Goat cheese and sun-dried tomato pizza with basil chiffonade is a party for your mouth. It might sound long and complicated, but it’s not. This happens to be my absolute favorite pizza. Once you make pizza at home, you won’t want to order it out again.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was a pizza place in Century City, California that back in the 1980s, I used to go there with my friends for lunch when I was working at Cantor Fitzgerald as a telecommunications manager. We got to talking to the owner, Johhny, one day and found out that he was from New York and had missed the pizza from home, so he made it his mission in life to make a pizza his people would be proud of. The flour he used was shipped from New York. I asked what made the crust so good and he said milk.
Skip ahead to about three years ago when I was seeing a therapist in Glendale, California and there was a pizza place in the lobby. One day, I was early and hungry so I got a piece of their goat cheese and sun-dried tomato pizza. Oh my goodness! I thought I was in heaven and I got that pizza whenever they had it available. Sadly, the place didn’t last very long and closed – leaving me without my favorite pizza. I decided to find another place that made it. Wasn’t I surprised to find out that indeed, the place I loved so many years ago was still going strong in Century City and was the maker of my beloved pizza!
Rich, Buttery Crust
I’ve been baking my own pizza for years, ever since Trader Joe’s had dough and sauce in the deli counter. But, I kept thinking about Johnny and his dough so I’ve been trying to replicate it. Someone on Facebook mentioned powdered butter for popcorn and baking and I bought some. Yes, it is wonderful on popcorn, and it elevates pizza crust to another level. There’s nothing like that rich, buttery flavor as the very last bite of your slice. Dare I say it? Yes, it’s better than Johhny’s. You can get powdered butter at Amazon.
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~~ * Crust * ~~
- 1 ½ cups 00 flour
- ½ cup semolina
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pizza flavoring
- 2 tablespoons powdered butter, optional
- ¾ cup lukewarm water
~~ * Sauce * ~~
- 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Tuscan Sunset
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar, to taste
- Black pepper, freshly cracked
~~ * Topping * ~~
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons shaved parmesan
- 2 tablespoons basil chiffonade
~~ * Pizza Flavoring * ~~
- 1 teaspoon Tuscan Sunset
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon crushed chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Black pepper, to taste
* Make the pizza seasoning *
- Put all the pizza spices together and mix. Store in a glass jar.
* Prep the crust *
- Put everything except the water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the kneading paddle. Stir to combine then start adding the water a little at a time. When the dough comes together and there is very little flour on the sides of the bowl, crank it up to 2 and knead it for 5 minutes. By that time, it should be soft and supple.
- Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it either with plastic wrap or better, a shower cap.
- Turn your oven on to 350. The minute you hear it come on, turn it off. Put the covered bowl in the oven and close the door. Let it rise for at least 90 minutes or until it''s about doubled in bulk.
* Make the Sauce *
- While the crust is rising, make the sauce. Put everything together in a saucepan. Heat it and stir it. Taste for seasoning. Take it off the heat and set it aside.
* Pizza *
- If the pizza stone is not already in the oven, put it in now. Preheat the oven to 500 F / 260 C degrees.
- When the dough has risen enough, pat it down and use a bench scraper to divide it into two. Keep half in the covered bowl while you roll out the first.
- Put flour on a surface and roll the dough out large enough to fit your pizza peel.
- Put a piece of parchment paper on the peel and put the rolled out dough on the parchment.
- Roll the edges in and try to make the dough into a circle but don''t worry if it''s not perfect.
- Using a small ladle, put about half of the sauce on the dough and spread it around. Top with half the goat cheese, some fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and top with the shaved parmesan. Set the basil aside. Slide the pizza and parchment paper off the peel and sit it somewhere safe from furry creatures.
- At this point, you can repeat the process and make a second pizza with the same toppings, or change the toppings on the second pizza.
- When you are ready, slide the parchment with the first pizza onto the peel and then slide the pizza and parchment on to the hot pizza stone. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust has started to brown and the cheese is nice and bubbly.
- Get the pizza peel and a fork. This is important. Grab the edge of the cooked pizza with the fork and slide it on to the peel. Remove the pizza from the oven. Top it with the reserved basil. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting it.
- Put the second pizza in and repeat the process.