Thoughts on making pizza

Pizza is my favorite food in the world. We’ve been really into making pizza for a few years now, and as it turns out, making pizza is really fun and not all that difficult!

I will say, however, that the process is even easier and the pizza is even more delicious with the right tools. Thankfully, these tools aren’t terribly expensive, and if you really like pizza (like me and my husband), then they’ll be worth the purchase.

We still regularly pay the pros for the really really good pizza (i.e., the restaurants with the ovens that go up to 900 degrees or whatever), and we still order in from the not-as-fancy pizza places when the mood strikes, but making pizza at home is still awesome.

Helpful equipment:

  • Food processor (more expensive, but this will be used beyond just pizza) or stand mixer (even more expensive, but again, will be used for many things besides pizza) for making dough.
  • Pizza stone! We have a cast iron stone that our friends gave to us for our wedding, and it’s awesome.
  • Pizza peel! This has made a big difference. In order to take advantage of everything a pizza stone has to offer, it needs to be preheated in the oven until it’s really freaking hot. Transferring your prepared, unbaked pizza to the hot stone can be tricky. The pizza peel takes care of this for you. While it might take a couple of tries to get right, it’s not too difficult and totally worth it. We have a pizza peel from Crate & Barrel, but there are others out there.

Other stuff:

  • There are like, a billion recipes out there for pizza dough. Everyone has an opinion on pizza dough. We’ve tried a bunch as well. The one we keep coming back to, however, because it’s both simple and tasty, is Mark Bittman’s pizza dough recipe. My favorite part is that we can throw the dough together in the morning and let it rise all day in the refrigerator. The recipe makes one super thick crust (pictured above), or two thinner crusts. The dough freezes perfectly. We’re trying to experiment with reducing this recipe down by a third.
  • Favorite mozzarella cheese: Trader Joe’s brand. It’s stretchy and flavorful and awesome.
  • Favorite pizza sauces:
    • Pesto (store-bought or homemade; we’ve had success with kale pesto as well as classic basil pesto in the past).
    • Tomato sauce: This fresh pizza sauce is really good and easy. However, these days, we’re more likely to make a regular tomato sauce to use on pasta, and then use the leftover sauce on pizza (or freeze to use later). I prefer to blend the tomato sauce with our immersion blender after cooking (I’m not a huge fan of chunky tomato sauce).
  • Favorite toppings (pictured above is pesto, mozzarella, goat cheese, and zucchini, plus basil and chives from our little herb garden):
    • Really good sausage (lightly browned before adding to pizza).
    • Mushrooms (also cooked/browned beforehand, otherwise they’ll make the pizza all watery).
    • Canned artichokes (drained and chopped up).
    • Kale (rubbed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then added to the pizza towards the end of the baking time).
    • Goat cheese, chorizo (or soyrizo) and avocado (avocado added after the pizza is baked).
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