5 Quick Tips For Preparing And Cooking Grilled Pizza

Whether you’re grilling for a small group or a large crowd, pizza is a great choice for every party menu. It’s easy to make yet filling, not to mention delicious! It’s also a safe choice even if you’re expecting children at your party. These 5 quick tips for preparing and cooking grilled pizza will help you have a wonderful meal at your next backyard barbecue.

Use a gas grill if you’re a beginner

If it’s your first time to grill pizza, experts recommend using a gas grill because the temperature can be regulated easily. A charcoal grill works fine as well (some even claim it’s better for achieving the delicious smoky taste), but given that the dough cooks quickly, you would have to be extra attentive to keep your heat at the right temperature until the dish is cooked through.

Choose your dough

The dough is the heart of a pizza, so be sure to get a good quality one that can withstand the heat of the grill. You can buy some ready-made ones at your local grocery store but you can always opt to make your own for better results.

Prepare toppings beforehand

Whether you’re baking or grilling pizza, it’s important to have your toppings ready and within reach once you start the fire. Make sure that you’ve sliced your onions, grated your cheese, chopped your mushrooms and any other preparations needed. Experts also recommend pre-cooking your meat so that once it hits the grates, it will be cooked through.

Flip the dough right

Flipping the dough while cooking on the grates isn’t the easiest thing to do especially if you’re a first timer. Use pizza peels (wooden or metal) for this. Use long-handled tongs to assist with turning the dough over – grab the dough at the edge then slide it onto the peel for turning. However, if your peel is metal, you can use it as a spatula for turning the dough.

Prepare your cheese

Cheese is one of the ingredients that may make or break your grilled pizza. Make sure to use grated or very finely diced cheese for your pizza so that it melts faster with the heat of the grill and cover your dough evenly once cooked.

Many people say that pizza cooked on a grill is the best variety because it has a more natural taste to it on top of the appetizing smoky flavour. Follow these 5 quick tips for preparing and cooking grilled pizza for better results!

Source by Adrian T. Cheng

Check Out the 7 Popular Pizza Toppings You Can Use

Whether you love to have something traditional or feel like making something creative, Pizza is the perfect dish for mixing and matching. When you prepare this Italian dish, you can use toppings that match your style, preference, and taste. If you are looking for any guidance to choose the best toppings, you can check out the videos or go through food blogs that will help you to gather information on various garnishing items you can use to make your dish tasty.

Now, if you own a pizza shop and want to add flavours to your dishes, you must first buy commercial pizza equipment and then look for the toppings you can use for enhancing the taste and overall appearance. If you want to know about the garnishing items, let’s have a look-

1. Pepperoni

Whether you want to eat deep fry dish or an extra-large slice, pepperoni is one of the common garnishing items you can use on the pizza. These thin pieces of meat serves the perfect topping that mixes right with the cheese and the sauce. It provides the feeling of traditional Italian trio of meat, cheese, and bread. The thin piece of meat is the mixture of pork and beef with lots of spices and paprika and other chilli pepper.

2. Onions

As like the pepperoni, the onions are also popular topping items for your pizza. They offer best spice flavour to your dish. Many food lovers love the crunch of the onions. Even some love to choose the sweet onions. They soak the flavour well and add taste to the dish when you mix them with the sauces and herbs.

3. Extra cheese

Who do not love to have extra cheese in the dish? Pizza becomes tasteful when you add extra cheese over it. Even at the local food stalls, you can order extra cheese on your dish to make it delicious.

4. Black olives

People can love or hate the olives, but everyone wants to have the salty bite black olives on your dish to make it yummy. You can cut small elongated pieces of olives and spread over the dish at the end for garnishing.

5. Ham

You can use the ham with the pineapple when you make the Hawaiian pizza. You can use the prosciutto to bring a fancier feel on the dish.

6. Sausage

For the diners if you want something spicy and tasty, you can use the sausage as the perfect topping. You can use it as the pepperoni or place it as the chunks; it perfectly blends with the spice and the flavour.

7. Bacon

Professional cooks pair bacon with other food and they pair this as the toppings. You may crush the bacon in tiny bits or can make slices and spread it over the dish. It brings flavour and texture to the dish.

If you are ready to make a mouth-watering pizza, you can use these above-discussed toppings. You can also make Italian dish at home if you have the perfect equipment as well.

Source by Rajib KR Saha

The Benefits And Guide To Using A Pizza Stone

A pizza stone is a simple kitchen utensil that is used and known for baking pizzas that come out of the oven with a more crispy crust. Pizza stones are also known for producing pizzas that are less fattening. These baking devices work by stimulating the extreme and even heat of an oven, especially the ones that use wood fire. These stones can also be used commercially in the restaurants of big hotels for instance, to make the perfect pizza for the customers. They can also be used in home ovens or on a grill giving the pizza a crispier and healthier crust. These special stones are quite easy to use as well as maintain.

Why Use a Stone?

There are a number of benefits of using a pizza stone, which include the following;

• Easy to clean. The stone is quite easy to clean, whereby, you will just wipe it off using a sponge and some water. There will be no need for scrubbing it.

• It balances the heat. The stone will also spread the heat evenly on the food being cooked. As a result, the food comes out evenly cooked.

• It gives the pizza a crispy crust. The stone is specifically meant to bake your pizza with a crispy crust, different from ones baked using an oven tray.

• Bakes faster and perfectly. Compared to the aluminum pan, a stone will bake much faster, but it will be well-baked. This helps to save you time.

• Easier to remove food when it is finished baking. When the food is ready, it will be easier to remove, since it will not stick to the stone.

Generally, the pizza stone is not just a stone, but more of a cooking companion, which will make baking easier.

How To Use a Pizza Stone

First things first, before you begin, you must have a pizza peel or paddle, which is used to put the pizza on the stone and into the oven. When that is done, you will need to do the following steps;

• Place the stone in the oven for preheating.

• Spread cornmeal or flour on the peel, prior to putting the dough on it.

• Place the dough over the peel, then add your toppings to the pizza.

• When the pizza is still in the oven, use a long spoon to spread the cornmeal on it.

• Use the peel to insert the pizza that is already on the stone into the oven and set your oven timer.

The baking time and instructions will depend on the type of pizza that you are baking.

Removing the Pizza

When your pizza is done baking, always know that the stone will be very hot at that time. If you want to remove it, never use a kitchen towel or the normal oven mitt. Conversely, you should use the same items you used to place the stone in the oven. Like you will need to use the peel to remove the pizza, before removing the entire pizza stone if that is what you want to do. Many people prefer to just leave their stones inside the oven until they will bake with it again. After you have already removed the pizza, you can remove the stone later when it has cooled down.

Source by Victor Alba

Making Pizza With Passion and Knowledge

Millions of people in the world make pizza, but most of them only do it for a living-for a paycheck. They’re no different from the burger-flippers in fast-food places everywhere-and you know how tasteless a fast-food burger is, especially compared to the real thing.

Just as there are makers of gourmet burgers, so too are there makers of gourmet pizzas. These people are a special few, and they practice their craft as much for love as for money. These are true pizza makers, not just people who happen to make pizzas.

What’s the difference? True and successful pizza makers have two things that others lack: passion and knowledge. By passion, I mean an insistent need to produce fine pizza-to dive into the intricacies of the work and emerge a master of the art. It helps if you have Italian passion, but any obsessive drive will do. By knowledge, I mean deep knowledge-the thorough learning of someone who’s read a thousand cookbooks and baked a thousand pizzas.

It took me many years before I was able to understand these two things, but now I know that they are the keys to success-not only in making pizza, but also in every other job on the planet, be it housekeeping or engineering.

Passion and knowledge go together: you can’t have one without the other. And without both, you can’t ever be successful. If you are both passionate and knowledgeable about a certain kind of work, then it stops being work-it becomes a pleasure and an honor. If the work turns out to be pizza-making, then it becomes a good living too, because skilled pizza-makers receive excellent salaries.

Of the two factors, passion comes first. It’s what allows you to gain knowledge-it’s what allows you to sacrifice for your goals. You’ll never succeed in the craft of pizza (and life in general) if you aren’t willing to sacrifice.

When I began my career, I didn’t know much about pizza. I knew a good pizza from a bad one, but so did every other Naples boy. The details of what made a good pizza-how the dough was made, why a wood-burning oven was used, what specific ingredients were involved-was all a mystery to me.

However, I was determined to learn to make good pizza. My dream was to be one of the best pizza-makers in the world, and it was that dream that pushed me forward. For my apprenticeship, I worked ten-hour shifts for free. The kitchen was hot, the hours were long, and the pay was nonexistent-but I persisted because I was well aware that it was the price of success. I was willing to pay it because I knew that my sacrifices would be rewarded-and they have!

Today I am a recognized expert in Neapolitan pizza: I travel the world to make pizza and teach others to do the same. I am paid to do what I love, and I help other people achieve their goals-it’s a good life!

Now you understand why passion is the first factor. We start with it, and we need it to gain the other-without passion, you can never hope to gain knowledge on any subject. With passion, nearly anything is possible.

Passion and knowledge: each complements the other, and both are important. The only difference is that knowledge can always be acquired, but passion is something you must already have within you. The only way to discover if you have passion for pizza is to start making pizza!

Armed with the two fundamentals, anyone should be able to make perfect Neapolitan pizza: two people who are equally passionate and knowledgeable will produce equally perfect pizzas.

How, then, to differentiate yourself? How will you make your pizzas unique?

It’s easy enough, but you’ll still need the two key factors. Passion will get you through the difficult times. When things are hectic, when you’re truly tired, passion will pull you onward, no matter the obstacle. At the same time, as your knowledge improves it will allow you to produce better results. Pizza-makers need hands-on knowledge of each ingredient and process-the wood-burning oven must only be this hot and the Neapolitan sourdough must only be that texture. Pizza-making isn’t rocket science, but only because pizzas don’t often blow up.

My advice is to forget about being unique: just concentrate on being good. With time and experience, you will develop your own style. Here and there, you’ll find yourself doing things a bit differently. Little touches will appear in your work to separate it from the work of others, and eventually your pizzas will be distinctively yours. Just let it happen naturally: if you focus on quality then each little change will feel right.

Are the Key Factors Really Necessary?

Yes and no. If you’re working in a pizzeria just so you can bring home a paycheck-and maybe a leftover pizza-then NO, you don’t need passion or knowledge. But that’s crazy, you might say. After everything I’ve said up to this point, now I’m telling you that the two key factors aren’t necessary at all? Let me explain.

Most people who make pizza do so only because the burger joints weren’t hiring that week. They could just as easily be making fries: it makes no difference to them. For such people, neither love nor learning is necessary. They’ll make dough the way their trainer told them to-or, if you’re unlucky, the way the laminated chart tells them to.

However, let’s say that your interest in pizza goes beyond the fast-food level. If you’re studying pizza-making because you want to be a high-powered professional-if your love for the craft makes you stand higher than the other doughboys-and if your passion pushes you to know not only how something should be done, but why-then the answer can only be YES.

Yes, passion and knowledge are necessary for success! It’s clear that you already have the first one-passion-and that you’re on the way to getting the other two. You’re not just a foot-soldier in the army of pizza-makers-you’re officer material, maybe even a hero in the making. Go out there and get some glory!

Source by Agostino Vitiello

American Pie – My Search For the Perfect Pizza – a Review

Peter Reinhart starts his incredible adventure in Italy and journeys across America, as he searches for incredible pizza pie. To borrow a phrase from Bill Graham: This book is not the best at what it does; it is the only book that does what it does! Not only do we search for these incredible delicious disks, but we learn how to make them.

The first section of American Pie is the quest for perfection. The subtitle should be “my search for the perfect pizzaiolo (pizza master),” as Peter meets with a host of pizzaiolos who share ideas and philosophy about pizza.

According to this book, there is more to pizza, than just throwing together flour, yeast oil, tomato sauce, cheese along with other toppings. The fact of the matter is that you must bake part of your heart into each one, to reach brilliance. (Author sidebar: I call this Spiritual Pie. Pizza from the heart, from the soul.)

The second half of the book allows Reinhart to do what he does best, bake. The recipes are all here and Reinhart makes them easy to replicate. He claims to have the ability to identify all of the ingredients and cooking methods of anything he eats. Further, he shares these secrets with the reader.

With the numerous recipes, you will be able to reproduce some of the most famous pizzas in the world. He adds his take on Pepe’s (Wooster Street, New Haven, Connecticut), world famous clam, New York style, Chicago deep dish, focaccia as well as numerous others. He gives tips on grilling and even devotes some lessons on tossing” in the air.

I enjoyed the countless anecdotes throughout the book. For example while waiting in line at the legendary Sally’s Apizza in New Haven, Connecticut, he stops into “Nick’s Apizza” across the street to use the restroom. He is impressed with their pizza and makes a mental note to come back. Upon his return six months later, “Nick’s Apizza” has gone out of business. The obvious conclusion is simply making fantastic pizza may not be enough to sustain a business.

This book covers the gamut of all things pizza from coast to coast. A nod is given to all types of American pizza along with the recipes. New Age pizzas from the West Coast are also discussed.

He actually uncovers the mystery of Wolfgang Puck’s and California Pizza Kitchen’s secrets. (Some Chefs were understandably, hesitant to be interviewed). The answer is both pizza menus were created by noted Legends of Pizza, Ed LaDou, star of Pizza: The Movie and owner of Caiote Pizza Cafe, located in Studio City, California.

Reinhart may have gone over the edge by reviewing sushi pizza, but it does fit in with the spirit of the book. This book is for anyone who has ever sampled pizza as well as those who posses a passion for this food.

The journey alone will suffice for some aficionados and is worth the price of admission. Add to that, Reinhart’s years of expertise in baking breads of all kinds, and you have a volume that is unmatched in scope. Buy it, read it and make your own perfect pizza!

Source by Albert Grande

Biaggia Pizza Ovens – Delicious Pizzas Made From Your Home

The Biaggia pizza oven is professionally designed to fit the countertop in your home or office kitchen. You can now experience expertly baked pizzas right in your own kitchen.

Biaggia pizza oven Model 502 comes in polished stainless steel for the outer housing and the front of the food rack. Both rated at 22 gauge brushed 430 stainless steel. The inner case and internal case parts are aluminized steel to protect against corrosion. Its physical dimensions are 19 inches wide by 16 1/2 inches deep (excluding handle) by 7 5/8 inches tall with a cord length of 45 inches and weighs about 19 pounds.

The Dual heating elements at the top and bottom allows you to perfectly bake frozen pizzas in about 15 minutes or less, with no pre-heating required. The front panel has an easy to set 15-minute automatic shut off timer. A removable crumb tray is installed for easy cleaning. Plastic grill handle and crumb tray knob ensure safe handling. The oven is designed to be left on the kitchen counter after use.

The oven cooks at a pre-configured temperature of 450°C and this cannot be adjusted. It operates with a 15-minute dial timer. The baking grill is completely removable for convenient foot transfer and easy cleaning. You can use a baking pan that fits the oven if you want to prevent leaving mess or stains in the baking compartment. It runs on 1,450 watts of electricity and has rounded wire heating elements for faster cooking. The oven is approved by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and has UL Commercial Type Rating under its belt.

This oven is also well suited for baking other non-greasy snacks including quesadillas, pretzels, egg rolls, chicken fingers and fish sticks just to name a few. Even with a homemade dough, pizza baking yield far better results compared to a conventional oven. The baking quality is very near to commercial pizzas. Aside from baking pizzas, the oven is also good for conventional heating, baking, roasting or toasting non-greasy food that can fit its compartment. Please note that this pizza oven is not intended for baking rising dough crust pizzas or any greasy food.

With this pizza oven, you can cook pizza faster compared to regular kitchen ovens. You will find that most pizzas will cook from about 8 to 9 minutes. If you pre-heat the oven, the baking time after the pizza is placed inside will be shorter. Done properly, your pizzas will come out evenly cooked and perfectly browned from the oven. This oven is recommended for anyone who bakes frozen pizzas or other foods frequently.

An actual consumer revealed that the 2 heating elements are not equally sized and the lower coil may be found smaller than the top. If you were to bake with this arrangement, the pizza toppings may burn before the crust is done cooking. Although not recommended, this owner opened the oven (could void the warranty!) and swapped the larger heating element to the bottom and place the smaller heating coil on top. It was later reported that the oven can now cook homemade dough as good as restaurant pizza ovens.

With the Biaggia Professional Pizzeria Pizza and Snack Oven, it would no longer be practical to order pizza or have them delivered when you can make better ones right in your own kitchen. This full-featured and commercial-grade pizza oven can bake full-sized pizzas similar to the ones your order from restaurants or phone deliveries. Aside from making mouth-watering pizzas, you can also bake or cook anything that fits the tray. With the Biaggia Pizza and Snack Oven around, you can now throw the hottest pizza parties in town.

The Deluxe edition features an adjustable temperature control between 150°C-450°C and has a 30-minute automatic timer and a non-stick removable crumb tray.

Source by Mary Franklin

How Long Does It Take to Cook Pizza in a Wood Fired Pizza Oven?

Woodfired pizza has a very distinct taste. Using a wood fired pizza oven tends to achieve an all over bake, often quicker than it happens in a traditional oven. Typically, the ideal temperature to get your pizza oven up to for even cooking is 450 degrees Celsius. This temperature can be achieved pretty quickly depending on what type of oven and how much wood you’re using. A stainless steel pizza oven will take around 45 minutes to reach 450 degrees. A clay or brick oven will take around 3 hours or so. Either way, the flavour wood fired cooking adds to your food will be well worth it.

Whether you make homemade dough or purchase store bought dough, the decision is solely up to you depending on how much time you have. If you choose to make a more traditional Italian pizza, there tends to be less toppings used as the distinct flavor comes primarily from the homemade dough and farm fresh ingredients. If time isn’t a luxury, there are plenty of quick dough recipes you can make, rather than a sour dough which takes a good couple of hours over several days. You may also consider making a larger quantity of dough and freezing some of it for next time you cook in your pizza stove.

For those who enjoy piling many different toppings on their pizzas, the main rule of thumb is the less toppings a pizza has, the shorter duration that it needs to bake. The last thing you want is for the base to be cooked and your toppings cold so keep this in mind. Remember that cooking pizza in a stainless steel pizza oven only takes a few minutes to cook, so be sure to stay close by, have a large pizza peel on hand and keep an eye on the cooking progress.

Some of you may not be as familiar with cooking other items in your wood fired pizza oven, but you really are only limited by your imagination. Because all food cooks so quickly in your wood fired pizza oven, it is great for cooking for large gatherings or get togethers. Wood fired pizza ovens are often large and have a vast interior. You can expand on your meal offerings by making homemade bread, pasta casserole dishes, desserts, the choices go on and on. Homemade bread takes on a subtle crunch and texture that cooking in the wood fired oven produces.

Source by Reyazul Masud Riham

Why Making Pizza Is Fun

Cooking can be fun! That’s true regardless of what you make, and includes making pizza. Making a pizza from scratch can be particularly fun. Here are some of the benefits of using a particular pizza recipe to make a DIY pizza: 

1. It’s good exercise

This is true whether you’re mixing pizza sauce ingredients, or kneading dough for the pizza crust. The amount of physical movement required for cooking is often overlooked. That includes the process of making pizza. So if you want an effective way to burn calories, consider making your own pizza instead of picking up the phone to order one. The former task provides much more exercise than the latter one does. And since you’ll likely want to offset the calories consumed when eating your pizza, one way to do that is by burning some of them while making the pizza itself! 

2. It can be a shared activity

Sure, making pizza could involve just you. But it’s much more enjoyable when it becomes a shared experience. Whether you get help from your friends or relatives, each person can have a particular task that he or she must complete. And the combination of the various tasks ultimately helps to create the perfect pizza. Also, by getting help from others you can share suggestions about how to improve the different components of the pizza.  

3. It’s hands-on

Dishes taste extra good when you handle the food while preparing it. Whether you’re shredding cheese, forming balls of pizzas dough, or mixing sauce-all of these activities are extremely tactile. Too often in today’s world we’ve become too accustomed to eating food that someone else has prepared. But by following a pizza recipe to make your own pizza, you can enjoy a hands-on approach to the pizza’s preparation. From the shaping of the pizza dough to the sprinkling of the cheese-engaging in these tactile activities creates an extremely meaningful experience. 

4. It creates a unique cooking experience

While there are other types of food that have different components, there’s nothing quite like making a pizza via a pizza recipe. Without a doubt, there’s no cooking experience in the world that compares to preparing a pizza. For instance, consider that there are four key components of pizza: the crust, the sauce, the cheese, and the toppings. Each of these components creates a cornucopia of possibilities. And as a result, each pizza that you prepare can be a unique work of art.  

5. It’s cost-effective

One of the biggest benefits of preparing your own pizza is that the cost will likely be significantly cheaper than ordering a pizza. That’s because you’ll forgo many of the costs linked to pizzas prepared at restaurants. That can include franchising costs, labor costs, and delivery costs. When the costs are lower, the pizza will taste better! 

Making a pizza can definitely be fun. These aforementioned reasons are some of the main ones.

Source by Michael Reade

How to Make a Great Chicago Style Stuffed Pizza

Chicago style stuffed pizza is a pizza pie based on an Italian Easter pie. It is more kin to a casserole than a typical flat, thin crust pizza. The dough can either be flaky or more like a bread dough and is filled with lots of cheese, meats and vegetables, partially baked and then topped with tomato sauce. It was apparently developed in Chicago in the 1970’s by Rocco Palese, founder of Nancy’s Pizzeria, although its true origins are lost in the mists of time. Many Chicago pizzerias specialize in stuffed pizza including Nancy’s, Pizzeria Uno’s and Giordano’s.

The development of this recipe began in 2001, when I left the Chicago area and moved to the Western Slope of Colorado. My family and I live in a beautiful valley that has everything we need, except a decent pizzeria. My husband, Scott, hails from upstate New York and until he met me, had never tasted anything remotely resembling a stuffed pizza. During several trips to the Windy City to visit my dad and stepmother, he and I ate our way through stuffed pizzas from Lou Malnati’s, Uno’s, Gino’s East, Nancy’s and Giordano’s. As befits a man of good taste, Scott naturally became an instant convert to the delights of Chicago style pizza, despite a deprived upbringing eating only that thin, bendable stuff that passes for pizza in New York. Fortunately for our marriage, he agreed with me that Giordano’s has the best stuffed pizza around.

Upon our return to our lovely, pizza challenged valley we embarked on a mission to develop a recipe for a pizza that mimicked Giordano’s stuffed pizza as closely as possible. I absolutely love their crust, its flakiness is amazing and I have tried for years to duplicate that style. After nine years, thanks to much delicious trial and error and some great advice from Buzz, a moderator from pizzamaking.com, I present to you what I believe to be the best stuffed pizza recipe west of Chicagoland. Another note, don’t be intimidated by the length or scope of this recipe. It is worth every second of time you will spend making it. Just pick a snowy / rainy day and have fun in the kitchen.

Chicago Style Stuffed Pizza

Makes two large stuffed pizzas


6 cups all purpose unbleached flour (King Arthur preferred)

1 heaping TBSP yeast

1 TBSP sea salt

2 TBSP sugar

½ cup olive oil

1 ½ cups warm water (you might need more)

Proof the yeast with an additional teaspoon of sugar in your nice 100 – 110 degree water (I use filtered water, I swear it makes a difference). Mix the flour, salt and sugar. Add yeast mixture. Use your hands to start to form the dough into a rough ball, then add the oil a little a time until it comes together into cohesive ball (it will still be a bit scrappy). Add more water if necessary.

Knead only two minutes, no kidding! This is the key to the flakiness of Giordano style pizza crust. The more you knead, the more bread like it becomes. So a short knead is the real secret!

Let the dough rise-because of the short kneading time, it will not rise very much. I let it rise for anywhere from 2 – 8 hours. The longer the better! You can also put it in the fridge overnight if you’d like, and use it the next day. Be sure that the dough is at room temperature before attempting to roll it out. Make your sauce and fillings now, so they are ready but not to hot when your crust is ready.

Once it has risen, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, and repeat the following process for each crust. Roll each one thin with a rolling pin. If it wants to bounce back, let it rest 10 minutes or so. Then fold the dough in quarters, let it rest a little and roll it out flat and thin again (it should be at least 12″ in diameter). You can repeat the rolling a third time, I encourage you to try it. Think puff pastry! This creates that flakiness I love in Giordano’s crust.

Once it’s rolled flat and thin for the final time, immediately put one crust in a greased 12″ deep dish pan (I use olive oil). (I have several preferred pans; my current favorites are a Le Creuset paella pan and a dark metal, heavy duty, deep dish pizza pan. We’ve also used a great old cast iron skillet) The size of the dough should be larger than the pan, so drape it over, press it down, and cut off the edges. Now get right to work stuff your pizza. Don’t let the dough rise in the pan.

Fill your crust with your fillings in the following order:

Cheese (grated or sliced) about 8 – 12 oz for the bottom

Spinach or Sausage filling (see following recipes)

Cheese again (grated or sliced) another 8 – 12 oz. here

Now drape another crust over your filling, seal the edges well and fold over for a pretty edge. (See picture.)

With a sharp knife, cut several air vents in the top of your creation.

Put in a HOT oven. I recommend 450 degrees, but experiment with any temp from 425 – 500, depending on your pan.

Check after 10 – 15 minutes. When it’s starting to brown slightly, pull your pizza out and put your tomato sauce on top. I prefer a thin layer of sauce. (My favorite sauce recipe follows, but you can use any good tomato sauce.) Then top your pizza with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and put back in the oven for another 10 – 20 minutes. Watch the bottom crust, especially in a dark pan. It will burn quickly. When the sauce / Parmesan combo is bubbly and the bottom is not burned, your pizza is ready. Pull it out of the oven and let sit for a few minutes (now is the time to take pictures of your creation). Enjoy.

Tomato Sauce Recipe:

2 large cans whole Italian Plum tomatoes, well drained (I like Muir Glen)

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper ( I also like to add 1 tsp of crushed red chili flakes)

2 – 3 tsp. oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 tbsp sugar

2 bay leaves

1 cup chopped onions

Olive oil

Heat large skillet over medium heat until nice and warm. Coat the bottom of the hot pan with a small puddle of olive oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent, adding garlic about halfway through cooking so it doesn’t burn. Add drained tomatoes. Stir. Add in salt, sugar, pepper, bay leaves, chili flakes and oregano. Cook for about five to ten minutes on medium heat. I break up the tomatoes slightly with a potato masher or an immersion blender (don’t forget to take out the bay leaves). The sauce should still be a little chunky. Taste and add salt, pepper, oregano or more sugar as needed. Let sauce sit until you’re ready.

Spinach Filling:

2 pounds fresh spinach (or 3 packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained)

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

a little olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

½ tsp red chili pepper flakes

a little nutmeg (freshly ground, about ¼ tsp or so)

Lots of fresh basil leaves (about ½ cup) (if you’re in pinch, use about 1 tsp of dried basil and add it to your spinach mixture)

1 – 1 ½ pounds mozzarella (grated or thinly sliced) – I use 1 ½ pounds evenly divided between the top and the bottom of your filling, like a cheese sandwich.

fresh Parmesan cheese for the top of pizza

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil with chili flakes until mostly cooked, add fresh (or frozen) spinach, cover and cook over lowish heat until wilted. The idea here is that the filling be very dry. If it’s not, drain any water out as best you can. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Next, tear up a bunch of basil leaves into small pieces and add to filling once it’s off the heat. I’ve heard that cutting basil with a knife changes the taste, so I don’t take any chances, I tear it by hand. You can also try laying the basil leaves over your spinach filling before you put on the final layer of cheese. That’s how Edwardo’s on Howard St. used to do it. Set your filling aside to cool before stuffing your crust.

Sausage and Pepper Filling:

2 pounds bulk Italian sausage (hot is good!)

2 red, green or yellow peppers, thinly sliced

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

1 – 1 ½ pounds mozzarella cheese, grated or thinly sliced – I use 1 ½ pounds evenly divided between the top and the bottom of your filling, like a cheese sandwich.

Fresh parmesan cheese for top of pizza

Brown Italian sausage in a little olive oil, if needed, over medium heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook over medium heat until all the ingredients are tender. Drain any excess fat. Season to taste (how much seasoning you need depends on how your sausage is seasoned), don’t be afraid to add salt, pepper, oregano, basil or chili flakes. Cool filling before stuffing your pizza crust.

Source by Lisa Fairbank