During the “dark months” Saturday night is Pizza Night at our house. I keep all the ingredients on hand (many in my freezer) so I don’t have to dash to the grocery store. I despise dashing to the grocery store.
It takes about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, although in a crisis of forgetfulness, I’ve zipped pizza out under two hours. We love the quality of the pizzas, there are endless combinations, and it has been an economical way to feed our family and have fun doing it!
I shop at Costco (~ Sam’s Club) and Grocery Outlet (~ Winco) for the ingredients.
• 3 lb. bag of shredded Parmesan (~$11)
• Sliced pepperoni (5 lb bag? / Cost?)
• 5 liter Olive Oil (~$22) this is not extra virgin
• 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes (when I find a sale for .99, I buy a dozen)
I vacuum-pack the pepperoni in small portions and freeze them. The cheese I store in the freezer and get out about an hour before I need it. I break off what I need and put it back in the freezer.
You are looking at the prices and muttering…Pizza on the cheap? Hold on! This will make dozens of pizzas. You could buy the ingredients in smaller portions, which I recommend if you are a beginner. (I recall the first time I bought whole wheat farina–a 25 pound bag–and served it to my guys. The words gruel, cruel, strangle, choke, and monstrous all got thrown around; my husband got all magisterial and forbid (!) whole wheat farina ever again appearing on our table, and I had 24.9 pounds left.)
There is one other necessary purchase: a baking stone. You can spend $40 at a home party or you can buy one for $15 at a box store. I bake bread, pizza, scones, focaccia, and hot pockets on my stone. As you can see, it is well seasoned. The stone will make the difference in the pizza crust. You gotta have a baking stone.
Cornmeal Crust (message me if you’d like recipe for basic crust or whole wheat crust)
Stir and let mixture stand until it foams.
2 scant Tablespoons yeast (or 2 envelopes)
2 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
2 teaspoon salt
Add yeast mixture and
to cornmeal mixture.
Mix and knead the dough by hand, in food processor or electric mixer.
Let dough rise in well-oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap until doubled, 45 minutes – 1 1/2 hour.
(You can halve this recipe. I like to utilize the hot oven and make enough for leftovers. This will make six smaller pizzas or 4 larger pizzas.)
~ 1/4 c. olive oil (go with less, it works)
oregano to taste
garlic (powder, minced, fresh chopped) optional
pesto (I just throw in a cube from the freezer) optional
Simmer 10-15 minutes (or longer).
It takes a bit of practice to get the pizza into the oven in one piece. Roll out dough into a circle. Transfer dough to flat (no lip) cookie sheet or a pizza peel (looks like a massive spanking paddle) or a flat cutting board or if you are desperate a plastic chopping sheet. Critical: sprinkle your board generously with cornmeal. This keeps the dough from sticking. You will slide the pizza into the oven. Another flat cookie sheet or plastic cutting sheet is good to persuade naughty pizzas onto the pathway of righteousness. Another hint: start by making smallish pizzas.
Preheat oven and stone to 500°. Add sauce and toppings according to taste. My man likes more sauce and less cheese. Adding a sprinkling of Parmesan on top of the Mozzarella adds a little zip. Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes.
Ranch dressing for the sauce on a chicken garlic pizza.
Just brush the crust with olive oil for a caramelized onion Gorgonzola pizza.
Chevre (goat’s cheese), sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted garlic
Black olive and red pepper
Smoked salmon and mushroom
Jackrabbit and pheasant (we live in the wild west)
Vegetable Extravaganza: onion, pepper, olive, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, herbs
The photo at the top is my son’s first attempt at making pizza.
Everything in this blog post was taught to me by my brother Dan.
He bought my first pizza stone, gave me a pizza peel, and made many pizzas in my oven. Thanks, bro!