Perfect pizza

I’ve become a little obsessed lately with homemade pizza because frankly, if I may modestly say so, it’s delicious and far better than any pizza I’ve ever eaten — either in a restaurant or in anyone’s home.

Yes, yes, I’ve been to Chicago. Yes, I know about New York. I’m sure you have your favorite chain pizza pie that you’d rather eat than anything else. But part of the reason I like my pizza is that I’ve refined it over time, added things that worked and dropped the things that didn’t, won a whole family full of fans, and developed a product that, when consumed as leftovers the next day at work, inspires slitty eyed envy among my coworkers.

Not that this is the main benefit, of course.

I have a bread machine, and in it I make the crust. If you have one, you probably have a crust recipe. Here’s mine.

Pizza Crust

Add ingredients in order listed. Time in bread machine: about 2 hours

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 and one-half teaspoons yeast for bread machines

Set machine to white dough setting. When it beeps after kneading, add one teaspoon dried basil, one tablespoon wheat germ, and one tablespoon Ralston whole-wheat cereal (optional).

When dough finishes, allow to sit in the bread machine at least 15 minutes. Punch down and divide into two discs.

Here’s is where I probably differ from the purists: I roll out my dough with a rolling pin. Yes, all the recipes tell you to push it out into a circle with your fingers. Bah. It never goes into a circle. I love my crust rolled into a perfect circle and if it compresses it, I can’t tell and it still tastes great. So roll away!

Oil two pizza pans with olive oil. Roll out dough into gorgeous perfect circles and lay then in your pans. Drizzle with olive oil and use a pastry brush to coat the surface. Top with your favorite toppings, bake 20 minutes and serve.

And now for my astonishingly good pizza sauce recipe!

Pizza Sauce

1 large can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, including juice

1 can tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon dried parsley

Parmesan cheese to taste (about 1/4 cup)

Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and blend until smooth. Add more salt if necessary. Makes enough for about three pizzas, so you’ll have sauce left over if you’re making your own crust.

Here’s an array of toppings. I usually also include some spinach, which I wilt slightly in the microwave first, then drape across the pizza. Sauteed eggplant that’s been cut into tiny pieces is great. Also good is Onion-Cheese topping, which you can use in place of tomato sauce, or in addition to.

Onion-Cheese Topping

2 medium onions, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in a small pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onions caramelize. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then add cheeses. Stir well.

Put your pizzas on the lowest racks; what I normally do is give each one half-time on the low rack. One of my pans has lots of holes on the bottom, so it usually spends more time on the top.

What are your favorite toppings? Share your pizza secrets here!

2 thoughts on “Perfect pizza

  1. Oh my stars!!! Thank you!! I can’t wait to try this, and from now on I wouldn’t roll mine out..I always thought it was against the Pizza Law and I’d be arrested!!!

  2. Ohhh girl. I have been making my own pizza for years. I have yet to create a satisfactory crust, though. I am crust curst. But there’s a local place that makes perfect frozen dough so sometimes I cheat. Also, have you tried doing pizza on the grill?? Heat up the grill and slap down a dough round. The grill will be hot enough that the dough won’t slide through the grates. Flip it over, top with a little bit of stuff, and waahhhlaaaah grilled pizza.

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