I love pizza!! I’ve lived in Austin for twelve years and I spent many years searching for a pizza to rival my favorite Houston pie purveyor… Star Pizza. Star turned out a whole wheat Vegetarian Starburst pizza second to none. Gooey cheese, caramelized onions, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini squash, green peppers and a light splash of a tangy tomato sauce. I craved this pizza on a regular basis and went into pizza withdrawal when I moved to Austin. My BFF Kathleen regularly takes pity on me and brings me one when she comes to visit.
No worries though…I kept trying different Austin pizzerias and discovered Via 313 Pizza. They offer Chicago style crunchy yet chewy pizza crust in several combinations that satisfy my cravings. My favorite at this pizza parlour is “The Cadillac”…Gorgonzola cheese, fig preserves, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmesan drizzled with a Balsamic Glaze. A Melt in your mouth-watering experience! My second favorite at Via 313 is “The Rocket”…Hot Soppresatta, spicy arugula and shaved Parmesan. These pies aren’t cheap but so worth it since these guys use the highest quality ingredients which probably helps them create such gastronomical delights.
Through the years I have experimented with making my own pizza. My pizza stone gets quite a workout with pizzas, cookies, and bread. I usually use a whole wheat crust purchased from HEB or Trader Joe’s. My “go to” favorite at home pizza consists of cheese, cheese and more cheese (who doesn’t like bread and cheese!), caramelized onions, Medjool date pieces, cooked bacon bits, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, Parmesan Reggiano cheese and a splash of Con Olio pungent, peppery olive oil followed by a drizzle of Fig Balsamic Vinegar and a dash of coarse kosher salt. But I’ve decided that the time has come for me to master my own pizza dough since I have a definite preference for my toppings.
Yesterday I tackled making pizza dough for the first time. Just plain old pizza dough. Using my Kitchen Aide, mixing the dough was easy and it doubled in size in about two hours. While it was rising, I prepped the toppings for my pizza. Next I gathered the dough into a ball and pressed it out on my pizza peel that was lightly dusted with flour. I was even able to pick the dough up and stretch it by moving my fists around and around like you see in the movies. With practice I might be able to send the dough flying. It stretched quickly to the size I wanted and after topping it, baked in a 475 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
For a first effort at making my own pizza dough, it wasn’t half bad. Was it perfect? Hardly and I will keep trying to find the one that satisfies my palette. I know I prefer a whole wheat crust so will try that next and perhaps bake in a square or rectangular pan to try to get that crisp buttery crust that Via 313 has made famous. Too bad I can’t take a lesson from their expert pizza makers.