I don’t know about you, but The Latin Lover and The Goddess seem to like to begin their weekend with pizza. Sure, we can get take-out. It’s good. Sometimes it’s even great pizza, but you can make your own and it isn’t that difficult. Really. It isn’t. You can purchase dough from the supermarket or even from your favorite pizzeria. Most of them will sell you some of their dough. But, you can make your own and it isn’t really all that difficult. I use Wolfgang Puck’s recipe. I’ve used this recipe for years and I do like it. It’s easy to make and easy to handle. But, as you know, The Goddess becomes restless. She’s always looking to improve her recipes. I recently encountered a new one, in the New York Times, that uses “00” flour from Italy. I tried it from the NYT version, but it wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be. So, it’s a work in progress…I’ll keep you posted.
This is pizza, okay? You’ve had pizza like this before, but this is the combination we like. What’s different about this, is the baking technique. I don’t use a pizza stone. I’ve tried it, but I found it to be a bit of a nuisance and I don’t really have a place to store it. I don’t like to leave it in the oven. Anyway, this has always worked well for me. So what’s the big whoop, Goddess? It’s the two different cooking times. The lower temp cooks the toppings, and the higher temp browns the crust. This timing is the timing that works in my oven, so make certain to watch the pizza closely the first time you make it. Burned crust is disgusting any way you slice it…and we like out pizza cut in squares!
For pizza sauce, I usually use pasta sauce as a base, with some extra tomato paste stirred in, some dried herbs, garlic, and a bit of balsamic. We like a thicker sauce, and if you like pesto (The Goddess does, The Latin Lover, not so much!), add it on top of the sauce. You can use fresh herbs, but I prefer to use dried herbs, instead. They have less moisture and are more intense. I do sometimes sprinkle some shredded, fresh basil over the pie, after it comes out of the oven. If you like heat (we do!), toss in some red pepper flakes.
See those little green pepper pieces? Those are shishito peppers. They look a bit like a piece of okra. They are by-and-large mild, but about 1 in 10 has some heat. They are just delicious, no matter what. But, feel free to use bell peppers, or other sweet pepper rings…whatever you have or looks good at the market.
I pinch off equal-sized bits of hamburger and sort of flatten them into discs. You want the pieces to be of equal size, about 1 1/2 teaspoons should be about right.
You will notice that these pictures have different toppings…that’s how it is for us. I’ve given you our favorite combination…well I should say, “The Latin Lovers favorite combo”…The Goddess like less traditional toppings, hence the grilled eggplant and sautéed mushrooms peeking out under the cheese in the above picture. But, without further ado….
Friday Night Pizza
- Purchased or homemade dough
- Olive oil
- Pizza sauce (purchased or homemade)
- 4-6 large cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
- 3 slices good, smoky ham, shredded
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces shredded pizza cheese or 4 cheese Italian blend
- 2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- Enough pepperoni to cover the pizza
- 3-4 ounces lean ground beef
- 1/2 bell pepper, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon pizza spice blend or Italian seasoning or dry basil
- 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Oil a pizza pan (at least 16 inches in diameter) or a large cookie sheet (with an edge); sprinkle with cornmeal and set aside. Stretch or roll out the dough to fit the pan. If the dough “snaps back” step away from it; leave it for about 5 minutes. Then continue to roll or stretch until it fits the pan. Place pizza sauce over the crust to within 1-inch of the edge. You just want a nice bit, but there shouldn’t be a “pool” of sauce. Sprinkle the garlic slices over, then half the onion slices and the ham. Next sprinkle with about 6 ounces of the cheese. Cover with pepperoni. Pinch off bits of hamburger, about 1 1/2 teaspoons and drop the “meatballs” evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle with the bell pepper, the remaining onion and the cheddar cheese. Dust with the seasoning of choice. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. (Make ahead: You may assemble the pizza up to 1 hour ahead; set aside.)
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the pizza on the very bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 8 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to as high as your oven will go, usually 500°F or 550°F. Continue to cook until the bottom of the crust is lightly browned and crispy, about 6-10 additional minutes. Watch it carefully so the crust doesn’t burn! If the top of the pizza isn’t browned enough, place until the broiler briefly, just until browned. Remove from the oven; let stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting (very important—it gives the pizza a chance to “set”). Cut into wedges or squares. The amounts given are approximate and feel free to change the toppings, as desired. Avoid really wet toppings, as they tend to make the crust soggy.
NOTE: You may enjoy this on days other than Friday night!
Friday Night Pizza Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.
Mmmmm…pizza is good. It’s so good. And I sometimes think it’s even better for breakfast. Yes, that’s why we make a large pizza, because tomorrow is another day.