Pizza has always been a sensation.
But you don’t need to take an haute-cuisine or serious cook’s approach to make pizza at home. In fact, it’s easy if you follow a few simple tips:
- Buy ready-made pizza dough or bread dough. Most supermarkets carry ready-to-bake frozen raw bread dough, as well as vacuum-packed refrigerated yeast-leavened bread dough or pizza dough. If necessary, let the dough defrost, following package instructions, before making the pizza recipe that follows.
- Be careful with soda-leavened doughs. Some refrigerated-case pizza doughs may be soda-leavened rather than yeast-leavened, and may contain a smaller quantity that the 1 pound called for in the recipe. Soda-leavened doughs will be softer, demanding more delicate handling and careful turning. Adjust topping quantities proportionately to the amount of dough.
- Make smaller pizzas if necessary. If you’d feel more comfortable handling smaller pizzas, divide the dough and toppings into batches.
- Be prepared. Read over the recipe before you start. Have the dough, toppings, and tools all ready before you begin cooking.
- Don’t worry. If the dough becomes misshapen or you don’t distribute the toppings evenly, it’s no big deal. The pizza will only look more appealingly rustic, and your skills will have sharpened by the time you make your next pizza.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Pizza Recipe
Makes 8 appetizer or 4 main-course servings
Sometimes, nothing will do but the classic pizzeria combination of tomato sauce and cheese. Good results can be achieved using premade, good-quality pizza sauce or marinara sauce, found in the refrigerated case or the bottled pasta sauces aisle of your market.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ready-to-bake pizza dough or other yeast bread dough, defrosted if necessary
- 3/4 cup prepared pizza sauce or marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Preheat the Californo pizza oven.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pizza ingredients. Drizzle the olive oil onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Turn the dough in the oil on the baking sheet to coat it, then gently press and pull the dough on the sheet, taking care not to tear it, until you have stretched it out into a large, thin circle or rectangle that will fit on half of your grill rack’s surface. Put the sauce in a bowl and have a long-handled spoon ready for spreading it. Put the Parmesan in a small bowl, with a spoon for sprinkling it. In another bowl, toss together the shredded mozzarella and oregano. Set aside.
- Insert the dough in the oven. After 2 to 3 minutes, check the dough; use tongs to carefully flip the dough over. Immediately spread the sauce over the dough, sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan, and then scatter the mozzarella on top. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted, 5 to 7 minutes more.
- Use a pair of large, long-handled, sturdy spatulas or a baker’s peel to remove the pizza and transfer it to a cutting board or clean baking sheet. With a pizza wheel or a large, sharp knife, cut the pizza into wedges or squares. Serve immediately.
- Enhance the sauce. Taste the sauce in advance. If it’s a little flat or not tomatoey enough, stir in up to 1 teaspoon of sugar. If it lacks good herbal flavor, stir in up to 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
- Go green. Substitute good-quality, store-bought pesto, or quick and easy homemade pesto, for the pizza sauce or marinara sauce. Or use a mixture of pesto and tomato-based sauces.
- Cheese it up. Feel free to add or substitute other favorite cheeses.
- Make it a meat-lover’s pizza. Add thinly sliced pepperoni sausage or ham before sprinkling on the mozzarella. Or grill strips of bacon or Italian sausage links beforehand and crumble them over the sauce.