Short-Term Memory LapseI seem to have suffered a short-term memory lapse - I have forgotten how delicious home-made pizza is.
And how easy.
And how cheap.
The very cheapest pizza I can get locally (not counting pizzas in the frozen food case at the supermarket) is, I think, a small cheese pizza from Round Table, and that comes in at $9. I'm not even a particularly big fan of cheese-only pizza. I was in the mood for pizza for dinner tonight, but not for Round Table (or supermarket pizza), so I decided to make it myself. I was reminded yet again that corporations would have us believe that making things from scratch is Hard. This really gets my goat, because nothing could be further from the truth.
I actually ended up using a flatbread recipe for the crust. Here's a rundown of the actual work required:
Mix warm water, yeast, a wee bit of sugar, and a bit of flour, in a bowl and let it proof in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Total actual work time: 1 minute.
Add the rest of the flour (which I used part white and part wheat just for kicks), more warm water, and a bit of salt, mix, and turn out onto a floured surface (the kitchen counter). Knead until smooth and elastic. Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour or so. Total actual work time: 10 minutes (8 minutes kneading, 2 minutes the rest of that stuff).
Prepare the toppings and preheat the oven. I did this after about 30 minutes had passed from when the dough started to rise. I sliced a sweet onion and caramelized it on low heat in a heavy skillet (requiring essentially no supervision) and sliced one portabello mushroom cap and sauteed it in a separate skillet with a little liquid for about 10 minutes. Forced a few cloves of garlic through a garlic press while this was all happening and added it to the onions. Chopped a little dill and added it too (near the end). Grated some monterrey jack. Actual toppings work time: about 10 minutes (thought the onions slowly cooked for about a half hour).
Punch the dough down and let it rest a few minutes. (Use this time to wash the dishes generated by the dough and topping-making.) Roll half of the dough out into a rough circle, transfer to a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and top it with 1/4 jar of marinara, cheese, onions, and mushrooms. Bake for 10 minutes. Actual work time: 5 minutes (rolling dough, topping the dough).
It might sound like a lot of work, but it really isn't, and by my reckoning took me less than a half hour of actual work. No, you can't decide at 6pm to have pizza for dinner and expect to be eating before it gets dark (unless you already have dough made and ready in the refrigerator), but it is less effort than many meals. I find kneading dough quite meditative actually, and 8 minutes passes really quickly. I calculated out the cost of my pizza, and it came to about $6, but my prices were all estimates because I don't remember the actual costs for some of the items and I think I probably overestimated some of them. And that was using organic produce and organic marinara sauce, plus I still have half of the dough left in the freezer for another pizza. You could most certainly make a pizza for much, much cheaper. It's filling and delicious and not necessarily all that bad for you depending on what you put in it (for example, I don't use that much cheese). Paired with a simple green salad you definitely a recession-busting meal.
And it's oh so tasty. Give home-made pizza a chance!