I’ve been working on my emergency dough skills lately. It’s one of those critical talents I worried I’d never get around to mastering, like sewing. I’m still worried about sewing. I think of our moms and grandmothers who could throw together anything by hand, without a recipe or pattern, and make it perfectly the first time. And my dad, who can build you anything you ask him to. Even if he’s never built that particular thing before, even if he only has scrap wood to work with, it will be beautiful.
In our house, if a pile of dough wasn’t rising in the kitchen, a sewing machine was humming in the basement, or a drill was twirling in the garage. They’d just whip things up—halloween costumes, wine racks, summer dresses, sleeping lofts. There’s something in them that just knows how to make things. On the spot.
I’m building up to this wondrous, all-knowing state with my first accomplishment: I’ve committed this pizza dough to memory. Laugh if you will, but this is big. Pizza dough was always one of my mom’s whip-it-out-of-nowhere tricks. No measuring cups, no recipes, and certainly no kitchen gadgets. She’d just tip a mountain of flour on the table, make a crater in the middle, and pour in water and yeast. Some other things too, I’m sure. Then we’d lose her in a cloud of flour, arms flying, dough slamming, until she emerged with perfect emergency pizza dough for dinner. Before she set it to rise she’d give me a hunk to use like Play-Doh, which I’d secretly eat when she wasn’t looking.
Sunday night posed the perfect challenge. Joe was glued to a baseball game with our friends Celia and Ian and I’d promised dinner. Never mind that we hadn’t bought groceries in two weeks. I had two bags of whole wheat flour in the cupboard, a wild boar mini roast in the freezer (what, you don’t?), and a row of homemade tomato sauce that was tired of pasta. That had to do.
I need emergency skills in moments like these! If not, what will happen years from now, when my daughter needs a Snow White costume and I don’t know how to make it? When my son wants to craft a wine rack for his girlfriend and I don’t know how to help him? Emergency whole wheat wild boar Baseball pizza is no different. I need to know how to make these things on the spot. If I don’t do it, who will?
Whole Wheat Wild Boar Pizza
For the crust:
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ teaspoon brown sugar
1 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Mix in the salt and the oil. Add two cups of flour and mix in an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. If you’re kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a well-floured surface. Keep adding flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and let it rise until double; about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. You can make two thin-crust pizzas with this dough quantity or one Sicilian-style pie. I divided it onto two cookie sheets for really light, thin pizzas.
Oil your pan(s) and lay out the dough. You won’t even need to using a rolling pin for this dough; just flaten it with your fingers and extend to the edge of the pan.
Let the dough rise in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before topping.
For the toppings:
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons dry oregano
¼ cup fresh basil (optional—we didn’t have any)
salt and pepper to taste
½ pound wild boar roast (link?), or any other meat, roasted and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 can black olives, chopped or sliced
½ cup grated Romano cheese
Brush the crusts with olive oil. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce on each pie.
Add the meat, broccoli, peppers, onions, and olives. Finish with a generous sprinkling of grated Romano.
Bake in the preheated over for 20 minutes, or unil the crust is golden.