Pizza’s one of my go-to’s when I want an easy dinner and have to get rid of stuff in the fridge. When I was single, I made it probably twice a month, often with just veggies. Since getting married, I made the mistake once of serving a veggie-only pizza for dinner; I thought I could distract Nathan with all cheese. But alas, the first words out of his mouth when he sat down were “Where’s the meat?” Sigh.
But I digress. The main point is that pizza is 1) supremely easy (no pun intended) for busy/single/non-cooking people/anyone and 2) it is a crowd pleaser, so you can even serve it to guests. Homemade pizza seems gourmet even though it’s so easy!
You can usually make pizza with stuff you have laying around, and it takes like 20 minutes. You do need to have a pizza stone and a rolling pin on hand but these are not expensive so just go get one of each. You’ll be glad you did.
Keep the following on hand:
- Trader Joe’s or Fresh ‘n Easy Whole Wheat ready-to-bake pizza doughs. If you don’t have a TJ’s nearby (sniff) make your own whole wheat dough in a breadmaker (I make the larger batch size and divide.) Freeze extras until you need them. Pull one out on your way to work, keep in fridge, and it will be thawed when you get home.
- Cans of tomato sauce (various sizes).
- Some type of cheese. Shredded mozzerella, parmesan, etc.
Preheat Pizza Stone
This is important. If you don’t, the crust will be kinda soggy. I start with this step – just plop the stone in the oven while it’s pre-heating and while you do everything else.
Make sure to obey the package instructions, which usually requires you to remove the dough from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes prior to rolling it out. I always pull it out of the fridge first and leave it there while I prep the toppings, and that’s usually enough time.
Once the dough is room temperature, sprinkle some whole wheat flour on a dry surface, and roll out the dough, turning at least once.
While preparing the toppings, placed the rolled out dough on pre-heated pizza stone, and pre-cook for about 10 minutes. Pre-cooking the dough is very important in order to get a better crust. Remove and pop any big bubbles in the dough with the tip of a knife (see photo).
Open a small can of tomato sauce for a single pizza. Whisk spices and chopped garlic into the sauce. I usually use sage, rosemary, salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. Set aside.
If you have any of the spiced sauce leftover (you probably will), freeze or refrigerate it. You can use it for another pizza, for pasta sauce, or in other recipes.I had some in the fridge and dumped it over stuffed hatch chilis last night (which were awesome – stuffing was cream cheese, sausage, and red onion – but I didn’t take any pics. Next time).
Spoon sauce in thin layer over pre-cooked dough. Avoid putting too much sauce or your crust will be soggy.
The most important thing about adding toppings is to layer them, starting with the flattest ingredients first. In this case, I used sliced red onion, Italian Hot Sausage, sliced crimini mushrooms, halved baby heirloom tomatoes, and mozzarella. Other favorite combos:
- Spinach, goat cheese (or mozzarella medallions), and prosciutto
- Red or green pepper, sausage, and mozzarella
- Leftover chopped chicken breast, shredded cheddar cheese, red onion (you can substitute tomato sauce with BBQ sauce for this one).
Assemble toppings on dough with pre-cooked dough still on pizza stone.
Your pizza will be piled high; gently transfer pizza stone to preheated oven and bake according to package instructions – usually about 10 minutes, or until cheese is thoroughly melted and beginning to brown, and crust edges are also browning. Here’s my pizza, before and after baking. YUM!!
Let me know what variations you create – we can share ideas! Post your combos below – and happy pizza making. – HBA