" Moonstruck" When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie

Snap out of it!! You need a big, cheesey Pizza!

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds ripe roma tomatoes, or 1 28-oz can Italian tomatoes, well drained
  • 3/4 pound Mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small handful fresh basil or oregano, roughly chopped
  • 1 copy "La Boheme" by Giacomo Puccini

Directions:

Act I: Put on your favorite recording of La Boheme (preferably with Montserrat Caball?nd Placido Domingo) Combine the yeast, honey, corn meal and half of the water. Whisk together and set aside in a warm spot until the mixture begins to foam, about 20 minutes. (At this point, the seamstress Mimi enters, probably coughing)

Add the remaining water, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix well with a wooden spoon. Mix in one cup of the flour and transfer to a floured working surface. Gradually knead another half-cup of flour to create a soft, elastic dough. (Rodolpho lights Mimi's candle in more ways than one...they have fallen helplessly in love)

Act II: Continue kneading 8 to10 minutes, adding only as much flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Remember: the moister the dough, the crispier the crust. (Christmas Eve in the Latin quarter...the flirtatious and scheming Musetta attempts to win back Marcello...he falls easily under her spell)

Transfer the dough to a bowl oiled with 1 tablespoon olive oil and turn a few times to coat all sides of the dough. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour. (The mysteriously wealthy Alcindoro returns to the caf?rom his ill-fated shoe hunt to find that Musetta has ditched him, leaving only the unpaid check)

Act III: Peel the tomatoes, slice lengthwise and squeeze out as much juice as possible. Cut each half into thin strips; saut?n 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes and set aside. If using canned tomatoes, make certain to squeeze out excess juice before saut?g. (The poet Rodolpho is already unreasonably jealous and Mimi just doesn't seem to be getting over that nasty cough)

Preheat oven to 475?F. Whether using a pizza stone, ceramic tile or baking sheet, make sure that it is in the oven while preheating. Toss the grated mozzarella with the remaining olive oil and set aside. (Mimi bids a tearful farewell to Rodolpho, Musetta and Marcello break up over Musetta's flirting...Rodolpha and the fragile Mimi decide to give it another go)

Act IV: Punch down the dough, form into a ball and flatten on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out until the dough is anywhere from 10 to 14 inches in diameter. A smaller diameter will produce a thicker, more bread-like crust; a larger diameter will yield thinner, more crispy crust. (Although Rodolpho and Marcello are heartbroken and miss Mimi and Musetta beyond words, they still manage to force down an impromptu feast with Colline and Schaunard)

Transfer the dough onto a baker's peel or pizza paddle sprinkled generously with corn meal; Spread the tomato mixture evenly across the top of the pizza; slide into the hot oven bake for 10 minutes. (Mimi really is not taking care of herself... Musetta sells her earrings for medicine...Colline sings a moving farewell to his favorite trench coat)

Remove the pizza from the oven just long enough to top with the mozzarella and parmesan; return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil or oregano and serve at once. (Mimi and Rodolpho recall all the good times...Mimi slips away...Rodolpho's anguished cries fill the air)

Makes 1 big pizza pie



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