Pizza à Portuguesa
I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of buying and not using pizza dough. Every time, I tell myself it’ll be different but end up tossing away a once perfectly good round of dough a few weeks later. Instead of making my own, I head over to South Brooklyn Pizza where they know more about what you want than you do, Grimaldi’s when family is in town and there’s time for the line, Layla Jones for a fast slice, or Sam’s Restaurant for the mildly terrifying son of Sam jokes the waiter drops with your pizza. With so many great options just a few minutes in any direction, the fun of spinning and topping my own gets left for another day. The pizza stone that lives in my oven is looking angrier and spottier than usual.
I wasn’t searching for a pizza recipe when I started flipping through David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table. I’d had it for awhile but hadn’t made anything from it until yesterday. A cookbook addict, the desire to make my Amazon wish list come true takes over and I end up with more books than I know what to do with. I couldn’t wait to get it then waited entirely too long before putting it to use. I fantastic source for traditional and contemporary Portuguese food, I wanted to make everything at once when I found this recipe pizza à Portuguesa.
I was hoping to start with a more traditional recipe. I’ve written so often about Spain but was neglecting Portugal which has had an enormous impact on Latin American cuisine. Still, with Labor Day around the corner, I thought it would be fun to try one more easy, summer pizza recipe just as summer eases its way out. Despite all the nearby pizza options, none offer the Brazilian linguiça I’d noticed at the butcher shop and been waiting to try as a topping, so I’d have to break out the peel and stone to make it myself. I couldn’t find the Serpa he suggests but opted for a Roncal over the Manchego for some variety. Of course, I had a ball of dough waiting to be used but made the dough from scratch per the recipe. It’s the easiest pizza dough recipe I’ve found and rose on time, just under an hour as promised. Besides, I still have a couple of weeks to make my store-bought dough and a few new toppings to try with it.
Pizza à Portuguesa/Portuguese Pizza
Barely adapted from David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe’s Western Coast. I knew that pizza was popular in Portugal and among Portuguese Americans but wasn’t sure how different it would be. The linguiça adds a little sweetness as well as heat. I loved the combination of Roncal and Mozzarella but am now on the search for Serpa.
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 warm water (110º)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse cornmeal, for dusting
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/8″ inch slices
5 ounces linguiça, or dry-cured Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/8″ inch slices
1 1/3 cups of tomatada or store bought tomato sauce (see below)
6 ounces semi-firm sheep’s milk cheese, finely shredded (I used Roncal but the original also suggests Serpa or Manchego)
Chopped fresh oregano leaves
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand until the liquid is foamy, about 10 minutes.
Combine flour, oil and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir on low until ingredients are just blended. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is supple and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add more flour a bit at a time if needed.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft free spot (like an unlit oven) until doubled in size, about an hour.
Punch the dough down and remove from the bowl. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Take each piece and fold the edges underneath several times to form a disc (like a mushroom cap or flying saucer). Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. At this point you can proceed with the recipe or cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.*
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, slide in a baking stone or an upside-down baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Dust a pizza peel or a rimless cookie sheet with cornmeal and set aside.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-12-inch circle. To stretch the dough, hold the dough between the palm and fingers and gently press the edge while you pull it counter-clockwise, to form an oval. Place the dough on the peel and cover with 5 or 6 slices of mozzarella. Dot with 8 or 9 slices of linguiça, spoon 1/3 cup of tomato sauce on top, leaving a border, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Drizzle the edge with olive oil.
Position the peel at the far edge of the baking stone and, in one smooth motion, slide it toward you, leaving the pizza on the stone. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, sprinkle with oregano, and wait several minutes before slicing. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.
*Chilled dough can be easier to work with so once it’s formed, I usually put it back in the fridge while I preheat the oven and prepare the sauce and toppings.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into think half-moons
2 sprigs flat-leaf parsely
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped or one 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, chopped juices reserved
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 Serrano chile pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, parsley, and bay leaf and cook until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Turn the heat to medium-low, stir in the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, and chile pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, about 30 minutes.
Discard the parsley and bay leaf, and season to taste. Use immediately or puree until smooth. The sauce can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 2 months.
Makes about 2 cups.