Ammama's Favorite Pizza

May 14, 2018


Author Notes: My grandmother, known as Ammama to family and loved ones, has always been my culinary spirit guide. Among other things, Ammama taught me to cook, and the love and care she pours into the meals she makes has inspired me to do the same. This pizza is a recipe I made when visiting her in Singapore last year, largely born from improvisation: I used my favorite on-the-fly pizza dough recipe, Bobby Flay's from foodnetwork.com, whatever vegetables she had in her crisper, and store-bought tomato sauce and cheese that I brought with me from the US. Feel free to use any pre-cooked vegetables or protein you have kicking around—this is the ultimate "leftovers" kind of recipe. Brinda Ayer

Food52 Review: This recipe is part of our narrative storytelling series, My Family Recipe. Read the full story here.The Editors

Makes: 2 14-inch pizzas
Prep time: 1 hrs 30 min
Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients

Pizza Crust

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water, 110° F
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

Toppings

  • 1 (14-oz) bottle of your favorite pizza sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly into rounds
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced (if fresh aren't available, feel free to use a 4-ounce can of sliced button mushrooms)
  • 2 cups part-skim low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cups basil and cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
  2. Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour.
  3. While the dough is rising, mince the garlic, and slice the red onions, eggplant,and green bell pepper. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, sautéing until transluscent. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, eggplant rounds, and continue to cook until the eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. Add in the green bell pepper slices about 5 minutes after adding the eggplant, cooking until tender but still a little crunchy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down slightly, and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  5. While the dough is resting, heat the oven to 400°F (205°C) and prepare a sheet pan or pizza stone with a little flour or cornmeal, to prevent the dough from sticking.
  6. After the dough has rested, flour a work surface, and stretch out the dough with a rolling pin and your hands into two round pizza shapes, about 14 inches in diameter.
  7. Spread the dough with a thin layer of pizza sauce, and top with the cooked topping mixture, sliced mushrooms, and shredded cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before topping with chopped herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and serving.

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Pizza|American|Italian|Bell Pepper|Sheet Pan|Vegetarian|Dinner

Reviews (10) Questions (0)

10 Reviews

Tasha October 4, 2018
can this dough be made ahead and frozen?<br />
 
dennis August 8, 2018
Made this and the texture and dough itself was wonderful it just tasted flat..no real taste...what went wrong?
 
Author Comment
Brinda A. October 3, 2018
Hi Dennis, I'm so sorry to hear this (and so sorry for getting back to you so late!). Maybe next time if you try this recipe you could add a bit more salt to the dough, or a more boldly-flavored/spicier extra-virgin olive oil. Hope those things help!
 
rj July 9, 2018
I consulted pizza makers to figure out what went wrong here and part of the problem here is with how you say to make the dough. The warm water, yeast, and sugar should be mixed together separately and left to sit. <br /><br />While you mix the flour & salt in another bowl, the yeast mixture will begin to bubble up; once that happens, then you add it to flour mixture. Adding it in with the salt kills the growth of the yeast. Additionally, once the dough has rested for an hour, it's necessary to punch the air out of it with your fist several times. That should produce a less gum-chewy and airy dough.
 
rj July 8, 2018
The image looked so enticing I decided to make this tonight, but the results were mixed, and didn't even closely resemble your version.<br /><br />I followed the recipe exactly and cooked one pie in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes. The dough was still white and airy, so almost inedible. Cooking it any longer though would dry out the mushrooms.<br /><br />To experiment, I cooked the second on a barbecue at 500F for 12–14 minutes and that came out infinitely better. The dough was crisp and golden, but it still had a slightly airy quality. I never made pizza dough before so that's probably my inexperience. The dough even looked too light and fluffy even after it rested for an hour. I didn't use a mixer but made it by hand. Why the dough problem, excessive kneading?<br /><br />I don't see why you would add olive oil to a pizza stone when cooking at such temperatures. It burns the bottom of the pizza. Flour seems sufficient to keep the dough from sticking.
 
Author Comment
Brinda A. July 9, 2018
Hi rj, I'm so sorry to hear you got mixed results with this recipe! All ovens are a little different, so yours might require a higher heat next time to properly cook the dough. Another alternative is to roll it out a little thinner next time around (maybe you could even get 3 pizzas out of the recipe that way!)<br /><br />As for the dough, it sounds like it might have overproofed—what kind of yeast did you use? Were there a lot of air bubbles when you punched it down after it rose? Did it seem to deflate on the barbecue and get at all dense? The hour-long resting/rising time is just a guideline—you're more looking for the dough to double in size and spring back a little when you poke your finger into it (I've added this detail to the recipe in case it's helpful to you or others!). <br /><br />Kneading is good for pizza dough, to develop gluten and make the cooked crust nice and chewy, so I'm not sure excessive kneading is the issue here. <br /><br />Last, good point about the olive oil. I usually oil the bowl my dough is resting/rising in, so don't need to add much more to grease the pan. A dusting of cornmeal or flour on the sheet pan should work great. <br /><br />Hope this helps! Please let me know if you run into any other trouble!
 
Author Comment
Brinda A. July 9, 2018
Hi rj, I just saw your second comment—apologies for not addressing! The beauty of using instant yeast (as in this recipe) is that you can toss everything in together at once. Instant yeast doesn't have to be dissolved in warm water with sugar to encourage growth. You can add it to the flour straight away. This article is a great resource for more info on that: https://food52.com/blog/5036-demystifying-yeast<br /><br />And as you say, punching the dough is a really important step before shaping! I've made that clearer in the recipe. Thanks again!
 
rj July 23, 2018
Thanks for your responses, Brinda. I have an excellent high-grade oven; the problem is surely my inexperience with dough, not using enough flour, etc. I can typically replicate recipes very well, hence I'm probably just being impatient. Pizza is a special case. I didn't have beginner's luck! <br /><br />I used Fleischman's active dry yeast and APF, but pizzaiolas say to use double zero flour. I didn't know to deflate the dough so can't answer the air bubble question. I'll try again.
 
Dee K. July 4, 2018
It is a nice pizza dough recipe. I changed the recipe up by using thinly sliced cooked potatoes, corn and red onions instead. It took about 45 minutes to bake at 400F and not 15 to 20 minutes as indicated in the recipe. It is a keeper though.
 
Author Comment
Brinda A. July 9, 2018
So great to hear, Dee—that variation sounds wonderful!