Howdy, folks! I write today’s post from my new home and, I must say, it’s refreshing to say that and mean it for the first time. Joe and I have been in our new place for a couple weeks now, but it hasn’t quite felt like a home, per se. After living in our previous condo for four years and transitioning into something else, I felt like I was in some sort of in between state of dwellings, almost like residential purgatory. My old home wasn’t mine anymore – all of our things were gone and we were signing it over to someone new. Yet, putting all of our possessions into this new place didn’t make me feel like it belonged to me either. There were still pieces of the other family who lived here – a few scratches on the floor from their dog, their choice of paint colors, etc…. So even though I was in my same bed, under the same covers, the first few nights were spent sleepless and tossing and turning. I began to wonder – Did we make a mistake? Would I ever get a good night’s sleep again? Was I just an imposter trying to take over someone else’s home?
Two weeks has passed since moving day and things have taken a turn for the better. The husband’s slapped some fresh paint on the wall, baby’s furniture has arrived, I’ve gotten acquainted with my new kitchen, and with a bunch of visits from friends and family, it’s really starting to feel like ours. Actually, I’m beginning to love it. I have a powerful gas stove, an oven that heats in no time, and – something I longed for in my last home – windows in the kitchen. This place has more natural light than I know what to do with, which is a killer feature from a photography standpoint… Halleluljah! And, best of all, there’s more than enough room for us and our new roommate. That’s right, baby will be here in four weeks! Where has the time gone?
Now, on to that delectable pie you saw in today’s feature snap…
When you read the word “pizza,” what comes to mind? Deep dish or thin crust? Traditional plain or something more exotic? Perhaps, an image of a pudgy moustached Italian man twirling a circle of dough? I’ve had many pies in my life, ranging from thick hardy crusts to tissue thin, the simplest margherita to an unorthodox sea scallop pie, but, when I dig deep to recall one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, I’m brought back to one, in particular, that I had during my travels this time last year… in Argentina. Argentina? Oh yes, Argentina! Due to the large influx of Italian immigrants beginning in the mid 19th century, the cuisine of this South American piece of paradise is strongly influenced by the Italians. As a matter of fact, roaming around this country, I found myself nothing short of shocked to find some of the best Italian food around in the Southern Hemisphere. Go figure!
Anyhow, we noshed on this style of pizza at a couple different restos during our travels and, while all were slightly different, the common threads were plenty of fresh oregano and briny olives over a tradtional cheese pie. I’ve attempted to bring a little slice of Argentina back home in today’s recipe – bon appetit!
Serves a few
Mom’s pizza dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, drained in a fine mesh strainer
2 sprigs fresh oregano – leaves torn off and minced, divided (about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
4 ounces of your favorite olives, pitted and halved (I used pimento stuffed gaeta)
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Combine flour, water, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl or stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix until combined and knead for 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely in plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 3 – 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 500-degrees for at least 30 minutes. If using a pizza stone, be sure that the stone is in the oven at this time. In the meantime, empty tomatoes into a mesh strainer and let drain for 5 – 10 minutes. Crush and tear the whole tomatoes gently with your hands. Set aside.
Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for for 1 minute. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough or knuckle into a 14″ circle.
If using a pizza stone: Remove stone from the oven and liberally sprinkle with cornmeal. Working quickly, transfer the dough onto the stone. Perform the steps below.
If using a pan: Lightly oil a round metal pan. Transfer the dough and press lightly into pan. Perform the steps below.
Scatter crushed tomatoes on top leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and half of the fresh oregano. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until crust is set and very light golden.
Remove from oven. Top with fresh mozzarella and then olives. Return to oven and bake 5 – 7 minutes until mozzarella is melted and slightly golden. If mozzarella is melted, but not golden enough and crust is sufficiently cooked, you can finish the pizza under the broiler for 1 minute.
Remove from oven and let set for 3 – 5 minutes on the stone or in the pan. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining fresh oregano. Cut and serve immediately.