Home Cooking – Polish Pizza (Pizza with Bacon, Onions and Cream)

Forgive me for naming this dish Polish Pizza, when, in fact, I happened upon the recipe under a much more elegant and descriptive name – Pizza with Bacon, Onion and Cream. But I made this last night, after a week of sub-freezing temperatures and gray skies, and it reminded me of the warm, rich foods I associate with the Eastern European side of myself.

For crust, I mixed together a cup and a half of flour, a half cup of warm water, around a tablespoon of olive oil, a little less than a teaspoon of yeast, and a little less than that of salt, and stirred it until it formed a ball and I could knead it in my hands. If the thought of kneading dough brings even a touch of technique-intimidation to you, all you need to know is that massaging moistened flour makes dough. I’ve seen cookbooks offer helpful diagrams with quarter-turns and arrows, but all you really need to do is to give it a deep massage. I roll it between my hands, fold it over on the cutting board, and just kind of free-form wrestle with it until it feels like a cohesive ball that wants to stay together. If I poke it with a finger and the dough pulls together to shrink the indentation, then it’s ready.

The sauce for this pizza is what made it seem Polish to me. It was a half cup of ricotta cheese, a half cup of sour cream, and a generous amount of fresh-ground black pepper – maybe a tablespoon? I know ricotta is not Polish, but that sauce tasted just like the filling of my mother’s pierogies – one of my favorite things in the whole world. On top of that I spread bits of crispy bacon, and onion caramelized by slow cooking in the bacon grease. Then I baked it on the bottom rack of a 450 degree oven until the crust was golden brown and super-crisp.

Technically, it was a pizza, but pizzas are sunshine, tomatoes, and snappy spice. This was solid, deep, and snowy-colored. It was pizza, but it had a Polish soul.

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