It’s a time-honored tradition to have pizza in the newsroom on election night, when journalists across the country are forced to stay late after polls close, writing stories for the next day’s paper about the newest election results.
This election will be unlike any other, in that results won’t be known hours after the polls close — more likely it will be weeks. But election night pizza is a constant, and in a year where everything has changed, I need something unwavering and comforting.
This year, I won’t be in a newsroom, surrounded by colleagues as we refresh the state election’s website over and over and over and over again. I’ll be at my house, in my pajamas, furiously scrolling through Twitter, as anxious as ever. There won’t be any exit polling, or late-night phone calls to candidates claiming victory, or election website refreshes.
We won’t know the results of today for awhile, and I’m meeting that uncertainty with homemade pizza.
Anyone can make pizza at home. It doesn’t have to be fancy and you don’t have to make homemade dough if you don’t want to. Plenty of people make homemade pizza out of store-bought pizza dough, pre-made pizza dough, English muffins, tortillas, naan, bagels … the world is your pizza.
If you want to make your own dough, I’ll include a recipe for it from an earlier Kalifornsky Kitchen. This week, I made Alison Roman’s focaccia dough, which my boyfriend has reminded me several times is “not pizza.” But, the results were great and had some Chicago deep-dish vibes.
However you make your pizza dough, you’ll need to get a sauce and choose your toppings. We went with classic pepperoni. I made the sauce because it is truly very easy. We picked up some shredded mozzarella cheese and some pepperoni and we were good to go. But feel free to get creative with your pies, especially if it’s all for you.
This pizza sauce can be stored in the fridge for about five days, or freeze it to keep it for up to two months. Pizza doughs can be frozen too.
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
Pour the tomatoes into a small saucepan. With clean hands, reach into the pan and crush all the tomatoes until the pieces are bite sized.
Add in the garlic and spices and heat on medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes, letting it simmer and bubble.
Ladle over your pizza dough, taking care not to spill the sauce too close to the dough’s edges.
Alison Roman’s focaccia bread
1 packet of instant dry yeast (21⁄4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups of lukewarm water
5 cups of bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Whisk the yeast, honey, olive oil and water together in a large bowl (bigger than you think you need)!
Slowly add the flour to the yeast mixture and mix together gradually with a spoon or a spatula. The dough will be really rough and craggy, and then super wet and sticky. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap or some sort of lid and set aside in a warm area for an hour or so, until the dough doubles in size.
Once the dough has doubled, drop it onto a floured surface and knead it, pressing into it, folding it over on itself over and over until it looks smoother and more elastic.
Oil the original mixing bowl to keep the interior slick. Once the dough is smooth, place back into the bowl and drizzle olive oil on top of it. Cover the bowl tightly with wrap or a lid and leave for another hour, until it doubles in size again.
At this point, you can keep the dough wrapped tightly in the bowl and stick on the fridge for a day. Once it’s ready to be baked, pull it out of the bowl and place on a generously oiled baking sheet. With your hands, push and pull the dough to fit into the shape of the baking sheet. It won’t fit all the way perfectly, and that’s OK. Leave for another 50 minutes or so, it will rise again.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. The dough should be light and bouncy and puffy looking. Dimple the face of the dough with your fingers by poking the dough. Drizzle more olive oil on top and scatter sea salt across the dough. At this point, if making pizza, add your toppings. Bake between 35 and 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.
•By Victoria Petersen, For the Peninsula Clarion