This "Pizza Quick" presumes we have tomato sauce handy, as well of course as the other ingredients. Tomato sauce, but not from a bottle! Never buy that! The preservatives ruin the taste. If we can't use leftover sauce from the batch we made a few days ago for pasta, we can use the refrigerated kind, though after we've spruced it up a bit with extra EVOO and maybe some basil or oregano -- and a little pepper, red or black.
The other presumption, in order to keep within the 30, is to purchase pre-made dough. Again, the refrigerated kind. Trader Joe's sells a good one, though get the plain one rather than the one with spices. If you are a purist, and don't care about time, it is not difficult to find instructions on how to make dough, nor is dough difficult to make.
There are a million sites -- at least -- on the web telling how to make pizza, So why this one? Because speed can be a virtue, provided we do not also at the same time have to give up an atom of quality. Indeed, the short time from start to finish adds something to the whole delightful experience of pizza for dinner.
Ready, set, go!
Pizza - Quick, for dinner for maybe four. What you see here is only half of what we will be making and putting on the table.
We could make one very large pizza, but we are going to try a different approach. For one thing, in order to fit it all on a single cooking sheet, we would have to make the crust thicker than we really want. For another, we have hungry eaters who want different things from the pizzas we are making.
The next step follows.
Cut the dough into two equal pieces. This will enable us to make a thin crust, and it will enable us to have two different pizzas with different toppings.
What could be better?
Use a large, chef's knife to sever the dough into two halves. Roll each in the flour in order to make it easier to handle (less sticky).
First the sauce, then the cheese.
The cheese here, of course, is mozzarella, the classic pizza cheese. This is 3/4 of a pound, enough for the two pizzas we are going to make. The cheese can be purchased shredded, and some people prefer that. We, however, recommend buying a brick of the mozzarella and then slicing it into think pieces to lay on the pizza in a creative fashion
The tomato sauce here is left over from a batch we made according to the steps shown in the first of the "Related Lenses" shown in the right column. This is marinara sauce, but if we made sauce with meat in it, we could use that instead.
It is possible to use a rolling pin to roll out the first half into a shape that fills the cooking sheet or pan we have for it. But, really, a better way is simply to pick up the dough and shape it into into a circle, then, pinching the edge and going round and round continuously let the weight of the dough stretch out to the desired thinness.
It is unlikely to make a perfect circle (kudos if it does, but the main idea is to end up with a shape that fills the pan. Once we have something reasonable, we can lay it down on the pan (pre-oiled with a very thin coating of canola oil) and then stretch it further to the edges of the pan.
Incidentally, fire up the oven (or the grill) at this point -- or earlier -- to 450 degrees. The oven (or grill) must be piping hot when the pizza goes into it.
One of the problems with the rolling pin is that the more we press on it, the more the dough tends to stick to it -- no matter how carefully we have floured the pin.
This half of the dough required a little more stretching in the pan than the first one. But the shape came out fine in the end.
At this point, we are ready to put the two pans into the hot oven (or grill) for about three minutes. This firms the dough, and it even begins to puff up a little. It is a good idea after a minute and a half to put the top pan on the bottom and the bottom one on the top for the remainder of the three minutes.
Pizza 1 sauced
Take the two pans out.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the first one.
Pizza 2 sauced
Then the second one.
Pizza 1 cheesed
On go the slices of mozzarella, in a pattern that covers the crust and which appeals to us.
It is very artistic.
This pizza is going to be a Margherita, a plain cheese pizza.
Pizza 2 prosciutto
There is a famous debate between Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, who have collaborated on a number of projects, including the movie "Manhatan."
Woody is of the view that a simple cheese pizza is perfection itself and cannot be improved with toppings.
Marshall maintains that Woody is really missing out on something when he denies himself mushrooms, maybe a little roasted garlic, and sausage.
We tend toward Woody, but we tip our hats to Marshall here by topping half of Pizza #2 with prosciutoo
Pizza 1 ready to eat
We start Pizza 1 on the top shelf of the oven, just a little below the heating element.
There's no set time. We have to watch the pizza to make sure the cheese does not burn. Some browning is attractive, and flavorful, but we don't want to over do it.
When we have a bit of color we remove Pizza 1 from the top shelf and put it on the bottom shelf, after removing Pizza 2 and putting it on the top shelf. Actually, it helps to have a third shelf here.
The picture shows Pizza 1 after it has fully completed its time in the oven and is ready for being cut into serving size pieces.
Pizza 2 ready to eat
The prosciutto and the mozzarella cooperate perfectly. It is almost as if they were from the same country. Wait a minute! They are from the same country.!
The edges of the prosciutto have crisped up just a little, and the cheese has not only melted, but begun to take on a little color.
We could keep it in the oven a little longer if we wanted more of this.
That the ancient Greeks covered bread with oil, herbs and cheese is clear, but the rest of the history of pizza is highly contentious -- as you would expect with such an important subject.
Part of a series
Pictures, pictures, pictures
Series within series, actually. Food & Cooking, for example, then -- within that -- series on vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, etc. Books, too. Ideas, too. Travel, too. Key virtues:. pictures, clear step-by-step text. Delicious -- whether foods or ideas! All of the series, and all of the items in each series, can be found, organized by floor, at this link: Lee White's Department Store. Happy shopping! -- everything is for free!
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.