Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mystic Pizza

One of my favorite movies of Julia Robert’s is Mystic Pizza. The movie revolves around a family of sisters who own a pizza shop and go thru heartache, happiness, and sadness. The pizza in the movie is one of the stars as well. Thus, this particular recipe is called: Mystic Pizza. This recipe actually came out of the Cooking Light edition back in 1998. I remember trying it for the first time in our home in Brandermill. My mom made it for us and I just loved it. I brought this recipe back to life about 3 years ago, and have continued to make it since. It’s a very easy recipe and it really doesn’t take long to make. Trust me don’t be scared of creating your own dough. It’s really easy and if you use the Fast Rise yeast as opposed to the Active Rise yeast it will go even quicker. And, I’ve never added cornmeal to this recipe. What also makes this recipe fun is that you can choose any ingredient you want to top the pizza with, and you can experiment with the tomato sauce. I have stopped putting fennel, red pepper flakes, and I’ve never added fresh cilantro in the sauce. I use dried basil, oregano, and cilantro. I add a bit of sugar and salt to the tomato sauce as well as a clove of garlic and it’s really good. Though, their recipe is great, too.

Yield: 6 servings


• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 package quick-rise yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
• 1/2 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
• Cooking spray
• 2 teaspoons cornmeal
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
• 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
• 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Normally, I use rapid yeast, which makes this process so much easier. Basically, you put one pouch of yeast into a bowl, lightly spoon 1/4 cups flour and level it with a knife, pour in the sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, lightly pour in the olive oil, and then pour in the warm water. Stir quickly until it forms a soft dough.
Sometimes I add just a little bit of flour so it isn't too wet. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. It says to knead until smooth and elastic which is about 10 minutes. I usually only do it for about 5 minutes and it turns out just fine. Again, I have to add some flour just to make sure it doesn't stick too much to my hands when kneading the dough. Next, place the dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray; turn to coat the top. I cover it with some plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm oven (85°) for about 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Take out the dough, and punch your fist into it. Then roll it out onto a floured surface. Then place onto your pizza pan. Crimp the edges if you like and let the dough stand for 10 minutes covererd. I usually skip that part, too.
Preheat oven to 450°.

Punch dough down; roll dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on a baking sheet or 12-inch pizza pan coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Crimp edges of dough to form a rim. Let dough stand, covered, 10 minutes.

In a small sauce pan, I add a clove of garlic, a small can of tomato sauce, some salt, some oregano, cilantro, basil, and pepper, and I cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce is very warm. I skip the fennel seeds and I use dried herbs. Spread sauce over pizza crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden. Remove pizza to cutting board; cut into wedges.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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