Who doesn’t love pizza? Well, my dad, but that’s beyond the point. My husband, son, and I are all big fans. Our Friday nights often involve making pizza together. It’s a great way to get everyone into the kitchen and participating in dinner preparation.
The dough recipe we usually use is for thin crust pizza and makes 2 pies. While my husband and I are more adventurous, my son’s tastes are still pepperoni pizza-centric, so we always have at least one of those. Our second pizza varies based on what we have in the refrigerator—sometimes it’s buffalo chicken, sometimes meat lovers’, sometimes veggie lovers’, sometimes pulled pork barbecue or Philly cheese steak. One thing I have learned in making some of these pizzas is that it’s helpful to make sure any kind of braised meats are patted dry with paper towels so the crust doesn’t get soggy. Additionally, if you are using a meat that will release any kind of liquid, pre-bake the crust before adding the toppings. Also, keep in mind that thin crust pizza isn’t necessarily the best vehicle for heavier (or lots of) toppings—yeast-based crusts provide a sturdier foundation. Yes, the crust-to-topping ratio does matter.
Finally, I always try to serve something fresh and crisp on pizza nights to offset the carb consumption. Sometimes it’s veggies and dip, sometimes it’s a salad filled with iceberg lettuce, pickled veggies, olives, Parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing. It’s all about balance.
Samuel’s Pepperoni Pizza
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup water
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
Pepperoni to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet it in the oven before turning it on so it heats accordingly.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy, sticky dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth, elastic ball, 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into round, flat disks. Wrap each disk loosely in plastic wrap and let them rest in a warm place for at least 15 minutes. (This step can be done in advance.)
3. Brush the tops of 4 sheets of parchment paper with olive oil. Unwrap each disk of dough and place each onto the oiled side of one piece of parchment paper. Top the dough with the remaining pieces of parchment paper, oiled side down. You should have two parchment paper-dough sandwiches. Using your hands, gently press and spread the dough until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. You decide the shape (circle, rectangle, oval, giant uneven blob—it’s your creation). Remove the top piece of parchment paper and begin assembling your pizzas.
4. Spread as much pizza sauce on each pie as you desire, leaving a 1/2-inch crust around the circumference of the pie. Top with 2 cups shredded mozzarella, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, and the pepperoni.
5. Bake the pies on your pizza stone or inverted baking sheet, one at a time, for 10-12 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool for a minute or two, then slice it and serve.