So it appears that fall has truly come to us quickly, clouds and rain, highs in the teens and chill over night. Without the clouds and rain it would be perfect, as I prefer my temperatures in the teens, but I do hope the sun will keep shining until at least November.
With the fall comes a change in menu at our house, the summer season is grill and saute', salads and steaks and all that stuff but with the cooling temperatures it's time for the oven and the slow cooker. It's also time for home made pizza, which is among daughter's favourite things and one of the more versatile dishes known to man.
I occasionally make the dough from scratch but more often than not I employ the frozen dough from Calabria Bakery, the bakery is located on Victoria just south of 33rd avenue and well worth the trip (try the sfogliatelle stuffed with nutella if you go) but most often I buy the dough at Stong's Market in Kerrisdale.
Take the dough out of the freezer the night before you want to have pizza and leave in the fridge overnight. On the morning of Pizza Day I take the dough ball out of the fridge and coat with a bit of olive oil then place it in a bowl, cover with a towel and put the bowl in our laundry closet while I do two or three loads of laundry. The heat and humidity created in the small laundry space helps the dough rise and by 3 o'clock or so it's ready to punch down and roll.
I use rectangular bake pans rather than the stone because I'm lazy and can cook two pies at once that way, dough is stretched to fit the pans and topped with simple tomato basil sauce . I generally cook down a combo of good quality canned diced tomatoes with some basil, oregano, shallot, salt, pepper and whole garlic over low heat. After 15 minutes or so I remove the garlic and discard then give a quick puree with a hand blender and add some Passata to get the texture I want. Sauce the crusts, sprinkle with chiffonade basil, add cheese and whatever else you want and bake at 500 degrees for 15-20 minutes, I like my crusts crispy, and serve with a salad of mixed greens and dinner is done. I generally make enough so that there is leftover pizza for daughter's lunch the next day and an after work meal for me .
Pizza requires wine as a partner, burgers and Asian food can get by with beer but pizza needs fruity red to bring out all its' glory . The wine must be dry, but must have fruit to counter the acid in the tomato sauce, but the wine also needs acidity on its' own to work with the cheese so really simple reds aren't likely to be enough.
We generally have pizza 2-3 times a month over the fall and winter season so this year I'm going to chronicle, as often as I remember, the wines I buy to go with the pizza and how they fare. It should be noted that our House Special Pizza is topped with meat (pepperoni for daughter/wife, prosciutto for me), cheese (generally a blend of mozzarella, fontina and romano), roasted cremini mushrooms and sauteed spinach (the veggies are cooked ahead of time to release the water in them that would otherwise make for soggy pizza).
This week's pizza red was a Rioja from Bodegas Antano the Rioja Crianza 2008, which retails at a very reasonable $12.99 at the BCLDB and has wide distribution. The BCL site waxes long and eloquent about the profile of this wine, I found it fruity with a nice balance, some spice, cocoa and dried cherry on the nose, as with most wines made primarily from Tempranillo there is a bit of a dusty character and a hints of tobacco leaf/leather and coffee in the palate. The wine finishes long and was a very good match to this week's pizza .