Three Guys From Miami: Cuban and Spanish Food Recipes
Jorge: Cuban pizzas combine the traditional tastes of Italy with a few Cuban variations, things like plátanos, picadillo, Spanish chorizo, and lobster.

Glenn: The Cuban style of pizza was born in Havana, but perfected at several shops in the beach town of Varadero.

Raúl: Pizza in the Varadero style is the most popular in Miami, with a thicker crust, a heavier sauce, and a cheese blend that packs a little more bite.

Jorge: In Cuba, Gouda cheese was widely available and that's the cheese they used for pizza.

Glenn: In Miami, most Cuban pizza places use a blend of half Gouda and half mozzarella.

Jorge: While working on our own Cuban pizza recipe, Glenn came up with the idea for a "white" Cuban pizza.

Raúl: It doesn't look white -- it's green!

Glenn: OK, maybe it's not 100 percent authentic, but it tastes great.


Cuban Pizza (Red)

By Three Guys From Miami



Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings (4 personal-size pizzas) serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Cuban-style pizza, born in Havana and perfected at several shops in the Cuban beach town of Varadero.

INGREDIENTS:

Dough

1 tablespoon sugar
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 1/4 cups white flour
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce

1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaf

Toppings

1 cup Gouda cheese, grated (more or less) plus:
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated (more or less) NOTE: blend cheeses together

Pick one or more of the following:

Spanish chorizo, sliced very thin "pepperoni style" or ground in a food processor or meat grinder
portuguese chorizo
diced ham
cooked shrimp (olive oil, salt, pepper, and ground cumin -- see instructions)
cooked lobster (olive oil, salt, pepper, and ground cumin -- see instructions)
picadillo
ripe plantains
leftover lechón asado
veggies: green bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, chopped garlic, black olives, green olives, red or green tomato slices
For the Dough

1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the water in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes in a warm place—it should begin to foam.

2. Sift together the flour and the salt. Place the yeast mixture and the olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the flour, a little at a time, until you have a stiff, but pliable dough. Adjust the amount of flour, more or less, to achieve the right consistency.

3. Let the machine knead the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes. Place this smooth ball of dough into a greased bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm place to rise until double in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

4. If you don't have a stand mixer, don't despair! You can easily mix the dough with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the flour, a little at a time, until you have a stiff, but pliable dough. Adjust the amount of flour, more or less, to achieve the right consistency.

5. Knead the dough with your hands for approximately 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough in half, knead, dust lightly with flour, and repeat this step about a dozen times. Properly kneaded dough will be smooth and not sticky.

For the Sauce:

1. Use a large saucepan and sauté the green peppers and onion in olive oil until limp. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute or two, stirring constantly.

2. Add the salt, tomato puree, lemon juice, sugar, paprika, oregano, and bay leaf.

3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool. Remove bay leaf.

To make the pizzas:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Punch down the dough. Remove it from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Work out the dough by hand to form 4 individual pizza rounds, about 6 inches in diameter. Turn and re-flour the dough as you form your crusts. The crust should be quite thick—about 1/2 inch.

3. Place the individual pizza rounds on a well-greased baking sheet. Liberally cover the dough with the sauce. Add your favorite topping (or toppings) and cover the pizza with the cheese.

4. Bake in the oven for approximately 14 to 18 minutes. The cheese should be melted and starting to brown slightly at the edges of the pizzas.

Toppings

Chorizo -- The classic Cuban pizza is made with Spanish chorizo. Most pizza places tend to grind this dry sausage to the consistency of taco meat. Use a meat grinder or a food processor with the metal chopping blade. You may also use it "pepperoni style," sliced thin in rounds. Whichever style you use, spread evenly over the sauce and under the cheese.

Portuguese chorizo -- is available in many markets. The spices are similar; however, this sausage is not as dry and is more tender than Spanish chorizo. It makes a great topping for pizza.

Diced ham -- is also very popular. Use a good quality bone-in ham slice and cut it into bite-size pieces.

Shrimp and lobster -- when we add shrimp or lobster (and sometimes both) to our pizzas, we like to sauté them first in a little olive oil. Remove the lobster meat from the tails and cut into chunks. Peel and devein the shrimp. Season the shrimp or lobster lightly with salt, pepper, and a little cumin. Sauté the shrimp or lobster pieces, flipping once after a minute or so, until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook!

Plantains -- use very ripe plantains cut lengthwise in strips about 1/2 inch thick. Some people also use sweet ripe yellow bananas. If using plantain or banana, add to the top of the pizza during the last 5 or 6 minutes of baking. Arrange the slices on top of the cheese. They will soften and brown slightly from the oven heat.

Leftover picadillo and lechón asado are also popular toppings.

Vegetables -- Cuban pizzas feature all of the same vegetable toppings that are popular on American pizzas. You should slice your green peppers in rings. Cut your onions in rings and then cut the rings in half. Select one or more of these vegetables or add them all for the ultimate Cuban pizza with everything.

For the Dough

Follow the "Dough" section of the "red" Pizza recipe ABOVE for instructions on making the dough and forming the individual pizzas.

For the Sauce

1. Place the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and oine nuts in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until you have a smooth puree.

2. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse the blender a few times to incorporate. Add a little freshly ground black pepper to taste.

For the Toppings

1. Buy mild Anaheim chiles—they are long and quite large and are light green in color. Roast the chiles under the broiler, turning once, so that the skins are blackened. Let cool slightly.

2. Hold the chiles under cold running water. Remove the top, stems, and seeds—discard. Peel away the charred black skin.

3. Slice the chile lengthwise and flatten. Cut into pieces about 1-inch square.

4. This pizza is best with just the chiles, tomatoes, and cheese. If you really need the meat, use Spanish or Portuguese chorizo.

To make the pizzas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Follow the instructions in the "Pizza Cubana" recipe to make and form the pizza rounds.

2. Place the individual pizza rounds on a well-greased baking sheet.

3. Liberally cover the dough with the pesto sauce. Sprinkle on some chiles and sliced tomato. Cover each pizza with the cheese.

4. Bake in the oven for approximately 14 to 18 minutes. The cheese should be melted and starting to brown slightly at the edges of the pizzas.

Pizza Cubana Blanca en el Estilo de Glenn

Glenn's White Cuban Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Pesto Sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves and stems
1 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Dash ground black pepper

Toppings

4 large mild Anaheim chiles
6 red ripe Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 cup Gouda cheese, grated (more or less) plus 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated (more or less), blended together

OPTIONAL: Spanish chorizo sliced very thin or ground in a food processor or meat grinder or Portuguese chorizo

This recipe and editorial content from the book: "Three Guys From Miami Celebrate Cuban." Copyright ©2006 All Rights Reserved.

No copying or commercial duplication of any content (including photos) without the express written permission of the authors and proper attribution.

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