This is a republished version of an old post. I have made improvements to the recipe and I took much, much improved pictures!
I have been attempting to make good pizza at home for a long time. Usually, I use Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust, which is only $1/lb and stores forever in the freezer. However, it seems to perpetually remain soggy, no matter what ingredients and sauce I use (it does work exceptionally well for calzones).
Recently, one of my best friends in the whole wide world visited me in my new apartment, and it turns out she has a secret family recipe for pizza dough that is really fantastic. I’m not going to share her recipe here because of the whole secret family recipe thing, but it’s more or less similar to Martha Stewart’s recipe. Maybe my friend will be willing to share the recipe in a guest blog post! I recently tried following this food processor recipe with 100% whole wheat flour, and it worked beautifully, so give it a shot!
We totally made up on the spot what to put on this pizza. I didn’t have any tomato sauce, so I made up a white sauce with things from my cabinet. Basically, my boyfriend spent about an hour mincing garlic into the smallest pieces I’ve ever seen (Just mincing finely is good enough, but I was impressed regardless). I took that garlic and browned it in a little olive oil, then added it to about 3 T olive oil, a dash of salt, and some parmesan/romano cheese in a bowl.
Anyway, this sauce was so surprisingly good that we haven’t used anything else since!
I had some frozen chicken that I defrosted, cubed, and sauteed, and some peppers and spinach that I also sauteed. And of course, lots of fresh mozzarella. I actually prefer firmer fresh mozzarella as opposed to the softer, more gourmet stuff for pizza because it has lower water content and doesn’t leak all over the place.
My friend revealed that the key to a really good pizza is to preheat the pizza stone in a 450F oven while prepping the dough and ingredients. It makes assembling the pizza on a burning hot pan a risky business, but I find it definitely worth it! I use the Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan that my dad gave me, and it does a fantastic job. At only $30, it’s an excellent addition to the rest of my pots and pans. Just roll out the dough to the size of the stone before putting it on the pan, because it starts baking the instant it hits the stone.
Then quickly slather on the sauce and top with the ingredients. Toss it back in the oven and 8-12 minutes later you’ll have the best pizza you’ve ever tasted!
Now, my boyfriend and I have made this quite often since my friend’s visit. I wanted to feel slightly less guilty about eating so much pizza, so I switched out the flour for white whole wheat flour. It took my boyfriend three pizza nights to notice ;).
Also, I’m lucky enough to have a Kitchenaid mixer, which significantly cuts down on the amount of elbow grease needed to make the dough. If you also have a mixer, use the mixing paddle to incorporate all the ingredients and then use the dough hook to knead the dough. The bowl also works well as a holding place for the ball of dough while it rises. Or, use your food processor!
One added benefit of being so good at making pizza is that you can feed it to your friends and they bring you wine.
Our tried-and-true toppings are chicken and peppers or spinach, but we also made an incredibly good pizza with prociutto, fontina, and peppers. I once also made a pizza with butternut squash, ricotta, and craisins modeled after Otto Pizza in Brookline, which was a pretty good replica if I may say so!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- Parmesan cheese, for viscosity
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a small pan. Add garlic and saute until softened.
- Season with salt and add Parmesan to slightly thicken the sauce.
- Spread on pizza crust before adding toppings.