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. Ingredients: 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 Method: 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. Variations: 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.
Pizza night has long been an American tradition. Sadly, many people think homemade pizza is a difficult, if not impossible task. Homemade pizza is very easy, economical and does not have to include a box with a mustached chef. The most important part of the pizza is the crust. This recipe is very inexpensive, costing less than one dollar for four pizza crusts. Selecting the toppings for homemade pizza is as individualized as the cook. A pizza can be as simple as crust, sauce and cheese. For variety, brush the crust with olive oil, spread thinly sliced roma tomatoes and top with slices of fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of basil. While pizza stones can cost quite a bit of money, there is a less expensive alternative. Unglazed quarry tiles can be purchased at most big-box lumber/hardware stores in 4-inch or 6-inch squares. The standard oven rack can be covered, leaving circulation space around the sides, for less than $15. There is no need to remove the stones from the oven. When baking, just place pans directly on the stones and there is no difference in baking times. But, if you really want to have a perfect and delicious pizza crust, try using a proper pizza oven. You can check some options on Californo. Crust: 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon instant (rapid-rise) yeast 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 ¾ to 2 cups room temperature water Directions: In bowl of food processor fitted with a dough blade, combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Pulse food processor 2-3 times to blend dry ingredients. With food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil and 1 ¾ cups of water through the chute. Continue to process until combined. Allow dough to rest for five minutes. Process the dough again for approximately 1 minute, adding additional flour or water if necessary. The pizza dough will be more wet and sticky than typical bread dough, but should pull away from the sides of the bowl. This dough is not intended to be kneaded. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Place each portion into an oiled zip-close bag. Allow the dough to rest for one hour at room temperature. If the dough will not be baked the same day, it can be frozen for up to one month. Remove dough from freezer and let thaw in refrigerator overnight before baking. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least one hour before shaping. On a piece of parchment paper, shape dough into desired pizza shape and thickness. Top with sauce and toppings of choice. Using the back of a baking sheet or a pizza peel, transfer the pizza onto a baking stone that has been preheated to a minimum of 450 degrees. A temperature of 500 degrees is desirable. Bake the pizza for five minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is baked through. Sauce: 2 tablespoons minced onion (fresh, not dried) 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 1 6-ounce can tomato paste 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried basil ½ teaspoon ground black pepper Pinch of sea salt Directions: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the minced onion in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and stir for one minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until well-blended, reducing heat to low. Add the balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil, pepper and salt. Stir well. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow flavors to blend. Allow sauce to cool for at least 15 minutes before spreading on pizza crust. Pizza sauce can be frozen. Allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator before using. Crust and sauce recipe make four 10-inch pizzas.