Wolfgang Puck's Pizza in Two Ways

What makes a good pizza?  Some say the sauce, others say the cheeses, I say...THE CRUST.  At work we've just started serving gourmet pizzas as a lunch item and I found Woflgang Puck's  recipe to be absolutely phenomonal -- It's crispy, it's chewy, with just a touch of honey...it would go great with any toppings you choose.  The toppings I chose were not your usual pepperoni or supreme, I picked some "unique" ingredients to say the least haha but I ask you to keep an open mind :)  You can make any combination you want, I think that's what makes pizzas fun to make.  Be creative and see what you can come up with!

My first combination was shaved Brussel Sprouts with Porcini Musrooms and Red Onion topped with Parmeasan Romano cheeses drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar.  I kept the cheeses at a minimal to keep it low in calories and made sure to slice my vegetables very thin so they can quickly roast in the oven when the pizza is baking.  My second combination was Rosemary Potato topped with Roasted Pine Nuts and Fresh Arugula drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Both pizzas are very light, you can add more cheese if you prefer -- mozarella works really well with both combos. 

Ingredients for Woflgang's All-Purpose Pizza Dough:

(Makes 4 small (8-inch) pizzas or 2 large (14 inch) pizzas)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105F to 115F)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the pizza crusts
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bread bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water.  Add the honey and stir together.  Let sit 2 or 3 minutes, or until the water is cloudy.  Stir in the olive oil.

Using a stand mixer: Combine the flour and salt and add it to the yeast mixture all at once. Mix it together using the paddle attachment, then change to the dough hook.  Knead at low speed for 2 minutes, then turn up to medium speed and knead until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. Hold onto the machine if it bounces around.  Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for 2 or 3 minutes longer . The dough should be smooth and elastic.  When you press with your finger it should slowly spring back, and it should not feel tacky.

Kneading the dough by hand: Mix together the yeast, honey, water, and olive oil as directed in a medium-sized or large bowl.  Combine the flour and salt.  Fold the flour in a cup at a time using a large wooden spoon.  As soon as you can scrape the dough out in one piece, scrape it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, rounded side down first, then rounded side up.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes (you can leave it for up to an hour).  When it is read the dough will stretch as it is gently pulled.

Divide the dough into two to four equal balls, depending on how large you want your pizzas to be.  Shape each ball by gently pulling down on the sides of the dough and tcuking each pull under the bottom of the ball, working round and round the ball 4 or 5 times.  Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball around with your palm until it feels smooth and firm, about 1 minute.  Put the balls on a tray or platter, cover them with pan sprayed plastic wrap or a damp towel, and leave them to rest for at least 30 minutes.  At this point, the dough balls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 to 2 days.  You will need to punch them down again when you are ready to roll out the pizzas.

Preheat the oven to 500F.  Place a pizza stone in the oven to heat.  In the meantime press out the dough.  Place a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface.  While turning the dough, press down its center wit hthe heel of your hand, gradually spreading it out to a circle 7 to 8 inches in diameter for small cricles, 12 to 14 for larger pizzas.  Alternatively, use a rolling pin to get an even circle.  With your fingers, for ma slightly thicker raised rim around the edge of the circle.  Brush everything but the rim with a little olive oil, then top the pizza as you like.  You can transfer the pizza to a lightly oiled pizza pan if you like, or you can bake it directly on the stone.

Depending on your taste, spread the dough with marinara sauce or pesto sauce (about 2 tablespoons for small pizzas, 1/4 to 1/3 cup for larger ones).  If you dont have sauce, a can of tomatoes, drained, chopped, and seased with salt and chopped sauteed garlic, will do.  Top with shredded or grated cheese of your choice .  Add thinly sliced vegetables such as Roma, tomatoes, pitted olives, red peppers, or red onions, sauteed sliced vegetables such as mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, or artichoke hearts.

Ingredients for Shaved Brussel Sprouts and Porcini Mushroom Pizza:

(makes 2 x 8" pizzas or 1 x 14" pizza)

  • 2 tablespoons spaghetti sauce or wolfgang puck sauce
  •  3 brussel sprouts, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup porcini mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon grated romano
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Take your pizza dough and roll it out to two 8" circles -- roll the dough as thin as you can without ripping it.  Using a ladle or spoon, spread the tomato sauce all over your dough leaving an inch around the edges for the crust.  Lay the mushrooms down first then the onions, top with the shaved brussel sprouts and minced garlic.  If you do not have a pizza stone, you can use a regular baking pan. 

 Bake at 500F as previously instructed for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and crisp.  Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cut into squares or triangles and serve immediately.

For the Rosemary Potato Pizza I usually add goat cheese, but I was unable to find what I was looking for at the store I went to last night.  It really pairs well with the pine nuts and rosemary.  I also added some vegetarian sausage, it wasn't great so I would recommend you guys leaving it off.  Did anyone notice that both combinations were vegetarian? 

Ingredients for Rosemary Potato Pizza with Roasted Pinenuts and Arugula:

  • 1/2 medium red skinned potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 1 stem rosemary, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons roasted pinenuts
  • 1 cup arugula, picked and rinsed
  • salt pepper to taste

Take your pizza dough and roll it out to two 8" circles -- roll the dough as thin as you can without ripping it.  Using a ladle or spoon, spread the tomato sauce all over your dough leaving an inch around the edges for the crust. Lay down the potatoes first and then the goat cheese.  Sprinkle with rosemary and place in the oven at 500 F.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden and crispy. 

Remove from oven and top with toasted pinenuts and fresh arugula and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Taste with salt and pepper.  You can sprinkle Parmeasan and Romano cheese ontop as well.  Cut into squares or triangles and serve immediately.