So, we got home from church just before lunchtime this past Sunday and I didn’t have a clue what to fix. I have that happen quite often if I can’t seem to get myself in planning mode so it’s one of those fly-by-the-seat of your pants kind of moments where you have to just pull something out of hat! So, on a whim, we went with pizza!
You start with “Pizza Dough in a Pinch” from page 332 of the Cookbook and then you pray, like I did, that you have some random staples in your frig to put on the pizza!
Love making this pizza dough ‘cause it literally takes seconds and then you just let it rest for about a half hour and that gives you just enough time to get your oven all the way up to 475 degrees. High heat is key to getting a crispy crust and a pizza stone helps as well but it’s not required it just helps transfer the heat to the bottom of the baking sheet and crisp up the dough!
Pizza Dough in a Pinch
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour, divided
1 Tbsp. Yeast
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
3/4 cup of Warm Water (make sure it is not too hot to touch as that will kill the yeast)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
I like to make this pizza dough in the food processor. It comes together in just a few minutes but you can most certainly do it by hand as well.
Using a food processor bowl with fitted blade, add in 1 3/4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Drizzle in warm water and oil together and pulse until a soft dough forms (the dough will pull away from the edges and almost form a ball). Add in the remaining flour in ¼ cup increments until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl (I usually just put a tsp. or two of olive oil down in the bottom of the bowl and use my fingers to spread around the bottom and sides of the bowl). Turn the dough over a couple of times so it is evenly coated with the oil. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (a south facing room is usually perfect!) until it has doubled in size (approximately 30 minutes). While the dough is rising, place a pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven and let heat to 475 degrees.
Lightly sprinkle some flour out onto a clean surface. After the dough has doubled in size, remove dough from bowl and divide into 2 balls so you can make 2 separate pizzas. Place one ball of dough down onto floured surface and roll out with lightly floured rolling pin to the desired thickness as well as to the size of the pan you will be placing it in. I usually just use a regular size baking sheet. Here is a great tip: Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and then lightly sprinkle with cornmeal before placing the dough down on it. It adds great flavor and it will allow the pizza to come right up after you cut it.
Once you place the dough onto the baking sheet, free free to shape (pull and stretch) the dough into whatever shape you like, I usually try for a rectangular shape but it is a hit or miss and often times, I leave it up to my kiddos! Repeat process with remaining ball of dough on another baking sheet.
Now, the fun part – adding the toppings! Here is a list of the toppings that I used this time for both pizzas but feel free to ad lib and use what you have available – it never hurts just to make cheese pizza either! Remember that the below list is for BOTH pizzas so divide ingredients up evenly for each pizza.
- Drizzle approximately 1-2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil across the dough, using your fingers to spread it out evenly.
- 3 cups Gouda Cheese, shredded using grater blade in the food processor. (Love this cheese! I feel like it melts so much better than mozzarella but don’t get me wrong fresh mozzarella on a pizza is to die for!). I like to spread the cheese out onto the dough of each pizza before adding any toppings. I think it prevents the crust from getting soggy. I then reserve a little bit of cheese for the very top of each pizza.
- 1 cup Mild Italian Sausage, browned and crumbled (it was left over from biscuits and gravy that morning so it was an easy choice to use it up).
- 2 cups thinly sliced, sauteed Yellow, Red and Orange Bell Peppers and Onions (I had a big container of veggies that I had cooked in some olive oil earlier that week just sitting there waiting to be used up. Be sure and draw out as much moisture with any vegetable you add to the pizza. This helps prevent soggy pizza!
- Sprinkling of Garlic Powder across each pizza
- Sprinkling of Onion Powder across each pizza
- Sprinkling or two of Dried Oregano across each pizza
- Sprinkling or two of Dried Basil across each pizza
- Sprinkling of Kosher Salt across each pizza
- 6-10 Fresh Basil Leaves, torn into bits. (I like to make sure that the fresh basil leaves are tucked under the veggies a bit so they don’t crisp up and shrivel too much in the oven)
- Drizzle of Olive Oil across each pizza
- I also sprinkled some Truffle Salt across each pizza as well (I can’t say we always have this in the house but I picked some up in the Fall when I was out in Seattle and we have been addicted to it since!) It seems like it will last forever as we have barely put a dent in this teeny-tiny jar in the 6 months we have had it!
- Sprinkle on any remaining Gouda cheese
Put the prepared pizza in the oven one at a time, placing the baking sheet directly on the pizza stone. Let bake for approximately 12 minutes. Be sure and watch it closely toward the end of baking as it can brown up quickly. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Lift up on parchment paper and place pizza onto cutting board. Use pizza cutter or knife to cut into squares. Place other pizza in oven and repeat baking process. By the time you are finished devouring the first pizza, you and your family will be ready to hit the second pizza that is coming out from the oven piping hot! Hope you enjoy!
Remember, it’s not really about what ingredients my family added – it’s what your family likes on a pizza. You can be as inventive, creative or classic as you want! If you haven’t tried it before, I would suggest trying the “white pizza” format of cheese and olive oil as the base instead of tomato sauce, it is a fun twist that my own family loves and yours might just too!
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