16 February 2010

Reincarnation and Meatball Pizza

Part I

I've narrowed it down. In my past life I was either 1.) a cat, or 2.) a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

I say cat because my lifestyle is very similar to a cat's (a housecat, not any kind of jungle running creature, unless, of course, I've been drinking and there's tall grass around. But that's a story for another time.).

Think about it. I hate almost everybody, I sleep all day. I rarely bathe and I meow pretty frequently. Well, maybe that's where it ends. I can't jump high. And I can't get my nails that sharp, either. Hmph.

But, last summer when I attempted to make homemade bread for the first time (an epic failure!), and the recipe said that I needed to knead the dough, I did it exactly how I'd seen my cats do it in the past. I may have even purred. Later, when I was troubleshooting why my bread-baking endeavor had been such a failure, I asked Cassie how she kneads dough. Dummy me, though, first showed her how I did it--movements that mimicked how my old cat Elvis used to seduce my Alf doll. (Also a story for another time.) Apparently, I was way off with my kneading methods. Also, apparently you're not supposed to purr whilst kneading bread dough. Who knew?

If I wasn't a cat, I was likely a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in my past life. I say this because 1.) I can kick really high, 2.) I'm dynamite with nunchakus, and 3.) I could eat pizza all day every day for the rest of my life.

Part II

Yesterday, after doing a brief inventory of the pantry and refrigerator (It's almost grocery shopping time, so we're running low on just about everything), I got a bug up my ass that I was going to make meatball pizza. (Matt scoffed, by the way, and the face he made when I told him said that he was "less than enthusiastic.") He wasn't a skeptic for long; let's just put it that way. With the help of Food Network Magazine, Cassie, and Paul Newman, we had ourselves a tasty, tasty dinner.

Whisk flour and salt in a big bowl.

I just don't understand yeast. The word itself grosses me out. But I had to put a well in my flour mixture and then add warm water and yeast, and then wait for the yeast to foam.

When, after a few minutes, it looked like this, I decided that it was GTG.
And then I added the oil and a bunch of pizza seasoning.

And I took to kneading. It was wet and sticky, and I couldn't get any pictures of the process because my hands were completely covered in dough. But I ended up with this, a ball of dough that then had to sit for an hour and a half to expand. It doubled in size! (Just like me when I stopped waiting tables and started teaching!)

While waiting for the dough to rise, I made up some turkey meatballs. Pretty simple, much more lean than ground beef, and you won't need to grab a handful of Tums after eating them.

While waiting (I mean, it's going to be another hour and a half or so before the pizza's ready), I recommend snacking on some Sour Patch Kids. Just try not to eat so many that the sour sugar eats away your tastebuds. (When I was 16--and let's be honest, several times after that--I ate a pound of Sour Patch Kids, so many that my tongue was bleeding. My tongue was completely raw for the better part of a week. What the hell is wrong with me?)

I can't even look at Sour Patch Kids without salivating. PS--Mitch likes them, too.

But back to meatballs, and pizza. Pioneer Woman suggested putting the tray of meatballs into the freezer before browning them so that they would stay together better, a I'll be damned if she wasn't right. Oh, Pioneer Woman. . .
I browned the meatballs in a dutch oven with Newman's Own Five Cheese tomato sauce. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, meatballs. . .

At this point it's a good idea to invite over your friend Cassie who's the best cook you know in real life, and who makes pizza once a week, to help you.
Roll out the dough. (Or have Cassie do it.)

And put it on giant pizza pan (15" diameter--$4 at Target!). Or have Cassie do it.

Brush with olive oil.

The meatballs will look something like this, by the way.
Cassie tip: put very thinly sliced onions UNDERNEATH the sauce. She says it makes them sweeter and more delicious. I concur.

Add freshly shredded mozzarella. (Cheese tastes better when you shred it yourself.)

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust starts to brown, and then add sliced meatballs, and maybe a little parmesan if you're feeling frisky.
And then bake for another 5-10 minutes, until it's a beautiful golden brown and you just can't wait any longer.
And then bask in the glory of your success.

Meatball Pizza!

3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

Meatballs: (all estimates--I think they're different every time I make them)
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 egg
parmesan cheese
cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, whatever
kosher salt
black pepper
crushed red pepper

You'll also need some pizza sauce--homemade or store-bought or whatever you want--and some cheese. I used a block of mozzarella, but I imagine that you could use fresh mozzarella and it would be pretty awesome.


Dough: (Adapted from Food Network Magazine)
Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well and add the water, sugar, and yeast. When that becomes foamy, mix in three tablespoons olive oil and some tasty seasonings, and knead until smooth, about five minutes. Brush with olive oil and cover in a bowl; let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

Mash everything together with your hands. Roll into balls. Put in freezer for 5-10 minutes. Heat up pan (I used a dutch oven) and add some oil, brown the meatballs. Add some sauce, cover, and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or so.

The culmination:
Roll out dough to fit pan. (You could actually make two pizzas with this amount of dough, but we went with one giant one.) Brush with olive oil. Add sauce and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes. While that's baking, slice up meatballs. Remove pizza from oven, add meatballs. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Then take lots of pictures and email them to your friends just to make them jealous.


  1. I have yet to make my own pizza dough, but the refrigerated kind that comes in a bag from Trader Joe's is pretty great - and it's only 99 cents. We've been on a big pizza kick with that - usually with bacon and red peppers and onions. In the summer I really like to add fresh basil too!

  2. Ohhhh....I just started making pizza dough too. One thing that's really good is semolina flour (durum wheat) mixed in with the other flour. It's really tasty.



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