Monday, January 13, 2014

Taking Off

"To Begin, begin." -William Wordsworth

Things are looking up! Since we last saw each other, it would appear that I've gotten a job at a pizzeria. Well, technically, I haven't started or officially been hired, but after an interview and a visit back (persistence pays off!) I think I'm in! Now, I'll have what's probably the lowest job on the totem pole - what else would they give a 22-year-old just out of school with no experience in the food industry? BUT! I have my foot in the door. This is where you start, right? Right. Humble beginnings. I'm just looking forward to getting into an environment that is focused on bringing people great food. So, to celebrate, I thought tonight I would whip up some pizza of my own!

I have my own wild yeast starter that's been bubbling away for about 16 months (!!!) and aside from using it to make homemade bread, I've also been using it to make pizza dough à la Tartine Bread. It transforms the pizza crust from a mere vehicle for cheese and toppings into a flavor component all its own, bringing a whole new dimension to the finished product.
My starter - looking a little sleepy having just been taken out of the fridge

On to the pizza! Now, I have nothing against store-bought pizza sauce, but I'll usually only use it in a pinch. When making it yourself is so simple, I think it's worth it if you have the time. Heat up some butter and olive oil in a big pot and throw in a diced onion and maybe a clove of garlic. Once they're nice and soft and smelling amazing, dump in a can of tomatoes and give them a mash with your spoon. Let it simmer away for at least an hour, stirring every so often and helping the tomatoes break down. If you don't want a chunkier sauce, give it a whirl in the food processor when you're done.

From there, you don't really need a recipe to make a great pizza. Toss on whatever ingredients you have on hand, whatever's in season, anything that strikes your fancy today. I went with tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, crispy pancetta and spinach. Excuse the quality of the pictures - I'm still learning the art of remembering to take pictures while you're cooking!

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