Depending on how many different types of pizza you want to make, this can either be a relatively quick endeavor or part of an afternoon. I like to make several types of pizza, baking them one or two at a time during a football game or Sunday afternoon get together.
Make a pizza, eat a little, have an adult beverage, make another pizza, eat a little… You get the idea.
You have two options here – make your own (honestly, these three dough recipes from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats are the only three you need to know) OR go with a par-baked flatbread such as this one from ALDI. Frankly, I used to make my own dough, and sometimes I still do when I’m in the mood – but the par-baked flatbread options available are SO good that I often find myself going this route.
There are really two basic types of pizza sauce: red sauce and “white” sauce, which is really more infused-oil based than anything else.
- Red Sauce:
Ingredients: 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon dried oregano (for that “New York” pizza flavor), 4 cloves garlic grated on a microplane, 2 teaspoons onion powder, pinch dried chili flakes, 1 teaspoon dried basil if you want it.
To Make it: Throw all that stuff in a blender, puree, and transfer to an airtight container. That’s right, you don’t need to cook it
- White Sauce:
Ingredients: 1 cup good olive oil; 5-7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced; pinch red chili flakes; several sprigs each of basil, thyme, and oregano
To Make It: Add all ingredients to a medium size skillet and cook on low heat for 20 – 30 minutes; shake pan occasionally, do not fry ingredients or allow them to brown. Off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
The sky and your own imagination are the only limits here.
One important note – use low moisture, shredded mozzarella as your base cheese. Yes, it’s probably coated in cornstarch, no, it’s not ‘fresh’ – and this is exactly what you want. As much as I love fresh mozzarella, in this case the moisture content is to high and will quickly transform your pizzas into a soupy mess.
Here are some pizza ideas:
- Four Cheese: Mozzarella, Irish Cheddar, Parmesan and Gorgonzola. White sauce.
- Pizza Margharita: Mozzarella, Parmesan, sliced tomatoes, sliced garlic, fresh basil leaves. Red Sauce
- Pizza Neopolitano: Mozzarella, Parmesan, sliced garlic, prosciutto, arugala. Red Sauce
- Jalapeno Bacon Ranch: Mozzarella, Irish Cheddar, Bacon, Jalapeno, Chicken. White Sauce. Drizzle with Ranch dressing
To Bake Pizzas:
The main thing here is to get your oven hot. Like, really hot – around 500°F. Pizzas will take 7 – 10 minutes to cook depending on how true your oven is, so keep an eye on them.
I like the cheese golden brown and bubbly with a bit of char on the edges of the crust, but that’s personal preference.
If you prefer your crust crunchy throughout, bake pizzas directly on the center rack (pro tip: place a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil on another rack underneath to catch any drips or melted cheese). If you like your crust crunchy on the edges but still somewhat soft in the middle, bake your pizzas on a baking sheet.