted dough in the microwave sounds like sacrilege. It’s pizza dough, for heaven’s sake. Don’t get fussy about this.)
The dough will need to be room temperature for you to roll and shape it, and it will take somewhere around 30 minutes for the dough to thaw and warm up.
So use that time to pre-heat the oven (to 420 degrees), get your toppings (I just use cheese – any cheese from the cheese drawer), and have a sip of wine.
When the dough is pliable, roll it into a nice pizza dough looking shape and size, and transfer it to an oiled pizza pan (or oiled skillet, if you want to go deep dish style, or cornmeal-dusted pan, if you like that texture).
Spread the thawed sauce over the nicely shaped dough, sprinkle toppings as you like, and bake in that preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. If you like, you can sprinkle some nice fresh greens on top of the pizza. (I like arugula; of course I do.)
If you’re doing the math, then you’ve already figured out that you’ve got homemade pizza in less than an hour – less time than it will take that overworked pizza delivery guy to get to your house – on a cold, dark, rainy night, months from now.
Or maybe tomorrow.
This post is 36/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.