Pizza (A Love Story)

Happy National Pizza Day! Honestly, I didn’t know it was National Pizza Day until my Instagram feed was covered in pizzas, but I think that’s a good enough reason for a pizza night and pizza recipe! First, I have a pizza story.

Pizza has been a constant for a few years – a dinner that Jake and I make and share together. It started in college. Every Monday, the bar down the road from our house offered a pizza and a pitcher of Fat Tire for $8. Being college kids, the price was right and we had time to have a pitcher of beer on a Monday night. We didn’t like staying up late or big weekend bar crowds, so every Monday was our very own, relatively uncrowded date night to have a drink and split a pizza (red sauce, pineapple, pepperoni, and pickled jalapeños) before turning in at 10:00 for the night.

After college, we stayed in Southern Maryland for a year, and started experimenting with making our own pizzas. Jake was just starting to get in to baking, and began making delicious sourdough crusts. I was going down a rabbit hole of pickling, so we always had interesting toppings for pizza experiments. At the time, we were living with Jake’s sister and her husband John, who had a garden flush with tomatoes and basil perfect for sauces and garnishes.

Jake and I wanted to continue our weekly tradition of pizza night, and since there wasn’t any pizza nearby, we decided we’d have to do it ourselves. Each week, we invited all of our neighbor friends over for pizza. Everyone brought their own pie, and we all tried pizzas with crazy pickle toppings, Mexican themed sauces, and more. Life was good! Somewhere along the way, John invented a Thai pizza sauce, a blend of curry paste, coconut milk, and fish sauce, garnished with Mozzarella cheese and really any ingredients that suited our fancy. It’s been a staple ever since, as has pizza night.

When we moved to Baltimore, our weekly pizza nights slowly went by the wayside, although every now and then we’ll put one together in our neighborhoods, old and new! Jake and I still make pizza at least once every two weeks. Jake ferments dough and makes the crust, and I prepare our toppings – shaved cheeses, simmering tomatoes for sauce, sliced pickled veggies, and chopped herbs. It’s a great vehicle for any flavor or mood we’re in, and I love that pizza is something that can always be shared. Pizza has come to be the bread that Jake and I break together, and the meal that we share with our dearest friends and each other whenever we can.

Coming up on Valentine’s Day, sharing tonight’s pizza was a perfect reminder that sometimes life gives you the perfect pie.

Thai Pizza

Ingredients 

  • One pizza dough, either store bought or homemade
  • Grated mozzarella cheese

For the Sauce 

  • 2 tbsp any Thai curry paste; I like Panaeng for pizza
  • 8 oz coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Fish sauce
  • Peanut oil

Toppings (Pick 3-5)

  • Chopped peanuts
  • Thai basil
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced Thai sausage
  • Crispy tofu
  • Smoked sardines
  • Sliced pickled watermelon rind
  • Preserved limes, minced
  • Shallots
  • Sliced garlic
  • Sriracha

Instructions

  • For our pizza, we use homemade sourdough baked at high temperatures (500°F) for about 13 minutes on a pizza baking sheet or in a pre-heated cast iron skillet. Pizza processes vary; follow store bought dough baking directions or your favorite method if you have one. Otherwise, preheat your oven to 500 °F.
  • Stretch out your dough into a large circle. Let it rest a bit while you make your sauce.
  • In a small sauce pot, heat about 1/2 tbsp peanut oil on medium high. When it is hot, briefly fry the curry paste for a few seconds, until it is very fragrant. Add the coconut milk and stir, continuing to stir occasionally while the sauce cooks down. Let it reduce for about ten minutes, until the sauce is thickened and almost a paste. Stir in the fish sauce, and remove from heat. Spread on your pizza!
  • Top the pizza with mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings. Generally, I use certain types of toppings in the following ways:
    • Precook sausages or fried tofu before baking the pizza
    • Toss sliced vegetables like shallots, garlic, or other fresh veg with a splash of oil to prevent burning
    • Drain wet and oily ingredients like canned fish or pickles to reduce moisture
    • Reserve fresh herbs to garnish the pizza after it is baked
  • Move the pizza to a pizza pan, pre-heated cast iron, or pizza stone and bake the pizza for about 13 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
  • Enjoy with a good beer and share with your favorite person!

 

 

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