I think it’s safe to say that making your own pizza will change your life. At least it changed ours in the way we feel about eating it…
Let’s face it, pizza is delicious — dough, sauce, cheese — although it’s not one of those foods that I just have to have. We just about never go out for pizza and when it’s delivered it’s usually mediocre at best. Pools of grease that then sit heavy in your stomach. Ugh. I generally don’t feel so great after a pizza delivery experience, a quick heavy meal that cost a pretty penny. Not to mention the standard pizza sauce surely involves onions. Delicious at the time but not always a feel good situation in the end.
Last winter Joe and I got into making our own pizza and haven’t gone out or ordered pizza delivery since. It’s just so simple and so much cheaper to make our own; it’s actually quicker too. While you can’t deny that it is pizza you are eating, it feels better for you because you control everything that goes into it. For example the cheese — you can use as much or as little, you can buy a cheese that is light or of higher quality. You can load it with vegetables so it’s not just dough sauce and cheese, you can roll it out as thin or as thick as you like…. basically it’s fully customizable, so how could you lose? Make it just how you like it and feel good about eating it. Have it for lunch the next day too…
This recipe makes 2 big delicious pizzas:
roasted red pepper sauce:
6 medium peppers
1 head of garlic
kosher salt to taste
1 1/3 cup warm-to-hot water (about 100 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 packet)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon rosemary
3 cups chopped mushrooms
12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
First prepare your sauce; this can be done the day before if you plan ahead but we often just do it the same day. Doesn’t matter. Preheat oven to 425°. Wash ingredients to be roasted. For this sauce we used 6 medium peppers (2 red, 2 orange, 2 yellow), 4 small tomatoes, 1 jalapeño, and a head of garlic. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with oil. Wrap the head of garlic in foil and drizzle with oil, place on baking sheet as well. Roast for about 40 minutes turning once or twice during that time. The peppers will be slightly blackened and soft when the are done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before handling.
Before blending, remove the stems and seeds from the peppers, you can leave the jalapeño seeds in and cut out the stem from the tomatoes. I also like to peal away the skin from the bell peppers and tomatoes to create a smoother textured sauce. Include the garlic and blend until desired consistency. Salt to taste. We ended up with about 4 cups of sauce which is a little more than we would use for the two pizzas. 3 cups should be enough. But we wouldn’t want to run out so we planned to have a little extra instead. Set aside while you prepare the rest the dough and toppings.
Next prepare the dough. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer combine 1 1/3 cup warm water with 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry active yeast (or 1 packet). Allow to sit for a couple of minutes to give the yeast a chance to work. Add a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix in 3 1/2 cups flour and let the dough sit for about 15 minutes while your prepare your ingredients.
Preheat oven 425°
(check that your rack is at the lower setting before the oven gets hot)
Peal and chop the potatoes in smaller pieces, we usually cut them to about 1/2 inch cubes or similar sized rectangles. Slice mushrooms. Remove rosemary leaves from stems and coarsely chop if you’d like. Shred your cheese. We always buy the block of cheese to grate ourselves for a couple of reasons; it’s generally less expensive and there are unnecessary preservatives added to prepackaged shredded cheeses — same stuff with a bit of extra questionable ingredients added to the mix. No thank you, we’ll grate our own.
Time to roll out the dough! Get out two large baking sheets and grease them up. Sometimes we use butter and other times we’ll use a spray oil. You can also use a sprinkle of cornmeal if you’d like. we’ve never had a problem with the pizza sticking.
Cut the dough in half making 2 balls. Roll out one at a time on a lightly floured surface. The dough might be a little tough if you’ve never rolled dough before, but you can stretch it out a bit by pulling at the edges and letting it hang off your hands. If you want to be really daring, practice spinning it in the air; this might seem like an unnecessary flourish but it actually helps stretch the dough.
Now it’s time to top the pizzas…
First layer is the sauce, spread an even layer across each pizza. It takes about 1 1/2-2 cups of sauce per pizza. We usually roll out each pizza to be about 12 x 15 inches or so. You’ll probably have more sauce than you need so put as much as you like.
Second layer is the potatoes. Divide your cut potatoes in two and scatter them on top of the sauce.
Third layer is the rosemary. I usually chop up about a heaping tablespoon or so of rosemary to share between the 2 pizzas. You can add more if you want a more intense rosemary taste, but it’s a pretty strong flavor so you don’t want to overdue it especially if your cooking it for other people.
The forth layer is the mushrooms. Find some open spaces between the potatoes and fill them in with mushrooms. There’s room for everyone here.
Last but not least is the cheese! We use about 12 oz of mozzarella between the 2 pizzas, but you could cut it down a bit for a lighter pizza or bulk it up some for a cheesier pizza, of course. Sprinkle an even layer on each. We also usually add Parmesan to the top as well but this time we were out, it’s delicious either way.
Bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes or until it’s golden. Baking time may vary depending on your oven. We like to bake ours at the bottom for a slightly crispier crust.
Two large custom pizzas for well under $10 — in under an hour!