I’ve tried my hand at homemade pizza more frequently since our move to California. Back home, if we really wanted pizza, we’d get it from our favorite spot (Sergis, of course!) But since we haven’t fallen in love with anything here yet, I figured it was a good opportunity to find a workable pizza recipe for our family.
Easier said than done.
I’m just not a fan of bready, bland, homemade pizza dough — which seems to be what most recipes are serving up. So I kept trying, altering my topping, altering the temperature, finding another promising recipe… Finally, I realized one of my favorite food bloggers at Smitten Kitchen has pizza in her archives. Since she’s a New Yorker, I figured she wouldn’t be recommending any of those thick and heavy bread-pizzas, so I pulled out my new pizza pans and tried it.
Okay, it’s not Sergis. Not even close.
But it wasn’t bad, either. In fact, Ryan actually liked it. (That hasn’t been his response to my previous homemade attempts.) It makes a nice thin-crust pie with plenty of flavor. Pair it with this simple sauce, and you’re off to a good start — or so says my husband, anyway!
Pizza That Makes The Cut
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
8 tablespoons warm water
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
torn fresh mozzarella (about 8oz)
several torn basil leaves
sauce (recipe below)
Whisk water and yeast in a medium bowl until yeast has dissolved. Add honey, salt and olive oil and stir. Add flour and no matter how dry it looks, work it with a spoon and your fingers until it comes together as a dough.
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for a minute or two.
Put dough in oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot for an hour or up to two, until it is doubled.
Meanwhile, make some sauce [recipe below].
Preheat your oven to its highest temperature. [optional if you have non-stick pans:] If you have a pizza stone, sprinkle it with cornmeal and put it in the oven. Otherwise, sprinkle a baking pan with the same.
Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured counter and gently deflate the dough with the palm of your hands. Form it into a ball and let it rest on a floured spot with either plastic wrap over it (sprinkle the top of the dough with flour so it doesn’t stick) or an upended bowl. In 15 minutes, it is ready to roll out.
Do so on the floured counter until pretty thin, then lift it onto a cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet or pizza paddle. Add the sauce, torn-up mozzarella and slivers of fresh basil.
Slide the pizza from the paddle to your preheated pizza stone, or just put the baking sheet in the oven as is.
Bake for about 10 minutes, checking at 7. Slice and serve immediately. –makes one 6-slice pizza.
Saute 3 cloves of chopped garlic in a glug of olive oil until fragrant (but NOT brown). Add a 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and simmer for about 20 minutes. –makes enough for 2 pizzas.