Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cheese and I

prosciutto pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil

I wasn't introduced to cheese until I came to the states when I was seven.  I met American cheese for the first time in the form of processed yellow cheese.  I was not impressed. Since my first encounter with cheese I was well known to say, "I don't care for cheese".  Blasphemy! I know. I would get my burgers with no cheese and pick off the cheese on my pizza.  Many times my sanity was questioned.  How can you not like cheese?  When I got older I was introduced to good quality cheese.  I think the first cheese that I actaully enjoyed was shaved parmesan on bruschetta at a well known Italian restaurant I use to work at when I was in college.  Then I met brie and honestly I can say my opion on cheese changed.  Although I do enjoy cheese now, I don't crave cheese.  Most people would consider a good grilled cheese sandwich their ultimate comfort food, not so much for me. 
I made the most amazing pizza this weekend and I give full credit to the fresh mozzarella.  I have never had the pleasure of having fresh mozzarella before and I think it made all the difference.  It doesn't hurt that I made my own pizza dough and used san marzano tomatoes but I think what made this pizza so different from all the other pizzas I have made before was the fresh mozzarella.  I don't think that I will ever be able to use pre packaged processed mozzarella ever again.  The lesson I learned in this cooking experience is that when chefs always say fresh quality ingredients makes the difference, it really does!

Prosciutto Pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil
Pizza dough:
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar

Put water, sugar and yeast in bowl and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. 
In a food processor add flour, salt and olive oil and start processing.
While the food processor is processing add the water and yeast mixture.
The dough should form into a ball.  Place in bowl and cover with seran wrap.  Let it rest for about 1/2 hour.

Pizza toppings:
2 roma tomatoes
1 can san marzano pizza sauce
1 package prosciutto
1 package fresh mozzarella
1/2 red onion
handful of fresh basil
1 table spoon olive oil
1 teaspoom oregano
fresh shaved paremsan cheese

Oil the pizza pan with olive oil.  I used a pastry brush.  Place the dough on the pan and form into the shape of the pan.  Spread tomatoe sauce, add mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, prosciutto, oregano, and red onions.
Place in 400 degree oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on how well done you like your pizza. Shave parmesan cheese over the pizza
Tip: add the basil after you take the pizza out.  I made the mistake of putting the basil on before and they burned. 

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