Make the Best Homemade Pizza You’ve Ever Had — Tonight!

Have you ever heard anyone say they don't like pizza? I'm fairly certain everyone loves it. And why not? You can eat it standing up. It doesn't require any utensils. It's delicious hot from the oven or cold from the fridge. Pizzas can be dressed up with fancy toppings or served simply. Even picky kids will eat it when they won't eat anything else. I dare say, pizza just might be the perfect food.

If you're not making pizza at home then you're seriously missing out. Sure, it's tasty, quick and easy, but it's mostly super fun to make. Pizza is also the perfect meal for a busy weeknight, so don't be intimidated! With a few tips and tricks you can make a pie that's just as good (or better!) than your local pizzeria.


Ingredients:

3 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pans

2 to 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

1/8 tsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. dried oregano

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

All-purpose flour

1 lb. pizza dough

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, grated or sliced

Your favorite meats and veggies


How to make it step-by-step:

First things first, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. A blazing hot oven is crucial to making delicious pizza at home. Your oven will take a lot longer to reach 500 degrees than you think, a good half hour at least. My oven claims to reach high temps within minutes, not true! It actually takes quite a while. (Side note: if you do not own an oven thermometer please get one ASAP. You can buy one here. Go do it now. I'll wait.)

I'm very picky about my sauce and almost always make my own. You could use jarred sauce, but this is so much tastier that it's definitely worth the few extra minutes. Start by infusing a few tablespoons of good quality olive oil with thinly sliced cloves of garlic in a small sauce pan. Cook over gentle heat until the garlic starts to sizzle and becomes fragrant.

Add one small can of diced tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, and pinch of dried oregano. If you have fresh oregano, even better!

Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are tender and the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat to cool.

Time for the dough. Ok, so, I have a confession: I don't usually make my own dough. I know, shocking. I'll give you all a minute to collect yourself. I usually buy it from the pizza counter at my local market. Their pizza crust is super delicious and it saves me the half a day it would take to make my own. That said, if I have a lazy weekend day all to myself, I will totally make my own dough. Pizza dough is so simple to make and requires just a few pantry staples to prepare. However, it isn't quick, so when I make pizza mid week, I usually buy the dough. By the way, if you buy your dough frozen, you're going to want to thaw it out first and let it come to room temperature. Pizza dough should be soft and tender.

Lightly flour your work surface. I like to halve it and make two smaller pizzas rather than one big one because it's easier to work with. You could also quarter the dough and make personal size pizzas.

Shape the pieces of dough into balls and then flatten them.

Then begin hurling the dough into the air. (Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGDUmGlMJzU.) It's especially fun if you speak to the dough with a really bad Italian accent while you do it.

KIDDING! Simply, stretch or roll the dough to your desired thinness.

I like paper-thin pizza crust, but if you like it thicker, by all means make it thicker. This is, after all, your pizza pie. To get mine super thin, sometimes I bust out a rolling pin. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.

Transfer pizza crust to a rimmed baking sheet pan that has been brushed liberally with olive oil. Top with about half of the pizza sauce. I love baking my pizzas on these old sheet pans. They are so well seasoned that the crust wouldn't even dream of sticking.

Now comes the fun part—toppings! I always use fresh mozzarella on my pizza, but feel free to use your favorite cheese. After the cheese comes the really good stuff. I'm going to top one pizza with pepperoni and sliced olives and the other with goat cheese (in addition to the mozzarella), thinly sliced zucchini and red onion.

Pop the pizzas into the oven and bake until the crust is golden and crisp.

Times will very depending on the thickness of the crust, but they cook pretty quickly at high heat, 10 to 15 minutes. I'm finishing my pizzas with some parmesan and fresh basil.

That's it! Whip up a simple salad and open a bottle of red wine and you have a quick, yummy dinner for any night of the week.

Buon Appetito!


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