Making pizza at home is fun and delicious. It's all about the toppings and the possibilities are endless. If you’re planning a pizza party, prepare all the toppings ahead of time and when your guests arrive include them in the fun by letting them create their own pizzas.
Making the pizza dough:
(makes 3 pizzas)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
1 cup warm water
3 cups 00 flour OR all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoons salt
Extra Virgin olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast and warm water; stir gently to dissolve and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Turn the mixer on low and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated (about 4 minutes).When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. If the dough is too sticky, add flour (1 tablespoon at a time), if the dough isn't coming together add water (1 tablespoon at a time). Once the dough has formed into a ball turn it out onto a lightly floured area and knead until it’s smooth. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl that has been coated with olive oil, turning the dough once in the bowl to coat with oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it doubles in volume (I set mine over the dryer).
Preheat oven with pizza stone on the bottom rack at 500 degrees F.
Once the dough has at least doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 3 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll out 1 dough at a time, The dough will be fairly elastic, so you’ll have to stretch it out with your rolling pin. To prevent the toppings from making the crust soggy, brush the top of the dough with a bit of additional olive oil. Top with ingredients and slide the pizza onto the hot stone in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is golden.
Pizza Margherita (Makes 1 pizza)
4 tablespoon strained tomato, preferably San Marzano (passata)
pinch of salt
1/2 Mozzarella ball
fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing on the pizza crust
If the tomato sauce is too watery, drain the tomatoes in a strainer to remove excess liquid. Add a generous pinch of salt to the tomato sauce. Sprinkle some cornmeal onto a pizza paddle (if you don’t have a pizza paddle use the backside of a baking sheet). Place a round of dough onto the pizza paddle or pan. Evenly spoon over tomato sauce and pieces of the mozzarella ball. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone in the oven by carefully sliding it off from the paddle or pan. Bake at 500 degree F. until topping is bubbly and crust is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Top with fresh basil leaves and enjoy.
Asparagus, Gorgonzola and Egg Pizza (Makes 1 pizza)
10 roasted asparagus spears (sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 degree F for 10 minutes)
2 eggs, cracked into separate small bowls
1/4 cup gorgonzola mascarpone or crumbled blue cheese
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. Place knobs of gorgonzola mascarpone. Add the asparagus spears over the cheese. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone in the oven then quickly but gently place each egg on the pizza. Bake at 500 degree F. until topping is bubbly and crust is golden brown and the egg is cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Potato, Caramelized Onion and Black Olive and Mozarella Pizza (Makes 1 pizza)
Caramelized onions (3 large onions, peeled, sliced. Drizzle 4 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Toss in the sliced onions and sprinkle with salt. Cook the onions over medium low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 to 45 minutes. When they’re almost brown and have an intense, rich flavor, they’re caramelized. )
2 medium, waxy potatoes, peeled, cooked, and thinly sliced into rounds (In pot of boiling water, cook potatoes for 10 minutes or until almost tender but still firm. Slice thinly; set aside.)
6 Black sicilian olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Brush the the dough with olive oil, top with the mozzarella followed by the caramelized onions, layer the sliced potatoes and gently brush them with olive oil, a place the olives on the pizza. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake at 500 degree F. until potatoes and crust are golden brown, about 10 minutes.