Pizza is my favorite Italian food. I've always claimed it should be a new food group. Apparently a lot of people agree with me because over 3 billion pizzas were sold in the U.S. last year (according to the good folks at pizza.com). The fact that there even is a pizza.com says something!
Growing up in an Italian household meant making our own pizzas from scratch, so I've preferred doing it that way for decades. In my highly-biased opinion, no take-out or restaurant pizza can compare with what comes directly out of your oven.
Elsewhere on this site I mention that I am the proud owner of an outdoor wood-fired oven. For me, it has raised the bar on making good pizzas, but it has also made me realize that recipes and technique are more important than the oven temperature. Don't misunderstand. The high temperature adds an entirely new dimension, but only if you start with the proper ingredients.
Let's begin with the pizza dough, the most important factor by far. Naturally, I recommend the Thin-Crust Pizza included in my recipe collection, but it has a few drawbacks. It requires a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients, an overnight rise in the refrigerator, the use of two specialty flours (bread and semolina), a pizza stone for your oven, and a pizza peel.
If you have these tools and ingredients available, you're good to go. If not, my intent here is to sell homemade pizzas, not kitchen equipment, so we need an alternative approach to get you started. I have titled that one Quick Pan Pizza.
The pizza sauce is easier. The ingredients list is simple, and it can be prepared in about an hour while your pizza dough is rising.
Thinly sliced red potatoes and red onions over basil pesto, topped with freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black lava salt.
On to the oven. If you have a pizza stone, just follow the recipe instructions. No stone? No problem! You can use either a 10-12 inch metal pizza pan or a rimmed cookie sheet of almost any size. Those instructions are included, too.
Here's the catch. Once you have tried a homemade pizza you may never go back to your favorite pizza shack! I will argue that's a good thing.
P.S. This is far from the last thing you will hear from me about pizza!!
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Hobby Chef Grandpa Joe has been practicing Italian-style cooking for over 60 years. He enjoys cooking, entertaining, and sharing culinary experiences with family and friends.
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