As everyone should know by now, I rival Barb Kellner when it comes to pizza eating. That means that while we love ordering pizza from some of our favorite local spots (Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza, Red Wagon Pizza, Broder's, and Pizza Luce), I also make a lot of homemade pizza. There are two main pizza styles I made: cast iron skillet pizza and sheet pan pizza. (I'll share the cast iron method eventually!)
A few homemade pizza-making tips:
Remember Ina Garten's catchphrase: STORE BOUGHT IS FINE. You aren't making homemade pizza to be fancy or gourmet. You're making homemade pizza because it's delicious and easy.
I usually buy my pizza dough from Lund's, Trader Joe's, or France 44 Cheese (F44 is the best IMO).
I like Rao's marinara for sauce.
Mise en place (a fancy term for "getting all your ingredients prepped and measured ahead of time") is important when making pizza because you want to be able to work quickly. Prepare all your toppings before you stretch out the pizza dough.
Don't use toppings that are too watery. If you're using fresh vegetables, you may want to pre-roast them to get rid of some moisture. Also, fresh mozzarella is delicious, but if has a lot of moisture so I like to balance it with regular old shredded mozzarella from a bag. In general, I try to balance a mix of wetter and drier toppings and pat dry anything with liquid on it, like olives.
Make more than you think you'll need.
Make sure you have ranch or Top the Tater on hand for dipping. I said what I said.
Here's how to make homemade sheet pan pizza:
1) Preheat your oven to 450 F. Prepare a sheet pan with a light spritz of cooking spray and/or a sprinkle of corn meal.
2) Stretch your pizza dough into a rectangle roughly the size of your sheet pan. I do this by putting some olive oil on my hands, lifting the ball of dough from one "end" and letting it fall a little, then rotating the side I'm holding so it stretches out through gravity.
3) Lay the pizza dough on the sheet tray. Brush the crust with olive oil (make sure to get it all the way to the edges) and then spread a thin layer of sauce on top, leaving a sauceless border around the edge.
4) Sprinkle a thin layer of shredded cheese over the sauce. Add your toppings, and then add another layer of cheese on top.
5) Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, around 12-15 minutes.
6) Top with fresh herbs, extra cheese, chili flakes, a drizzle of olive oil or honey, and any other accessories that suit your fancy.
It's that easy! This process is so customizable too. Here are a few of my favorite pizza flavors:
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Instead of sauce, use a drizzle of buffalo sauce. Top the pizza with shredded chicken (hint: use a store-bought rotisserie chicken) tossed in buffalo sauce and thinly sliced red onion. After baking the pizza, drizzle ranch over it and garnish with chopped scallions.
Pork and Green Olive Pizza
Top with your favorite pork product (prosciutto, mortadella, ham, bacon, etc.) and green olives. It's always a winning combination. Make sure arrange the meat in Molly Baz's "mountain" format so some gets crispy and some stays soft. (AKA don't lay it flat - fold it a little.) Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, parmesan or pecorino cheese, and fresh basil.
Mix fermented calabrian chilies into your pizza sauce and top with calabrese salami.