In our house, every Saturday is pizza night. Homemade pizza is so easy and so good that we really can’t stand to buy pizza anymore. Okay, at a place like 900 Degrees in Manchester, NH we do get pies made by other people. Plus their wine by the glass is good too. The recipe for my crust is from Gourmet magazine.
Pizza crust: makes two 8″ pizza shells time: 10 minutes to mix, 3 hours to rise 2 cups flour + 3/4 tsp salt + 3/4 cup warm water + 1 and 1/2 tsp dry yeast Soften the yeast in the water for about 10 minutes. Then combine all the ingredients and knead together. A food processor works well for this. Turn the dough out on a floured board and cover with a large bowl. Let sit 1 and 1/2 hours. Pat down the dough, divide into 2 balls. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rest 60-90 minutes. Grease a baking sheet that is no smaller than 10″ x 16″ and pat each ball of dough into a pizza shell 8 or 9″ in diameter. This works best if you do it directly on the baking sheet. Top each shell with 1-2 Tbsp tomato pureé or crushed tomatoes, right out of the can. Sprinkle each pie with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, then toss on some Italian herbs. After that, your are on your own for toppings. The photo shows broccoli, red onion, and olive. You can let the pizzas sit for 30-60 minutes at this point. Heat the oven to 500 and bake for 8 minutes. After taking from the oven, remove from baking sheet and let sit for a minute on a cake rack so the crust won’t be soggy.
Wine: Chianti Classico is our go-to for pizza. Hailing from Tuscany, the standard Chianti is not the same as Chianti Classico. Both are neighbors, but the wines are a little different. The Classico is made from 75-100% sangiovese grapes, with up to 10% of canaiolo grapes thrown in. There might, by law, also be up to 15% of merlot or cabernet sauvignon. Peter recommends cellaring a Chianti and a Classico until it is 3 to 5 years older than the vintage on the label.
Tasting notes: We like the Chianti Classico because it is a lighter-bodied wine than other reds. This makes it easy to drink with a pizza that has its own flavors. We especially like the ‘elbows’ — our word for a bit of roughness that you feel on your tongue. That makes it go with the tomato and other bold, bright flavors of the meal.