Ever since I discovered my beloved Pioneer Woman's recipe for the best pizza crust I've ever had, pizza has become a Friday night tradition at our house - so much so that Nathan practically goes into cardiac arrest if I decide to serve, say, a pot roast. Here is my slightly adapted version of the crust, along with our favorite toppings:
CRUST (yield: 2 pizzas)
1 t (1/2 envelope) active dry yeast
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c white whole wheat flour
1 t kosher salt
1/3 c olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Sprinkle the yeast over 1 1/2 c warm water and let sit.
Combine the flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Using the paddle attachment, drizzle the olive oil into the flour on low speed until just combined.
Give the yeast/water mixture a little stir. With the mixer on low, drizzle into the flour until just barely combined.
If you're cooking for two, divide the dough in half and freeze one half for next Friday.
Drizzle a little olive oil in a large bowl and toss the dough you're using now in the bowl to coat evenly with oil. Cover the dough with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
When dough is doubled in size, preheat the oven to 500 F.
Grease your pizza pan well and dust with cornmeal or flour. Stretch the dough to evenly fit the pan (or spin it over your head if you have skills).
Spread your favorite sauce and toppings on the pizza and pop it in the oven for about 8 minutes. If you live in an apartment complex with hypersensitive fire alarms, stand on a chair and flap dish towels as needed.
Nathan is a plain ol' pepperoni man. For his pizza, I spread a thin coat of pizza sauce (store-bought, but I plan to attempt a homemade version soon) on the crust and sprinkle with pizza seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Add a couple handfuls of shredded mozarella, and arrange an exotic pattern of pepperoni, ground beef, leftover sausage, or whatever meat is lurking in your fridge. If I'm also partaking of this pizza I'll hide some chopped pepper and onion or olives under LOTS more cheese.
My all-time favorite is a margharita pizza. Replace the pizza sauce with a thin layer of basil pesto (homemade is my favorite, but store-bought works too). Lay alternating slices of tomato and fresh mozarella over the top. This one might need to bake a little longer so the center cooks through. Use a high-rimmed pizza pan or put another one underneath to catch oozing goodness.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Leslie and I rang in her birthday with an utterly divine pizza experience. PW's Steakhouse Pizza is unlike anything I have ever imagined. If you are a meat-lover, do yourself a favor and make this pizza today.
(Photo by PW)