After a recent trip to my new favorite place on earth, Whole Foods, I returned home with a $20/pound chunk of parmesano reggiano, a $7 ball of mozzarella, some organic roma tomatoes, and some beautifully brown baby bella mushrooms ('shrooms to be discussed in the next post). Yum! It's making me salivate just listing these palate pleasing pieces.
Man, I'm killing the alliterations today. :D Are you impressed, Mrs. Hay?
On a previous trip to the wholey land (hahaha...I'm cracking myself up!) I had purchased a stalk of basil. (When I say previous trip...it was probably like 2 days prior. Yes, I'm addicted.) That's really the best way I know to describe it, a stalk. The directions on the bag said to put it in water to extend its life. Well, I'm not sure what I expected, maybe something like the plants that thrive on just water? Ya know the ones, with the beta fish in the bottom? A fish, some water and a plant and poof a little ecosystem in a jar. Miraculous, I tell you. But my stalk of basil wasn't thriving very well. Hmmm, maybe I should've thrown a beta fish in there. That conversation at the pet store would have been a bit weird.
Store Guy: Can I help you ma'am.
Me: Yes, I need a beta fish.
Store Guy: Ok, I can help you with that. Do you also need an aquarium for your fish?
Me: No thanks...I have a lovely stalk of basil growing in a jar of water.
Store Guy: Huh?
Yet I digress.
Back to my point and the ingredients. My point was...that I had a stalk of basil that was quickly needing some attention. And not the attention of a beta fish. Attention from the sweet marrying of roma tomatoes and mozzarella. Honestly, it's more like a weird love triangle kind of marriage.
So first thing is first. I wanted to make a margherita type pizza...roma tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. I wanted it on a thin, chewy, homemade crust. And I wanted it yesterday.
I started off how every home grown chef starts off...with the google. I consulted the google about a great homemade pizza dough recipe...and I found one. It was perfect. I took the laptop with me to the kitchen and made it a countertop. (Buh dun chhh) Then went to the pantry to find my yeast. Where is my yeast? Where did I put it? I specifically remember buying it along with my self rising flour. I see the flour. I do not see yeast. Hmmm, where's my yeast? I asked Eagle Eyes to help me find it. And....still...no yeast.
No yeast? No yeast means no yummy, homemade, google pizza dough! No yeast means my basil goes yet another day without attention. It means it might parish in the middle of the night never knowing the full love possibilities of a girl named Roma and a boy named Mozzarella. No yeast means I gotta figure out plan C.1.a.4.ii. Ugh! Only children who have their mind set on dinner and are thrown a wrench do not enjoy moving to plan C.1.a.4.ii. They wanted their pizza yesterday, remember?
With no yeast in the house, I did the second thing that any home grown chef does...I went to Dollar General. UGH. This place mostly sends chills down my spine, but I was hopeful that the only food carrying place within four miles of my house would carry yeast. Let me just save you a trip. It does not. Cheap toys that break before you get them home? Yes. Checkers who are audibly so very excited that Jen is pregnant that they have to let the entire store know with their immediate and exuberant jubilation? Yes, most definitely. But do they have yeast? No.
What they do have, is a Chef Boyardee Cheese Pizza Kit. Yes, a kit. I was sad, and disappointed, and full disclosure, I was a bit embarrassed. In lieu of my yummy homemade pizza dough idea, Dollar General's lack of yeast forced me to settle for this pizza KIT. Yes, a kit! Oh my. I was only praying that no one saw me as I approached the over zealous checker with my kit in tow.
My plan was to use the crust mix and nothing else. Smart, I thought. So I went home and prepared the crust. At least I wasn't using a pre-prepared crust, I kept assuring myself. After all, I still get to kneed the dough and, if my spectators are lucky, flip it in the air a few times, right? Haha...not really. For the safety of all involved (it was just me), I opted for no dough flipping. Not that night anyway.
Ok, long story longer...I made the dough and much to my surprise I was pretty happy with it. It was light and fluffy and it wasn't as bad as I thought a kit from Dollar General would be.
I had read on The Pioneer Woman's website about a pesto pizza she had made using the same toppings I was using, but used pesto as her sauce. Guess what? I had no pesto...and neither did Dollar General. Surprise, surprise! Plus, I refused to use the pizza sauce that came with the kit. What to do, what to do? I, for some reason that night, was adamant that I didn't want to use a tomato based sauce so I thought of my favorite pizza from my favorite home town pizzeria that uses an alfredo sauce instead. YES! Alfredo!! Why hadn't I thought of that? Wait, I just did.
That settles it...Chef Boyardee pizza dough, roma tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese, basil from the stalk...and...homemade alfredo sauce. Everybody say it with me now...mmmmmm. After all, I DID just buy some $20/lb parmesano reggiano! AND I had some half and half in my fridge that needed to be used to boot! YES! The stars are re-aligning!
Can I take a moment and stress the utter importance of using a magnificent piece of parmesan to really make your alfredo go from "this is actually pretty good" to "Mom, this is so good I wish my mouth was bigger."
(Please excuse the amazing photography...all pics were taken from my iPhone since my laptop is being obstinate and not reading my memory card any longer. iPhone picture quality is lacking to say the least.)
Here is my beautiful pizza constructed as follows: Chef Maceyardee's pizza dough, topped with fresh, homemade alfredo sauce made with parmesano reggiano and half and half (YUM!), covered with sliced roma tomatoes, almost fresh basil from the stalk, and sliced mozzarella covering the entire pizza! Then to top it all off and just to be down right naughty, I finished the entire thing with more grated parmesano reggiano. I'm kind of surprised I didn't eat the entire thing right then and there. I guess the raw dough kept me straight.
Into a hot oven until the cheese was so bubbly I actually had to stick a cookie sheet below it so the gooey cheese would stop dripping onto the bottom of my oven. You KNOW it's gonna be good at that point. And just when the cheese started to get brown...she was finished...and here she is...
Here's a closeup.
This pizza was delicious. Simply and utterly delicious. I really think the homemade alfredo sauce was what really made it killer though. Well, that and the no holds bar quantity of mozzarella completely dousing the pizza. Oh geez, and let us not forget the pizza kit!
Dear Chef Boyardee, please accept my sincerest, most heartfelt and public apology. Your pizza kit, did, in fact, produce a very lovely crust for my pizza heart attack. I do apologize.
But to Dollar General...seriously, man??? Where's my yeast??
Oh! I almost forgot. I had a few left over tomatoes and mozzarella slices, so I made a makeshift salad and topped it off with some balsamic vinegar....YUMMMMMM!
Until next time!