Friday, October 31, 2008

Homemade Pizza

I apologize in advance for not having a better recipe to post with these pics, but pizza is something I do by feel and look more than by measurement (Eventually I will stop apologizing for this, because this tends to be the way I cook nearly everything). Homemade pizza, now that I know the trick to making it WELL, has ruined delivery pizza for me forever.

First, the crust:

This recipe is my go-to recipe for pizza crust. It's delicious and cooks up with the crispy-chewy combo that's vitally important to a good neopolitan-style crust. Another option if you don't want to make your own crust is to pick up a ball of dough from your favorite local pizza place. Many will sell this to you for a few dollars at most.

The sauce:
I'm a purist in this regard. I like plain canned tomato sauce (Hunts or Muir Glenn are good) stirred with a little sugar and maybe some fresh garlic at most. The sauce shouldn't compete with the other ingredients.

The cheese:

Go with whole milk mozarella here, folks. It's a must. Slice into thin rounds or chop into little squares for sprinkling on top.

The toppings:

Here's where you can let your imagination go wild. That being said, I do think simple is best here as well. You could do some caramelized onion and a few slices of fresh pear, or maybe just sliced tomato and fresh basil for a pizza margherita. I love a drizzle of pesto with a sprinkling of pine nuts. Be creative!

The cooking method:

Preheat a pizza stone or baking stone in your oven on the highest temp setting available (This is usually about 550 or so), in about the middle of the oven or a tad higher. This preheating will take quite a while, maybe even 30-40 minutes. In the meanwhile, you can prepare your pie.

You want to stretch/toss/roll (whatever works best for you) the dough into about a 12" circle, with the edges being a bit thicker than the rest of the dough. Place onto a pizza peel or unrimmed cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with either cornmeal or semolina flour. These are better than regular flour because they will allow the dough to slide off onto the stone more easily. Spread with a scant amount of pizza sauce -- you want some for flavor but not so much that your cheese and toppings slide off the crust. Top with cheese and toppings. Give the pizza a wiggle to make sure it's loose enough to slide onto the pizza stone. When the oven is ready to go, slide your pizza onto the stone (good luck... this takes some practice). Using a forward and back rapid motion with your hand is the best way to get the pizza to slide off the pizza peel without sticking. If it sticks, you can try using a spatula to loosen the areas that are sticking. Your pizza will NOT be perfectly round. That's ok. We're going for rustic here.

Bake your pizza until the edges are blistered and the cheese is bubbly. This may be as quickly as 5-7 minutes, but it depends on a variety of factors (crust thickness, oven temp, distance from top of oven, etc.) Remove, let sit for about 3-4 minutes, then slice and eat.


LisaZ said...

Oh my, that sounds amazing! You can invite me for pizza anytime...

My recipe for pizza at home? Sorry, but it's the $5 bake-at-home pizza available at Coborn's deli on Friday nights. Terrible, I know!

Jen said...

Oh, that's not terrible. Usually we go for the $5 Trader Joe frozen pizzas. This kind is just too hard to make very often at all... but it makes for better pics. ;)

Jen, Preston and Maren said...

Excited to see your post, I normally make my pizzas on the grill and I'm inside in the blizzard trying to make it happen. Great notes on temp and time. Thanks