Make Your Own Pizza — It’s Easy!

Have I shared with you my homemade pizza?

So like most of you, I LOVE pizza! And I actually make my own pizza – from scratch.Yes, from scratch. I love being able to have pizza anytime I want, with just the ingredients in my pantry and fridge/freezer. I love not having to write a check to the pizza delivery kid. And I feel like pizza is much healthier if I make it myself (at least that’s how I justify eating the cheesy goodness).

So let’s make pizza! Don’t be intimidated. It’s easy! Really.

I make pizza many different ways, with many toppings. But the dough is always consistent. I use Ina Garten’s (aka the Barefoot Contessa) pizza dough recipe as the basis of my dough. I say “basis” because I use her recipe, but I don’t actually cook it the exact same way.

Ina’s recipe is linked above and my version is below. Her recipe makes two round pizza dough discs. I cut the recipe in half to just make one. But you can always make the full amount and freeze the remaining dough. Ina also recommends grilling the dough on an outdoor grill. While this is a great idea, I don’t have a grill. So I use an oven for mine. And Ina recommends making individual small pizzas. I make a large one because I don’t have the patience to roll four small ones. But if I hosted a pizza party, I just may do that.

Ina and Leah’s Pizza Dough

3/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)

1 packages Rapid Rise dry yeast (NOTE: I buy lots of these little packets and just keep them in the pantry for my pizza-craving days)

1 Tablespoon honey

1 1/2 Tablespoons good olive oil

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

1 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine the water, yeast, honey and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 2 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 8 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl (I use cooking spray) and turn it several times to cover it lightly with spray. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. I tend to put the bowl in the laundry room, or some place that’s a bit warmer, so the dough rises quickly.

At this point, preheat oven to about 425-degrees.

When it’s ready, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a circular disc (maybe about 9 inches) or square — whatever you prefer. Place on a pizza stone, or baking sheet. Prick dough with a fork about five times. Then place in the oven and cook for about 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and top with your favorite toppings. Then return the pizza to the oven and cook until the cheese melts and starts to brown a bit. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Let me say a few things about toppings. They can be ANYTHING you have on hand. Here are a few ideas.

Hamburger Pizza — This is my stand-by. I brown a pound of hamburger (or ground turkey), and then add to it some marinara sauce, or a can of tomato sauce (whichever I have in the pantry). Sometimes I’ll ad some garlic and Italian seasonings to give it some spice. I spoon that over the dough, top with mozzarella cheese, and voila!

Pizza Margarita — I make this one a lot when I want pizza without meat. I use the same sauce as above (minus the meat), or I’ll throw in some pesto if I have it around. Then top with cheese and a can of tomatoes, and it’s done! I like to add fresh basil if I have it around.

BBQ Chicken Pizza — This one was pretty tasty. I sauteed shredded chicken with red onion, corn, black beans, and BBQ sauce. I put that on the dough and topped with a combination of mozzarella and jack cheese. Quite tasty!

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Here are a few photos from a pizza-making lesson I gave to my sisters.

Sister Sari’s tasty cheese pizza with pesto (she’s a purist).
Here are my lovely sisters, Ellye (left) and Sari, posing with their equally-lovely pizza.

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