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Cafe Lago's Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes And Ricotta Sala


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Vegetarian

Ingredients:

  • 3 tb Extra virgin olive oil
  • Plus more for drizzling
  • 5 Cloves garlic; (large), finely chopped
  • 4 Ripe tomatoes*; very thinly sliced, up to 5
  • 2 c Crumbled ricotta salata**; at room temperature
  • Dried greek oregano; (see note)
  • 8 lg Fresh basil leaves; cut into chiffonade
CLASSIC ITALIAN PIZZA DOUGH
  • 2 c Lukewarm water; (72' to 75'f)
  • 1 1/2 ts Active dry yeast
  • 7 c Unbleached all-purpose flour; up to 8
  • 1/2 tb Salt
  • Olive oil

Directions:

* preferably mixed red and yellow heirloom varieties ** Ricotta salata, a salted and aged ewe's milk cheese from Italy
 
Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 550 degrees F or as high as your oven will go, for 30 minutes.
 
Gently flatten a dough ball on a floured board and begin stretching into a rough circle about 8 inches in diameter Do not pound or pinch the dough or it will not stretch. Place the dough on a well-floured pizza peel or back of a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with some of the garlic. Leaving a 1/2-inch rim, cover the dough with one sixth of the tomatoes, alternating red and yellow slices. Place on the stone and bake until the crust is light brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. While the pizza is baking, prepare the next round of dough. When the crust is browned, slide out the oven rack and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of the ricotta salata. Slide the rack back in and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until the cheese is slightly melted and the crust is browned.
 
Transfer to a plate and top with a pinch of oregano, a sprinkling of basil, and a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat with all the remaining dough balls. Serve hot.
 
Note: Greek oregano is available at Middle Eastern and specialty stores.
 
Makes six 8-inch pizzas
 
Directions for pizza dough:
 
Combine 1/4 cup of the water and the yeast in a large mixing bowl or heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle. Stir to dissolve the yeast in another bowl, mix together 6 cups of the flour and the salt. Add 1 cup of the flour to the yeast mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or on low speed in mixer. Stir in the remaining water and start adding the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition. Turn the flour out onto a well-floured board and knead, or change to dough hook on mixer and knead on medium speed, adding enough flour to make a soft but not wet dough. Knead until smooth and uniform, at least 5 minutes.
 
Divide the dough equally into 6 pieces and form into balls. Flatten with the palm of your hand. Place on a well-floured baking sheet, 3 to 4 inches apart. Brush the dough with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until doubled. Makes six 8-inch pizza crusts.
 
Cafe Lago is a Seattle restaurant institution famous for its wood-fired pizza oven. Fueled by a variety of woods, this oven fires up to 800 For 900 F, turning out pizza with a crisp crust and a hint of wood smoke. Toppings vary seasonally--this one is a summer specialty. Heirloom tomatoes deliver incredible flavor and color; to slice the tomatoes thin enough, use a serrated knife. Ricotta salata, a salted and aged ewe's milk cheese from Italy adds a tangy jolt . The pizza is finished off with a sprinkling of fresh basil, crumbled Greek oregano for a distinct Mediterranean flavor and a drizzle of the finest extra virgin olive oil.
 
Source: Cooking with Artisan Bread, (using rustic loaves for perfect crostini, panini, bruschetta, flavorful stuffings and inventive main courses), by Gwenyth Bassetti and Jean Galton; Sasquatch Books, 1998; ISBN: 1-57061-135-1. Website: <http//www.Sasquatchbooks.com>
 
Recipe by: Cafe Lago, Seattle
 
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