Pizza Pie In My Eye

Well, we’re less than two weeks away from the Best Pizza in Grand Forks Contest, and I can hardly wait.

Things are shaping up quite nicely, according to Emily Wright, executive administrator
Grand Forks Housing Authority, which is sponsoring the Aug.3 contest. All of the restaurants that entered last year are returning, with the exception of Boston’s, which has closed. They are Green Mill, ‘l Bistro, Mamma Maria’s, Rhombus Guys, Sbarro and Slapshot.

All placed in the top two in at least one category last year. (The six categories: Kids’ Choice, Best Crust, Best Gourmet, Best Value, Most Creative and People’s Choice.)

The contest will feature an interesting dynamic, according to Emily, which will come from not having a "reigning champion" in the areas of Most Creative and Kids’ Choice, both of which were won by Boston’s last year.

The contest, which is open to the public, once again will be held in the Link (300 Cherry St.). Judging begins at 6 p.m. The People’s Choice category, which in voted on by all in attendance, also begins at 6 p.m.

For those who want to try their hand at making pizza, here’s a recipe that’s been adapted from Spacca Napoli Pizzeria, a well-known Chicago restaurant.

Light Bite Pizza Napoletana
Corn meal
Pizza dough (recipe follows)
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
Handful of smoked mozzarella, cubed
2 or 3 strips prosciutto di parma, thinly sliced
Handful of baby arugula
Parmesan, shaved into curls
If you have a pizza stone handy, set it on the bottom rack of the oven. If not, don’t fret. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle some corn meal onto a wooden peel or rimless baking sheet. Set it aside.
Gently pat and stretch 1 dough ball into pizza shape, 8 inches across and ¼-inch thick at the center.
Set dough circle on the peel or baking sheet. Rub on 1 to 2 teaspoons oil. Top with a handful of smoked mozzarella.
Slide pizza onto the hot stone or baking sheet into the oven. Bake until crust is crisp and the cheese melted, 4 to 5 minutes.
Top hot pizza with 2 or 3 strips of prosciutto, a handful of arugula and a few shavings of Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil.
Yield: Serves 4.

Pizza Dough
¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
½ cup pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
In a medium bowl, mix yeast and warm water. Add pastry flour and salt. Dust in all-purpose flour, stopping when dough is no longer sticky. Knead smooth, 10 minutes.
Settle dough ball in the mixing bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 3 to 4 hours.
Punch down dough. Cut and roll into 4 balls. Set balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 2 hours.
Yield: 4 8-inch pizzas.