Flatbread Pizzas with Sweet Onion Marmalade
Pizza, Pizza: “The Godfather is the I-ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? Leave the gun, take the cannoli. What day of the week is it? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday.”
–quoted from You’ve Got Mail
About once a month, Adam and I have “Godfather’s Pizza Night.” Probably not what you’re thinking – we watch one of our all-time favorite movies, The Godfather, and we order pizza. Notice I said “order.” Remember that we live in a remote location, a.k.a. the Boonies, so pizza delivery is not an option. The closest take-out of any kind is in the ever-so-cosmopolitan hub of Pineola, North Carolina, population about 30, where there is a really bad Mexican restaurant and a pretty decent Italian one that makes pizza, pasta, calzones and Greek salads (I know it doesn’t make any sense). We phone in our order for “The Sicilian” (okay, it’s cheesy, but we all know how much I love my food themes) and forty minutes later, Adam returns home with a room temperature pie that is loaded – and I mean loaded – with every conceivable topping (except anchovies), all encased in a 6-inch thick crust. This thing is so huge, I’m sure that if you dropped it, you’d break a toe. It’s just too much. But, when you decide at the last minute that it’s “Pizza and A Movie Night,” well, there you go.
Scene One: (Adam, obviously unhappy with his dinner begins to deconstruct the disappointment, starting with the marinara sauce): “It’s overdone. It’s boring. Heavy. Uninteresting.” Blah, blah, blah… feel free to improvise for unspecified amount of time.
Entr’acte: Adam takes a deep breath and his wife gets up from the table to generously refill her wine glass. She returns to the table and sighs. Next scene: With the dishes done, the couple is now sitting in their respective television-watching chairs. After a few moments, Adam pauses the movie, holds his hand in the air and scratches his chin, very much like Vito Corleone himself does when he’s about to give “the order.” (Cue “here-we-go-again” eye roll from Cheryl). He continues the one-sided conversation. Cheryl looks on, pretends to be listening.
Adam: “You remember that pizza you used to make when you loved me? You know the one with the white sauce? What was it? A béchamel?’
Adam: “And the crust. It was perfect. Thin and crispy.”
Cheryl: “Yep. It was thin and crispy.”
Cheryl: (realizing that she NEVER wants to have this conversation EVER again says) “Make me an offer I can’t refuse.”
What a great excuse to throw a “Make-it-yourself” pizza party. Set out bowls of all kinds of toppings (different cheeses, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, black olives, cooked ground sausage or beef, etc.) and let each guest construct individual pies.
- FOR THE BASIC YEAST DOUGH:
- one ¼-ounce package quick-rise yeast
- 1-1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and flatbreads
- cornmeal, for baking sheets
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced and coarsely chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- FOR THE FLATBREADS:
- Assorted toppings (in the photographs: Sweet Onion Marmalade on both–one with mushrooms, black olives, mozzarella and Parmesan. The other adds cooked Italian sausage and roasted red peppers).
- Make the dough: Whisk together the yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl until combined and let sit until frothy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add in the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix on medium-high until a ball of dough forms, about 1 minute. Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Lightly flour a work surface, take the dough ball and knead it 4 or 5 times until soft. Place the dough in the prepared bowl and turn to coat the ball all over with the oil. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and sprinkle two large baking sheets with cornmeal. Set aside. Punch down the dough and divide it into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll one dough ball into a large oval (about 6 inches by 15 inches). Transfer the flatbread to the prepared baking sheet (roll the dough around the rolling pin, place on the baking sheet and unroll) and repeat with remaining dough balls. Brush each flatbread with olive oil, top as desired and bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- To make the Sweet Onion Marmalade: In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onions, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and cook, stirring (or shaking the pan) occasionally until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar and thyme, turn up the heat to medium and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Cook until the liquid has completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Content and photography © 2010 Hutchstone, LLC. All rights reserved.