I've been doing a lot of fun and novel things, like snorkeling, eating cake for dinner (twice!), sleeping in until an embarassing hour. Next thing on the list was making and eating our version of Luigi's pizza. Luigi's is a local pizza joint where my classmates and I used to go after studying (http://www.pizzerialuigi.com/). When the going gets tough, the tough get going... to Luigi's!
Richard, my friend and classmate got his hands on the recipe for Luigi's Spinach-Ricotta Thin-Crust Pizza and suggested that we try making it from scratch. (http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/aug/12/save-your-dough/?features&zIndex=147798)
Although Disha did all the work while Richard and I watched, we all took credit for what turned out to be a fabulous, crunchy, amazing pizza. I was so pleased with the results that I posted the recipe below:
Luigi's Spinach-Ricotta Thin-Crust Pizza
Makes 2 (12-inch) pizzas
1 (0.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces fresh spinach
4 ounces ricotta (we used about twice as much ricotta)
8 to 10 ounces mozzarella
1/8 cup grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic, chopped (all three of us like garlic a lot, so we added about 3x the amount of garlic that the recipe suggested + granulated garlic)
Dissolve yeast in water and add sugar. Mix well and set aside. Place flour in mixing bowl. Return to water and add the salt and mix well.
With your fingers, make a small well in the flour and slowly pour about a third of the water into the well. Mix with one hand. Add another third of the water and continue to mix. Add remaining water. Work the dough with your hands until it is smooth and firm and still a little sticky. This could take about 10 minutes. (If you are using a mixer with a dough hook, mix in about 1 cup of the water to begin with. If the dough, once mixed, seems too dry, add the remaining water.)
Cut the dough in half. For a true thin-crust pizza, the dough should weigh about 11 to 12 ounces. For a slightly thicker crust, 14 ounces is good. Knead the dough for a few minutes, form it into a ball and seal the bottom.
Place the dough on a plate and cover with a smooth, damp towel and let rise for about 25 minutes. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 15 to 20 minutes. When you take it out of the refrigerator, dough can be used right away. Alternatively, you can leave it covered in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes. Flour both sides and put it on the countertop. Flatten the dough with your hands and use your fingers to create a rim. Continue using the heels of your hands to flatten and stretch the dough to form a 12-inch disk. You can also use a rolling pin.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. (If using a stone, preheat it for about 45 minutes to an hour.) Lightly oil a metal pizza pan and place the dough on the pan. Top first with mozzarella, then parmesan. Scatter spinach leaves on top of cheese and dot with spoonfuls of ricotta. Last, scatter chopped garlic. (If using a stone, place the pizza on a floured pizza peel, add toppings and then slide the pizza directly onto the stone.)
Bake for about 10 minutes. Check the underside of the pizza and the edge of the crust to make sure it is golden brown. Leave pizza in oven longer if it is not brown enough.