I was fortunate enough to spend the spring of 2010 abroad in the Czech Republic, though not so fortunate as to enjoy the Central European cuisine. Czech meals tend to consist of a slab of meat and a dense potato-based side, all covered in a thick gravy. I suppose you could say it wasn’t quite my cup of culinary tea. (I was not, however, opposed to the pint of beer consumed alongside these dishes.)
Shortly into my stay, however, I stumbled upon a pizzeria just blocks away my apartment. I initially eyed it with suspicion, as the Czech version of international food is a bit skewed (their interpretation of Mexican food is particularly laughable). But after a bite or two, I was hooked. The flavor of sweet onions and peppers mingling with the subtle heat of the spicy salami was simply divine.
Never one to turn down a challenge, I’ve done my best to recreate the pizza—entirely from scratch (because it really does taste better that way). And while I may be thousands of miles away from Prague, it still tastes like what I used to call home.
Completely from Scratch Prague Pizza
1 batch Overnight Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
½ tsp salt
1 pinch red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
½ cup sliced Vidalia onion
1 bell pepper, preferably yellow, sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 package spicy salami
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Knead the dough on a flour surface. If it is still sticky, gradually knead in flour. Set aside to rest.
Bring 2 tbsp olive oil to medium-low heat in a saucepan. Sautee the onions until the oil starts to sizzle, then reduce the pan to low heat. Add the pepper, and allow it to continue to cook.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp olive oil, the chili flakes, salt and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while bringing it to medium-high heat, then allow the garlic to sauté for about 30 seconds. Mix in the tomatoes and allow it to heat throughout. Once it begins to simmer, take it off the heat.
Roll out the dough to make two individual pizzas, transferring them onto a pan coated with cooking spray (preferably olive oil flavored). Spoon the sauce onto the dough and spread it out. Divide the mozzarella between the pizzas and scatter it over the sauce. Arrange the salami over the cheese, then top it with the onions and peppers. Bake at 500 for 10 minutes. Garnish with basil or additional red chili flakes. Makes 2 individual pizzas.
Overnight Pizza Dough
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/3 cups cold water
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly stir in the olive oil and water until all the flour is absorbed. Continue to mix, by hand, for 5-7 minutes. The dough should be stick to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides. If it is too wet, slowly add small amounts of flour until it is no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a floured countertop and cut into two separate pieces. Flour your hands and roll the dough into balls. Put them in plastic ziplock bags and refrigerate them overnight.