Here’s my pizza recipe using ingredients that are easy to find, even in rural Costa Rica! I'd recommend learning this recipe before you go. It's basically impossible to find a pizza in CR that doesn't taste like rice and beans for some reason. Gross.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons of oil (olive oil if you can find it, but I've used sunflower and canola too)
- 3/4 cup very warm water (almost hot, but cool enough that you can still stick your finger in it)
- 2 cups white wheat flour (bread flour if you can find it, but that’s rare in my area of Costa Rica)
- 2 teaspoons of instant yeast (this is quite common – ask for levadura)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (for later!)
- 2 to 4 ounces of tomato sauce, pizza sauce, or ground canned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of whatever herbs you can find (I have good luck finding fresh basil and oregano at the local market, but dried would be fine. Use 1 teaspoon of dried.)
- Mozzarella cheese, if you can find it. If not, the common Costa Rican soft white cheese – Quesa Descremado – works nicely.
- Pineapple – fresh of course!
- Bell peppers
- Leftover meat if desired (whatever you happen to have – chicken, beef, whatever)
- Tomatoes (I like to add the tomatoes after the pizza is cooked It makes a contrast with the hot pizza against cold, crisp tomato slices. Yum!)
Into the bowl of your mixer, place the sugar, salt, oil, water, yeast, and flour. Mix on low using the paddle just until the dough starts coming together. Switch out the paddle for the dough hook. Knead of 10 minutes on speed 2.
Remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Grease the mixing bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Form the dough into a nice smooth ball, and put back into the mixing bowl, tossing it around a bit to coat with oil all over. (At this point, you could cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for tomorrow.)
If you prefer a thicker crust, allow the dough to rise for one hour before proceeding.
Preheat your oven to the hottest it will go without burning your house down.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then stretch and toss into a circular shape (do not use a rolling pin!) If you have trouble stretching the dough out thin enough, take a break and let it sit on the counter for 10 more minutes – it will be easier to stretch after a little rest.
When you’re happy with the thickness of your pizza crust, (thickness is more important than getting a perfectly circular shape,) place on a lightly oiled pan.
Add tomato sauce, herbs, grated cheese, and desired toppings. You can let the pizza sit for a few minutes at this point while your oven finishes heating.
When your oven is nice and hot, put the pizza in quickly so as not to lose any heat. Watch it carefully, as it might only take 5 to 10 minutes depending on your oven. As soon as the cheese gets bubbly, carefully check the underside of the crust – if it’s slightly brown, your pizza is done.
Make sure to let your pizza cool for a few minutes before you try to cut it!
This recipe will make one large 18" pizza, two 10" pizzas, or four personal-sized pizzas.