pizza from scratch.
In many ways, it is the perfect food.
contains all the main food groups. Itís almost as
delicious cold as it is hot, but not really. It is equally
loved by the snootiest of gourmands ("Iíd like one
with wood-grilled octopus and burrata, please") and the
most average of joes ("Gimme a slice with
pepperoni"). Kids adore it, adults crave it and college
students basically live on it.
to one survey, more than half of all millennials have taken
a picture of pizza and posted it online.
with three basic ingredients ó crust, sauce and cheese ó
pizzas have developed a near-infinite number of variations.
donít just mean the now-familiar Thai-duck pizza, the
Canadian-bacon-and-pineapple pizza or even the
Brussels-sprouts-and-pancetta pizza. Iím talking about
pizza with smoked reindeer meat, which you can get in
Iceland. Iím talking about kangaroo-and-emu pizza, which
of course is available in Australia. Iím talking about
baked beans pizza, which is a British thing.
baked beans pizza sounds kind of good. And I wouldnít turn
up my nose at smoked reindeer pizza, but I wouldnít go to
Iceland to try it.
is available on practically every corner, and a phone call
or app brings it to your house in a half-hour or less. So
why would you even think of making it yourself?
one, homemade pizza is better than nine-tenths of the stuff
that is commercially available. And it is almost certainly
going to surpass anything that is delivered to your door.
The time it takes for delivery and the aroma of a cardboard
box take their toll on even the best of pizzas.
can customize a homemade pizza to be exactly the way you
like it, and it is less expensive than store-bought pizza.
donít make the crust yourself, it is faster, too.
try making the crust yourself. You can buy premade crusts
that are just fine ó and some that are better than fine
ó and many pizzerias will sell you their dough, which is
better still. But there is something special about a crust
you made yourself. Call it a pride of craftsmanship.
the crust I make is simple, it has a nice, robust flavor
that complements the toppings rather than competes with
them. It makes the perfect backdrop for everything that is
the sauce. The crust may be the part of a pizza that you
notice the most, but the heart of a pizza is its sauce.
people like their sauce sweet. I donít. Some like it
spiced with a lot of herbs. I donít. Some go the other way
and want it bland, the better to focus on the toppings.
years ago, my wife and I experimented to try to create the
best homemade pizza sauce we could make. The one we came up
with is, to our taste, just right. Itís got enough flavor
to stand up to cheese and crust and toppings, but it does
the secrets of our sauce is stolen directly from Mario
Batali, who makes his out of nothing but Pomi brand strained
tomatoes right out of the box. That feels a little bit like
cheating (they charge money for that?), but the Pomi
strained tomatoes do make an excellent beginning.
start with the boxed strained tomatoes and add a bit of
oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper. But the other two
ingredients make our sauce truly stand out.
first is shredded Parmesan cheese stirred right into the
sauce, which gives it extra heft and a shock of salt that is
very much needed. And the other is a single anchovy fillet.
that many people roll their eyes and make little gagging
sounds at the very thought of anchovies, but this sauce does
not leave even a hint of anchovy flavor. You wonít even
know it is there. Even so, it adds an essential complexity
to the sauce that really brings it to life.
you have the crust and the sauce, all you need is the
cheese. I have a tip about the cheese, too. This one comes
from my favorite pizza at pretty much my favorite
restaurant: Put the cheese under the sauce.
pizza aficionados will object. I donít care. Itís better
this way. The cheese keeps the sauce from making the crust
soggy, and the sauce keeps the cheese from browning or
the best way to keep the perfect food perfect.
2 pizzas (4 servings)
package active dry yeast
warm water, around 110 degrees
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating
to 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
a large bowl, mix yeast, water and sugar, and stir well to
combine. Set aside until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add
the salt, olive oil and 1 1/4 cups of the flour, and mix
well to thoroughly combine. Add another 1 1/4 cups flour and
mix well with your hands, working to incorporate the flour
little by little. The dough should be slightly sticky to the
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead
for 5 to 7 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary to
form a smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Transfer
to a lightly oiled 2- or 3-quart bowl and turn to coat with
oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place
until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions and form into balls. Use
immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap and
refrigerate for up to one day.
from Emeril Lagasse, via Food Network
About 1 1/4 cups
tablespoon olive oil
garlic clove, minced
Pomi brand (or similar) strained tomatoes or tomato puree
teaspoon dried oregano
crushed red pepper
cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add anchovy and cook, stirring frequently, until it
dissolves. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1
minute. Do not allow the garlic to burn.
strained tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper and cheese.
Raise the heat to medium and simmer 12 to 15 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Taste for seasonings and add salt or
pepper if needed.
by Mary Anne Pikrone
1 pizza (2 servings)
Basic Pizza Dough, or a premade crust
4 to 6
ounces mozzarella cheese
recipe Best Pizza Sauce
of your choice
Preheat oven to 500 degrees and, place a pizza stone or
upside-down baking sheet on the bottom rack. If the pizza
dough has just been made, cover with a damp towel and allow
to rest 15 minutes.
a lightly floured work surface, roll out pizza dough into a
circle 12 to 14 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick.
Transfer dough to a pizza peel or the back of a cookie sheet
that has either been sprinkled with cornmeal or covered with
a piece of parchment paper. If using parchment paper, trim
with scissors until it is just barely bigger than the dough.
a cheese slicer or vegetable peeler to slice the cheese very
thin. Completely cover the dough with a single layer of
cheese, leaving only a small circle of dough near the edge.
Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce in a spiral pattern over the
dough and use the bottom of the ladle to spread it evenly
across the pizza; use more sauce if necessary to cover the
cheese. Top sparingly with the toppings of your choice.
Slide the dough onto the preheated pizza stone or baking
sheet and bake until crispy and golden brown, about 12 to 18
minutes, depending on the toppings and the thickness of the
crust. Remove from the oven with a metal peel or spatula,
discard the parchment paper (if using) and serve
serving (no toppings): 367 calories; 24 g fat; 11 g
saturated fat; 52 mg cholesterol; 24 g protein; 16 g
carbohydrate; 7 g sugar; 3 g fiber; 679 mg sodium; 1,035 mg