…has to be homemade pizza. I try to make this once a week to use up some leftover produce and cheese. It is a great, frugal meal, especially if you use ingredients you already have lying around from other meals.
Some people may get a little scared about making the crust, but please don’t be. Nothing could be more forgiving!
I usually use a basic recipe (see below) and then add/switch out different things to make variations. If I happen to have some white wine leftover, I will use some in place of the water (try about 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup). Sometimes I will replace the sugar with some honey, or I will use whole wheat flour instead of the usual all purpose flour. Do some experimenting to find a dough you love. You could even add some dried herbs into the dough (such as oregano, basil, or thyme).
One of the best things about homemade pizza is each person can choose their toppings. If someone in your family loves anchovies, by all means, go right ahead (just don’t let them touch my side)! Another aspect that I love is it gets everyone in the kitchen. The process is easy enough that each person can help roll out the dough and top the pizzas together.
Some of my favorite topping combos are:
- Sun-dried tomatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and goat cheese
- Shredded chicken, red onions, BBQ sauce, cheddar and mozzarella cheese
- Bacon, sauteed veggies (like onion, mushrooms and red bell peppers) with mozzarella
- Butternut squash and prosciutto with pesto and ricotta
- Fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella
Seriously though, anything goes. Anything you have leftover in the frige could be delicious.
Basic Pizza Dough
Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 t. sugar
- 2 t. (one 1/4 oz. pk) instant dry yeast (bread machine yeast)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
- 1 t. salt
- 1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
Place the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk ingredients together. Add the water and oil to the dry ingredients. Starting in the center of the ingredients, stir with a fork until it starts to get difficult.
Switch to using your hands. Knead (with everything still in the bowl) until the ingredients come together to form a smooth dough. It will be a little tacky at this point.
Lightly oil another large bowl with olive oil (I usually actually just use the same bowl by placing the dough on a lightly floured surface while I clean it out). Roll dough around in the bowl a couple of times to lightly coat outside with oil.
Place in a warm place, with a damp towel or plastic wrap over it. Allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size.
When dough has doubled, punch down the center of the dough by pressing with your fist. Fold dough over itself a couple of times, then cover it back up. Allow to rise again for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to its highest setting (mine is 500 degrees). Place a pizza stone in the oven while it heats (or, if you are like me and don’t have a pizza stone, place an upside-down cookie sheet in the oven while preheating instead).
Divide dough in half, setting aside one half for another time (you can refrigerate the dough for a day or two if you are not planning on using it right away, just bring it back to room temperature before rolling). Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/4″ (for thinner crust, roll to about 1/8″). If you want, you can fold the dough over to form a thicker crust on the edges (see photo below).
Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Distribute whatever toppings you see fit. Move pizza to the cookie sheet or pizza stone. You can do this by placing on a peel or another cookie sheet and sliding into the oven.
Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until brown and bubbling. Remove from oven, again with another cookie sheet or a peel, and allow to rest for a couple minutes before cutting in. Enjoy!