Add the new Fontana Gusto portable wood-fired outdoor oven from Williams-Sonoma to the list of appliances that you do not need if you own an AGA. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of wood-fired oven in the back yard and yes, if had $5,000 burning a hole in my pocket, I would consider it. But the AGA is hard to beat as a pizza oven.
If you have an AGA and have not tried pizza, try it ASAP. You will kick yourself for not trying it sooner. It is so easy – in the 2-oven, bake on roasting oven floor for about 7-8 minutes.
The dough is the toughest part to master. I have discovered after years of mediocre results that you must use a high protein flour like bread flour. I have been following Jamie Oliver’s basic bread recipe. You only let it rise once so you stop after step 4. The ingredients for a half recipe are roughly 3 cups flour, 1-1/4 cups water, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp yeast (1.5 packets), 1.5 tsp salt. It should be a little sticky after you start kneading so you may want to add water.
Invest in a wooden pizza peel and a bag of corn meal. Spread the meal on the peel before you place the dough on. This makes it easier to slide the pizza off of the peel on to the floor of the oven.
For sauces I have success with using a doctored up tomato paste. I thin out a small can with a tbsp each of water and olive oil. I add dried oregano, a couple of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes and a couple of pieces of roasted red peppers finely chopped. The pizza pictured above is a pesto and sausage. I sliced and cooked the sausage before assembling the pizza. I have also used sour cream as a sauce to make Alsatian flammkuchen.
Toppings are anything you like. Some may need to be precooked and but most can go on raw. With the flammkuchen, the onions and bacon went on raw. I recently had pesto and sweet potato and goat cheese.
Armed with an AGA and this dough recipe you can master other members of the pizza family like calzone, which is basically a pizza with no sauce folded over. Sauce served on the side.
We have pizza most Friday nights. We make an extra to eat for lunch over the weekend. Reheating involves all of 2.5 minutes on the roasting oven floor. My three year old loves making the dough with me. Pizza is one of the true joys of AGA ownership.