Monday, January 28, 2008

Garlic Knots and Basic Pizza Dough

These are fun appetizers from Gourmet. And very easy to make.

It's a good idea to let the dough rise before baking it. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes.

Pecorino cheese also works great. You can use both cheeses to hava a variety.

They are also fun as small bite size pieces. Instead of making knots just cut them into small pieces and wait for them to rise a bit.

Watch them after 15 minutes. 25 minutes would be too long. The more they stay in the oven the crunchier they become.

Just in case you prefer to prepare the pizza dough at home, I'm adding the recipe, which is from Emeril, below. I used store bought ready dough. Enjoy:)

GARLIC KNOTS

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for greasing pan
2 lb frozen pizza dough, thawed
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1/2 cup)

Directions:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil 2 large (17- by 13-inch) baking sheets.

Divide dough in half. Keep half of dough covered with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Gently roll out other half into a 10-inch square on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. (Use your hands to pull corners. If dough is very elastic, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest about 3 minutes.)

Cut square in half with a pizza wheel or a sharp heavy knife, then cut each half crosswise into 15 strips (about 2/3 inch wide). Cover strips with a clean kitchen towel.

Keeping remaining strips covered, gently tie each strip into a knot, pulling ends slightly to secure (if dough is sticky, dust lightly with flour) and arranging knots 1 inch apart in staggered rows on 1 baking sheet. Keep knots covered with clean kitchen towels.

Roll out and cut remaining dough, then form into knots, arranging 1 inch apart in staggered rows on second baking sheet. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, 20 to 25 minutes total.

While knots bake, mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt, then stir together with oil in a very large bowl. Immediately after baking, toss knots in garlic oil, then sprinkle with parsley and cheese and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Knots can be baked, but not coated, 2 hours ahead. Reheat knots on a large baking sheet in a preheated 350°F oven until hot, 3 to 5 minutes, then toss with garlic oil and sprinkle with parsley and cheese.

Makes about 5 dozen knots.

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. You may not need all of the flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil a large mixing bowl with remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, free from drafts until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Yield: dough for 1 (15-inch) pizza

Variations:

Parmesan Pizza Dough:
Substitute 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese for 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour. Use a pinch of salt instead of 1 teaspoon. Proceed as directed above.

Oregano Pizza Dough:
Stir 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano in with the flour and proceed as directed above.

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