I love pizza. Especially homemade pizza. I worked a pizza place for a while during high school and loved the taste of the homemade pizza. I loved being able to design my own and put which ever toppings I like. I grew up eating pizza from this place in Christiansted that would put tomato, broccoli and mushrooms on their veggie pizza. This was my favorite combination and still is. There was a period where I would buy a frozen cheese pizza and add my toppings before baking. Patrick, London and I loved this. Then I decided that I wanted to start making anything that I could from scratch. This included the pizza dough and sauce. I found a recipe online, by Giada DeLaurentiis from Food Network, that was simple, easy to make and tasty. I then would make a simple sauce add cheese and then my toppings. It has been fun to learn what I like and what goes with what. It's also a great way to get the kids involved in dinner. London loves being able to pick what goes on the pizza. When planning dinner I ask her what she wants and she usually tells me. She picks olives a lot. (I love black olives on my pizza.) Another thing to do with the kids is to let them place the toppings onto the pizza. If you don't mind you can make it a smiley face or another pattern. They love this and most likely will definitely eat it once it is baked. Here is the dough and sauce recipe.
3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees )
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups flour (plus some to dust the surface)
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
In your mixer place the yeast and the sugar. Add the 3/4 cup warm water. Stir a little bit and then let stand for about 5 minutes and make sure the yeast rises.
Preheat oven to 375.
Spray or brush some olive oil into a large bowl. Turn the mixer on and add the flour and salt. Slowly drizzle the olive oil until combined. Flour your surface and kneed the dough until smooth. Place dough into the bowl and cover with wrap. Place in a warm draft-free area and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Take the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a circle. (You can always try with your hands just spinning it out but this takes practice.) Place on your greased and/or floured pizza pan or stone. (You can buy a pizza pan from Target pretty cheap. It's a round pan with a bunch of holes in it.)
8 oz can of tomato sauce, no salt added
salt and pepper
Heat some olive oil in a small sauce pan. Add the crushed garlic. ( I like to use crushed garlic to that once I put the sauce on the pizza I can take out the garlic so no one gets a huge chunk. But if you love garlic leave it in.) Add oregano and basil and let saute for a bit. Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer in order to let the flavors blend.
After your sauce is finished spread the sauce evenly on your pizza dough, that is now rolled out on the pizza pan/stone. If you are going to make a tomato basil I like to put the basil leaves on before I put the cheese.
Then add 8 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese. (You can use fresh mozzarella if you desire., then just spread out the slices around the pizza.) Then add your toppings.
Place in the oven. About half way through I slide the pizza directly onto the rack in order for the whole crust to get crunchy and to give it that pizzeria taste. I usually bake mine for about 15 minutes but I always check to make sure it's not burning. It's done when the cheese is golden. Slide back onto the pan to take out of the oven.
Take out and enjoy!!
I really like a pesto pizza. If you want to do this, instead of putting red sauce on the dough you spread homemade, or store bought, pesto all over and then cover with cheese. Sometimes after the cheese I add sliced tomatoes and then bake. So delicious. There are so many options in creating your own pizza, go crazy.
Make sure to involve your kids if you have them. You can even make this dough and cut it up once it rises to make small individual size pizzas that they can create all by themselves. (Birthday party idea! London's best friend Chloe did this for her birthday party and the kids loved it!)