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Recipes Plucked From Puck's Latest Cookbook

January 9, 1992



PIZZA DOUGH "Around Napoli, the people used to make pizzas out of leftover bread dough," writes Wolfgang Puck in "Adventures in the Kitchen" (Random House, $30). For toppings, they would use "tomatoes, fresh herbs, and sometimes buffalo mozzarella from the water buffalo grazing nearby. I add honey to the dough, which gives the crust a nice golden color when cooked." 1 package active dry or fresh yeast 1 teaspoon honey or sugar 3/4 cup warm water (105 degrees F. to 115 degrees F.) 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons olive oil (or chili and garlic oil, if available), plus additionl for brushing

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In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup of the warm water.

In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and, when absorbed, scrape in the dissolved yeast. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water and knead on low speed for about 5 minutes.

Turn out onto a board and knead 2 or 3 minutes longer. Dough should be smooth and firm. Let rise in a warm spot, covered with a damp towel, about 30 minutes. (Dough will stretch when lightly pulled.)

Divide dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then, on a smooth unfloured surface, roll ball under the palm of your hand until the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, balls can be loosely covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 525 degrees F. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven.

To prepare each pizza, place a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. Press down on the center, spreading dough, or roll into a 7- or 8-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. Brush lightly with oil and arrange the topping of your choice (see spicy chicken topping recipe) only over the inner circle.

Arrange pizza on the stone or baking sheet, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pizzas are nicely browned. Transfer to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter.

SPICY CHICKEN PIZZA Spicy Chicken Pizza, Mexican Pizza, Vegetarian Pizza, and Spicy Scallop Pizza "are four of the most popular pizzas served at Spago," one of Chef Puck's restaurants, he writes. "You may want to try your own variations and come up with some interesting combinations." 3 cups (about 1 pound skinned and boned)

cubed chicken MARINADE: 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeno pepper Pinch of chopped cilantro Salt TOPPING: 3 cups grated mozzarella cheese 2 cups grated fontina cheese 1 pound (about 6) plum tomatoes, ends removed, cut into thin slices 1/2 cup cubed eggplant, sauteed or grilled 1/2 cup grilled onion, chopped Chopped chives 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange the cubed chicken in a medium bowl and toss with the marinade ingredients, using 1/2 cup olive oil. Season lightly with salt. Let marinate for about 1 hour, refrigerated.

In a skillet large enough to hold the chicken in one layer, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Saute the chicken just to brown on all sides.