Let me be very clear. In no universe did I expect to make homemade pizza that tasted good or that I would want to make again. I expected to fulfill my daughter’s birthday party request for a homemade pizza party with a couple of friends.
I went to the store (Central Market, of course), bought some ingredients, followed the directions for the dough, and followed my gut on a few of the steps. Primarily, I went easy on the sauce, made sure the oven was super hot, and made sure everything was seasoned well.
Guys, when I tell you this was some of the best pizza we have eaten, I am not lying. We were all shocked, not least of all me, and stood around the cutting board in amazement.
Just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I made it again a few weeks later, and this time I wrote everything down. The results were equally as stellar, which leads me to this post where I am going to walk you through exactly what I did to make unexpectedly delicious homemade pizza.
Here we go…
I bought four 1-pound packages of frozen pizza dough. The brand in the photo is the brand I chose at random, but I bet there are other equally delicious options.
Each package makes two pizzas. Each pizza feeds two people (or one teenage boy). So math tells us that one package of dough could feed four people. I was feeding our family plus three friends for a pizza party, and four dough balls made eight pizzas. We had leftovers (which I did not mind one bit).
I followed the directions on the frozen dough and put the dough balls (directly from the freezer) into a large bowl and drizzled them with olive oil. Then I covered the bowl with plastic and left them at room temperature for four hours while they thawed and began to rise.
I gathered the following toppings:
Mild Italian Sausage
Red sauce (the Del Grosso brand ended up being a winner)
White sauce (super easy recipe included below)
Pineapple (not my taste, but my kids insisted)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Marinated fresh mozzarella balls (which I quartered)
Fresh arugula + balsamic vinegar (Not pictured but, I added fresh arugula and a splash of balsamic vinegar to a hot pizza and oh my gosh yes.)
Last, but most importantly, I sprinkled each pizza with a healthy pinch of Kosher salt. Mozzarella cheese does not have salt in it, so pizza can turn out very bland if you don’t add salt. I swear this was the magic ingredient.
Four hours later, the dough was thawed and bigger. Success!
I preheated my oven to 450 degrees. I did not use any “special” pizza equipment. No stones or bricks or fire. Just my oven and parchment-lined sheet trays.
I took one ball of thawed pizza dough and split it half. Then I took each half and very casually shaped and pulled it until it was thin in the middle. I did not spend much time fussing over the dough. I don’t have time to fuss over dough. And in the end, this method worked beautifully.
Pizza Number One (on the left) included white sauce, chopped cooked bacon, shredded mozzarella, quartered mozzarella balls, shredded Parmesan, and sprinkle of Kosher salt. When it came out of the oven, I immediately topped it with a handful of arugula and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Pizza Number Two (on the right) included red sauce, chopped cooked bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella, quartered mozzarella balls, parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of Kosher salt.
I would suggest you go very light on the sauce. It really does not take very much.
I also put the crumbled meats on first and then topped them with cheese so that the cheese would melt and brown. The pepperoni went on the very top so it would get crackly and brown.
Lastly, too many toppings is not better. It makes everything soggy. These pizzas were full, but not piled high. Everything had space to heat and get melted together.
And here they are!
The white pizza is on the bottom, the red pizza is on the top. I baked them for about 20 minutes, or until the top was bubbling and (super important) the bottom of the crust was browned.
I found this to be so easy, enjoyable, and delicious! In fact, I am stocking my freezer and pantry this week with ingredients so that we can have this meal at the ready over the Christmas break. It is the perfect casual yet communal meal.
Looking for the perfect salad to serve with your pizza? Check out the recipe for The Hurley House House Salad!
I am including my recipe for the white sauce I made below…
Basic White Sauce for Pizza
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- In a small pot (or even a skillet), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for at least a minute to cook the raw flavor out of the flour. It will be crumbly and awkward, but just do the best you can to move the flour and butter around the bottom of your pan.
- While whisking, slowly stream in the whole milk. Keep whisking to break up any lumps. Cook until you see a few bubbles pop on the surface. This is the sign that your sauce has thickened. Stir in the sauce and taste it. You want this sauce to be highly seasoned. If it tastes bland at all, add a pinch more salt until you taste it and want to lick the pan clean.