Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Homemade Pizza

I love pizza. I think I could eat it almost every day and never tire of it. Growing up outside Manhattan has also made us privy to some of the best pizza in the continental United States. Relatives that have spread out to other areas of the country find it mandatory to have a slice, or two, or three whenever they find themselves back East. It's really that good.
Unfortunately, we find the pizza joints around here to be totally inconsistent. One time you will order a pie that knocks your socks off, next time it may be awful. Just when we think we found a new place to order from we wind up sorely disappointed a few orders in.
A few weeks ago we arrived home from work exhausted and hungry and placed an order with a local pizzeria we'd been frequenting for some time. I flipped open the box, stomach growling with anticipation and peered down at a charred circle that looked vaguely like a pizza and was so thin it could barely hold the sauce and cheese that was on top. It tasted as unappetizing as it looked and I was annoyed. You get more consistency from the drive thru window at McDonald's or Taco Bell than these pizza joints around here.
I was resolved to start making my own and two weeks ago I began to do just that. It's quick, it's easy and I can turn out two pies for less than the cost of a single crappy take out one. In fact I announced that first night that it was the best pizza I had had in the past year and I wasn't bragging. I was just stating the truth.

Homemade Cheese Pizza
I have been buying local refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store as a short cut but I also keep the packets of instant pizza dough yeast on hand. The packets cost pennies, they just take a few extra steps to prepare.
1 ball of pizza dough
1 cup of homemade or prepared pizza sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella (or other Italian blend)
This ratio is critical because too much sauce is no good and too little sauce is no good either.

Roll out pizza dough on a pizza stone or other round baking pan. 
Spread pizza sauce on top
 I use the backside of a spoon to spread the sauce around the rolled out dough
Top with shredded cheese
Bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is melted and dough has firm, lightly browned edges. Takes about 12-15 minutes

*note: Use your imagination! The sky is the limit with toppings. I love a Hawaiian pie so on Friday nights I will chop up any leftover deli ham from the week's lunches to minimize food waste