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Best Pizza Recipe
This is actually a combination of recipes. It's my dough recipe (though this is fairly standard). My sauce recipe (much less fairly standard) as well as a recipe for some great topping options.
This recipe makes enough dough for a 19 X 12 inch rectangular pan.
1.5 Tablespoons of active, dry yeast
1 1/4 cups of water (plus 3 tablespoons)
4 1/4 cups of flour
1.5 Teaspoons of salt
1.5 Tablespoons of Olive oil
This is a fairly simple Pizza dough recipe. First you'll have to dissolve the yeast in the water (it should be lukewarm). So pour the yeast into the water and let it stand for about 10 minutes or so and it should become foamy on top.
While you wait, stir together the flour and salt and form them into a volcano, that is, a mountain shape with a big hole in the top. Now, when the yeast mixture is ready, pour it into the hole on top of the mountain and stir with a wooden spoon or fork until a dough forms.
Once your dough has formed, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and knead it until it becomes smooth and flexible. This will take anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes depending on the dough and your personal strength level. A rolling pin can be very helpful at this stage. Once the dough has been thoroughly kneaded brush the inside of a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a relatively warm place, in the sunlight by a window perhaps. Now you must let the dough rise for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours. The change should be dramatic, if your dough doesn't look way bigger it might be time to consider take out ;)
Assuming you got the dramatic change you were looking for it is time to remove the dough from the bowl and work it into whatever pan you are so desiring. I use a 19 X 15 rectangular pan. But if you so opted would could work it into a circle, square or anything really (I once got a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine's Day!) I prefer a rectangle because it's the easiest shape to work. To get it into the shape you want don't toss it in the air like a cliche', instead work it inch by inch with your thumbs into the proper shape and thickness. Try to turn up the edges a little to help contain the sauce later on and remember: that dough still has some rising to do! For about twenty minutes cover the dough, in place and let it rise
As soon as the twenty minutes are up your pizza dough is ready to go! The change this time will be much less dramatic. Hardly noticeable really. Now: lets talk about sauce!
This sauce is not super cheesy like some sauces out there. Personally I like it that way, cheese, whatever kind, is better on top!
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 Cloves (1 Teaspoon) of minced garlic
2 Teaspoons of dried oregano
1 1/2 cups of Simple tomato sauce (usually fine from a can, but if you are enterprising you could make your own.)
In a small saucepan warm the olive oil over low heat. Just enough so that it easily moves around the bottom of the pan. Now, add the oregano and garlic. Sauté until the garlic becomes translucent, about three minutes or so, it really shouldn't take long. Now simply add the tomato sauce and allow it to simmer for about five minutes, so the flavors blend. Add salt and pepper to taste while it simmers, you may also add a pinch of dried basil as it simmers, for extra flavor. But it is amazing sauce either way. Now put the sauce aside and keep it warm, but not simmering.
For the cheese on a pizza I recommend fresh cheese that has never been frozen. Fresh grated is best. This particular recipe is enough to cover a 19 X 15 inch rectangular pizza.
2 Cups grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesen cheese
2/3 cup grated Romano cheese
Grate each of the cheeses to the proper amount and combine in a bowl. Mix them well. Set aside.
The sky is the limit here. You can really choose just about anything. I like meats on my pizza, especially fresh Italian sausage grilled and chopped into cubes. Other great meats that can be grilled then chopped up for pizza toppings include: Chicken, duck, ground beef, steak, turkey, ham, pork, or even lamb if you are feeling adventurous. Great not meat toppings include green pepper, red pepper, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, banana peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, black or green olives, or pineapple.
Some basic ideas:
Grilled meat pizza:
Beef, italian sausage, chicken.
Lamb, green olives and some feta cheese.
Pure cheese pizza with no toppings is also a delicious option!
Ready to bake
Once you have selected what your toppings will be and prepared them (grilling, baking, sauteing, whatever) it's time to assemble and bake your pizza!
First pour the warm sauce over the pizza, the crusts should be turned up around the edges and flat on the bottom so the sauce spreads evenly across the pizza. The sauce should be pretty thick but not as thick as some restaurant pizza sauces, compared to them it may appear a little runny. However, I promise you it will thicken as the cheese melts into it, and in this way be more flavorful.
Once the sauce has spread sprinkle the cheese. The cheese should be thin enough that sauce is just barely visible through some small cracks, but thick enough to secure toppings in place. If it seem like more cheese is necessary, add it in the same ratios as prescribed in the "cheese" section to maintain the proper flavor.
Once the cheese is on add your toppings in whatever way you see fit, but try and distribute them fairly evenly so that they melt into the cheese well.
Now bake at 450 degrees for about twenty minutes and check on the pizza. It may take more or less time depending on the oven and how well it insulates heat, I suggest checking on it every two minutes until the cheese has started to brown, just ever so slightly around the edges, then you know it is ready to come out. Now let cool for five minutes and you are ready to serve!