Even in Mexico we want our Italian favorites. In fact, I’ve seen spaghetti served in authentic Mexican restaurants. Not sure what the connection is–if pasta developed independently in Latin America or if it was brought over by the Spanish.
This is an easy, forgiving dough that can be used in many different ways. It’s a yeast dough so plan on an hour or two to let it rise. It goes great with Italian red sauce and pasta or with a glass of wine while preparing meals and chatting in the evenings.
Here’s how I use it for focaccia bread…
- 1 1/2 cups regular unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
- optional toppings: Parmesan cheese, rosemary, oregano, basil… whatever you like.
Scoop 1 1/2 cups regular unbleached flour in a Cuisinart and pulse to sift.
Make a well on each side, pour 1/2 cup cold water in one side, mix in some of the flour to make a slurry.
Proof 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water, pour in into the other side and cover with a little flour. I pile 1/2 tsp salt on one of the mounds of flour so I don’t forget it later:
Cover and sit in a warm place for at least 20 minutes to let the yeast bloom. Then add 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil and mix until it forms a ball:
Remove to a floured surface and knead until smooth. If you can poke it with a finger and it bounces back it’s kneaded sufficiently. The dough should be slightly sticky but if a lot of it comes off on your hands knead in more flour:
Oil a bowl, add the ball of dough, and roll it in the oil to keep the skin soft. Cover and let sit in a warm place until it’s about double in size (an hour or 2):
Turn dough onto a pizza pan, pizza stone, or cookie sheet and punch down gently with your fingertips. Brush and drizzle with olive oil and top with whatever you like. Leave it to rise again for a few minutes or put it directly into a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes until brown on the bottom. Cut and serve.