We love making homemade pizza and have discovered which toppings give that extra za-zing that our family has come to love. The first pizza out of the oven is always the kicking combo supreme (pictured above), usually followed by a more reserved pizza such as ham and pineapple, and last out of the oven is my personal favorite, the perfect veggie combo. My son in-law, Tim, and I are the only ones with a true and abiding appreciation for sweet peppers on our pizza, so I reserve half of the veggie combo pizza for the peppers.
Through the years we have developed the sauce to our personal taste and we think that it is stellar. As the base of the sauce, we use fire-roasted tomatoes. We toss in a few spices, give it a whirl in the blender, then dance naked in the moonlight while the sauce ripens to perfection. It’s all very dramatic. When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore….
We have tried different tweaks on the crust, hoping to find crust nirvana, but here is the bottom line: crust nirvana can only be found at professional pizzerias with a wood fired brick oven. So, to make pizza dough at home, we have settled…for now…on a simple, basic, unfussy recipe. I really must find somewhere to get a good semolina flour so that I can experiment with it. I truly believe that it will make a tasty difference in the outcome of the pizza dough. For now, however, I am happy with the homemade pizza that we make in my kitchen with the family meandering in out stealing bites of sausage and pepperoni and black olives and mozzarella cheese. There is not one drop of Italian blood in us, but the power of pizza brings us together and we are loud and happy and animated.
Recipe by the Spencer family @ that’s some good cookin’
Enough for two crusts
- 5 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups warm water, divided
- Proof yeast (dissolve and let rise) in 1 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. I like to proof my yeast, just to make certain that it is going to work!
- After the yeast has proofed, in the bowl of a stand mixer add the proofed yeast, the remaining 1 cup of warm water, olive oil, salt, and 3 cups of the flour. With the dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients for 5 minutes.
- With the mixer running, add enough flour, 1/2 cup at a time, just until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Let the mixer run for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Remove dough from mixer and shape into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until double in bulk. Turn out on well floured surface and punch down, working out the big, yeasty gas bubbles that have formed. Hint: I usually leave the dough in the mixing bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise. Then, when the dough has doubled in bulk, I turn the mixer back on for a few seconds to release the gas bubbles from the yeast–it serves the same purpose as punching down the dough and saves me a few extra steps.
- Divide the dough and shape into two balls. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll dough into desired shape and thickness. Place on pizza pan or hot pizza stone and add toppings as desired. I usually add toppings in this order: drizzle of olive oil, thin layer of sauce (recipe below), mozzarella cheese, meat, vegetables, a little more mozzarella and maybe a light sprinkle of parmesan, a light sprinkle of oregano. Hint: a large amount of toppings will create a soggy pizza.
- Bake in a 500-degree oven until crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbley.
Ultimate Spencer Family Pizza Sauce
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or tomato puree or crushed tomatoes)
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- sprinkle of thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan; add onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until light golden brown. Don’t overcook, garlic becomes bitter if cooked past the lightly golden brown stage. Remove from heat and let cool until garlic and onions can be safely handled with the other ingredients.
- Place all ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth. Use on your favorite pizza crust.
Favorite Pizza Toppings
- marinated artichoke hearts
- black olives, especially Kalamata olives
- onions, sliced
- sweet pepper slices
- fresh mushrooms (we love crimini)
- Italian sausage, cooked prior to putting on pizza
- cheese–mozzarella, parmesan, romano, provolone
Ham and Pineapple Pizza
Veggie Pizza with my personal favorite–sweet peppers (I chose yellow because it is what I had on hand)
Family Favorite–Kicking Combo with Italian sausage, pepperoni, kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, onions, and mushrooms