Thursday, April 02, 2009

WFD? Pizza Quattro Gusti (four flavors)

After months and months of putting up with my current refrigerator randomly freezing items out of spite, we've broken down and purchased a brand new one. For some of you this may not be such a big deal, but for us, it's our first official appliance purchase. Ever. Until now we've made do with family cast-offs and the generosity of former landlords and friends.

We try not to be big consumers; if something is broken or needs replacing, we don't run out and buy the item brand new. There's always someone around who wants to upgrade or is moving into a furnished place and generally, if we come and get the washer/stove/whatever, it's ours for the taking. So far this has worked in our favor...until this renegade fridge came along.

Too long I have endured solid yogurt, rock-hard berries, and frostbit greens. Too long have I spent extra money for fresh seafood--only to have it frozen in my refrigerator before I get a chance to cook it. I was due for a brand new appliance and that's what I got.

It arrives tomorrow.

Who knew that shopping for a fridge would open my eyes to all the possibilities that I never considered as options? Suddenly I needed a built in Britta drinking water system--how do I get by without one? And it sure would be handy to know the exact temperature of my fridge displayed digitally for me at all times. How about a beeper that goes off when the door is left ajar? I do that ALL the time, it drives Danny nuts.
Oh well, for now I'll just have to content my self with a fridge that 'just' keeps things cold--not frozen. Although if anyone hears of a second-hand version of this model looking for a good home, I've got dibs on it. I would love the glass door. That is the coolest.

So, I've been cleaning out my old fridge in preparation for the switch. I don't want a pile of items just sitting around on counters for extended periods of time while the new fridge is installed and starts cooling. (Apparently you can't plug it in for THREE HOURS after it arrives?? Help!)
As usual I have dozens of small leftover items that need finishing off to fully empty those drawers: half a stick of Chorizo, a teeny block of feta, a tired bundle of asparagus, a rind of Parmesan; those items and many more were the inspiration behind this pizza.

If you can call it inspiration. More like desperation.

I made a batch of Jamie Oliver's pizza dough, rolled it out onto a cookie sheet, divided it into four quadrants and proceeded to disguise my fridge odds and ends as pizza.

Guess what? It rocked! Everybody ate it--even the baby, who particularly loved the soft cross of crust that divided the pizza. Clockwise from top left the flavors are:

  • Chorizo, Olive & Mozzarella
  • Spinach, Egg, Fresh Garlic & Feta
  • Bacon, Plum & Cheddar
  • Asparagus, Cippolini Onion & Parmesan
I'm passing on the pizza dough recipe, because I like it a teeny bit better than my other one. It was softer and the bottom colored beautifully. I like a dark, crispy pizza underside. If you haven't gathered from this post, pretty much anything goes for toppings.

Pizza Dough

Adapted from Jamie at Home

this recipe will make 2 11x15 rectangle "Pizza Quattro Gusti". You can make one for dinner and freeze the other ball of dough for another night, or make tons and enjoy the leftovers.

7 cups
white bread flour
1 Tablespoon sea salt

2 Tablespoons dry yeast

1 tablespoon raw sugar

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Sift the flour and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a large measuring cup, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth springy dough.
Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands - this is called punching down the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straightaway, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas - this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.
(or two huge rectangles)
When you are ready to fire the pizzas, crank the oven up to 500F. Dust your work surface with a little flour, punched-down dough and divide in two. Roll out dough into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.
Grease a cookie sheet generously with olive oil and spread out your pizza dough on it, using your finger tips to push it into the corners.
Trip a 1/8 inch strip off of one long and one short side of the rectangle and lay these in the shape of a cross in the middle of your pizza.
Top with your four flavors of choice and place pizza in preheated oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the dough is golden brown.


Maria said...

I love all of the sections! Something for everyone!

Dana said...

Wow, so creative of you! There is a pizza place we go to that does this same 4 quadrant idea, but none of their quadrants looks as enticing as yours. I hope you love your new fridge!

Roving Lemon said...

Love the image of the fridge "randomly freezing items out of spite"--ha! This is EXACTLY what mine does; unfortunately it, along with the apartment, is rented. Enjoy!

kickpleat said...

Wow, this is so impressive! I love the odds and ends pizza and I think I too would love the soft crusty cross :)

Gracia said...

We rented a 100% empty apartment, so we had to buy even the washing machine! That meant that we had to buy a clearance fridge AND a brita separatedly. But hey, both are amazing...

I love the look of that pizza, I used JO's dough recipe last week for the first time and was impressed at how good and easy it was! Hope you don't mind me copying some toppings ;)
We've been thinking about wrapping sausage in dough and then baking it. It's something you can find here easily (with sausages, sardines or chorizo... yes, I live in Spain) but I never thought of making. I guess the oven would have to be less hot for that.

Anonymous said...

This pizza is really gorgeous!

Hilary said...

Excellent idea for those bits and pieces in the fridge. It looks great! But am I the only one who always reads WFD? as WTF? ;)

bldvdb said...

This is amazing. I'm drooling.

abigail @ Paper and Cake said...

congratulations on the appliance!

what a coincidence aimée, I made pizza last night, but i cheated and used an organic wheat dough. :) now that i have a good recipe ill make my own next time.

ours had yellow bell peppers and chicken mushroom sausage (yeah, that came in a package too).

hey, at least i cooked something.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Oh my you did such a beautiful pizza. I like it a lot.

Peter M said...

I lurve this 4 in 1 pizza! I caight this episode about a year ago and it's fun to make AND eat!

Aimée said...

Hi Maria- Exactly. Who doesn't like selection?

Hi Dana- I'm loving it already, thanks.

Hi Roving Lemon- I sympathize wholeheartedly. That is undeserved.

Hi Kickpleat- Try it--I'm sure you have some odds and ends kicking around.

Hi Gracia- Spain! Welcome to UtHC. What about a calzone with saussage?

Hi 17andbaking- Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Hilary- You know it stands for What's For Dinner, right? :)This is a family blog!!

Hi bldvdb- Thanks! Need a napkin? :)

Hi Abigail- Chicken sausage? I've never had that. Thanks for the congrats, we're loving it already.

Hi Helene- Thank you, my dear.

Hi Peter- Yep,'fun to make' is key around here. Noah was right in there rolling dough and eating cheese.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Egg on pizza? Interesting.

I should try that recipe, I've got the book.

Our fridge was also our first major appliance purchase. It was one of our cheat dates when I was on bed rest. Since we couldn't renovate the bathroom we applied the funds to a new fridge. Three years later and I still love it!

Anonymous said...

You do the fridge thing too?...we must be sisters :)

Elyse said...

What a great way to clean out the fridge!! This looks totally fabulous. Who doesn't love 4 different types of pizza. Hope you love the new fridge!!!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I did see Jamie Oliver prepare his version of this classic. I have always wanted to give it a try so you have given me inspiration. It is so perfect for Spring!! I love your choice of frudge too. We went to a show home this weekend for a new subdivision and the appliances are to die for...although my friend only went wild for the faucets.

Deborah said...

I was actually just looking through a Jamie cookbook yesterday and wondering if his pizza dough is good. This looks like so much fun!

Lo said...

I'm totally with you on the "making do" until you absolutely have to rule. That said, I hope you TOTALLY enjoy your new fridge. You deserve it.

Oh, yeah -- and that's one fantastic looking pizza. It's gorgeous! And what a nice way to sample multiple flavors all at once!

Kate said...

A fridge was our first major appliance too when we first moved into a house we could call 'our own'. I know what you mean about suddenly discovering needs you never knew you had, though! I'm sure that's how people who sell stuff for babies make their money - after all, until you've been through it, you wouldn't realise that there never actually was a need for have the junk you bought on that first shopping trip to stock the nursery!

We make pizza regularly in our house - my three love the dough balls we always do as well. Must be a bit like your youngest liking the pizza cross.

Emily said...

Congrats on the new fridge! I bet you'll LOVE it.

So which pizza was your favorite? I would say mine would be the one with the egg. But the sweet plum and cheese would be really good too. Great job.

Alger said...

This is a good idea. It's hard when everyone wants a different kind of pizza. This simplifies things.

kirwin said...

That's so cool! And beautiful! Have you ever tried making that dough recipe with whole wheat flour? (I'm trying to eliminate the white stuff as much as I can...)

Tim said...

That sub zero pro is a pretty attractive fridge, and I'm not the type to normally look at fridges in that way. Still, I don't think I could handle having my messy fridge on display like that!

Ian said...

mmmm it all looks so delicious and fun to not only make but eat. So well done :D


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