Mmm, Pizza

One of the first things I got off my butt to make after my knee injury was pizza dough. I was facing a deadline and needed to work my hands a little. Mostly I needed to work my hands. It is amazing what forced exile from the kitchen can do to a cook. I might have gone through a bit of withdrawal, shakes and all.

Yes, I know you can make pizza dough in a food processor, or easily in that 5 minutes a day way. But sometimes you need to pile up flour, make a well for your liquids, then scream for your husband to clean it up when the walls break and floury liquid is running down the front of the counter. With the next batch I used a bowl.

This dough is totally inspired by David Rocco. I watched a lot of Food Network when I was laid up. But I couldn't remember the recipe exactly, but I loved that he made pizzas and calzones with it. So I made it up in my head when I did get to the kitchen. Turns out it is pretty damn close to his recipe. So, thanks David. Now go kiss those adorable twins of yours. (Seriously, could you make the Italian countryside more beautiful?)

An easy dinner in our house is now calzones made with this dough. All that means is you fold over the dough, roll the edges, and bake at high heat. Homemade pizza pocket. And when you do make it as a pizza, it is a lovely, thin crust. But calzones now rule because, according to The Monster, the Pizza Man makes the pizza, not Mama. I need to rectify that situation ASAP.

Pizza Dough
Makes 8 hearty calzones or 8 individual pizzas*

2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Stir together water and yeast. Let sit for a few minutes until it is foamy, or the yeast has bloomed.
2. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the flour. Pour the water, yeast, and olive oil into the well. Start incorporating the liquids, using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula. You will likely have to switch to mixing with your hands. Once it has come together as a dough, dump it out on a floured countertop. Knead for just a few minutes until the dough is smooth.
3. Divide into four equal portions. Cover lightly with a lightly damp tea towel and let rest for an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

For calzones:
5. One portion at a time roll into a rectangle about 8 by 6 inches. Cut in half at the 4 inch mark.
6. Top each half with a tablespoon of tomato sauce, leaving an inch without sauce all around the edges. Add a half cup of shredded cheese and toppings of choice.
7. Fold each calzone in half, pinching and rolling over the edges to seal. Brush the tops with a beaten egg.
8. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before eating as fillings will be very hot.

For pizzas:
5. Roll each portion into a rough circle about 8 inches around.
6. Thinly cover with toppings of choice.
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden.

*I usually freeze half the dough for another day. After the dough has rested, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a  freezer bag. Let thaw completely and use according to recipe.