I’ve shared my “go-to” pizza that I have (FINALLY!) found, but haven’t shared the journey how I got there. When I got married and didn’t know how to cook a chicken breast, I thought pizza would be quick, easy and cheap. So I bought: ready made pizza crust, canned pizza sauce, shredded kraft mozzarella cheese and pepperoni – fail proof right?!?
Oh no. Not good. It was a poor imitation and honestly just made us want the real thing even more! Next try? Pillsbury pizza crust dough, jarred tomato sauce, same cheese plus shredded parmesan and browned italian sausage. Score?
Not so fast. After multiple tries, we decided that homemade pizza would not be a staple in the Lopina household.
Fast forward 2 years. I have learned A LOT about cooking, ingredients and food since then. I can cook a whole chicken with my eyes closed and have found a few recipes that have my husband begging for more. So… with a lot of trepidation I decided to try the dreaded pizza again.
I decided to start from scratch – – literally. I gave it a make-over from the dough up. The result? SCORE!!!! It is super yummy, husband approved, self approved and friend approved too!!! So in case you’re living in the awkward bad pizza stage above, let me save you 2 years of food embarrassment:
How to Love your Pizza:
- Make your own dough. DO IT!!! If you have a bread machine you can make it happen without much effort on your own!! If not – it’s so still worth it. To be honest I haven’t made one by hand yet, but I will soon just so I can empathize with your pain. The dough is an integral part for the pizza and if it ain’t right, your pizza has no chance. (I’ve also heard there are other good storebought crusts – I’m no snob, if you buy a crust you like – GREAT! Use it.)
- Get really tasty, flavorful sauce. Homemade is best. However, I don’t always have it on hand. Just please don’t buy the little can that says “pizza sauce.” If you buy something, but it packed with herbs and spices, or with mushrooms, or garlic – you just want very flavorful sauce. Feel free to always add more garlic, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, etc. (If you’re feeling adventuresome you can always use pesto – yes, please!)
- FRESH MOZZARELLA!!! FRESH MOZZARELLA!!! FRESH MOZZARELLA!! This is the biggest difference. Yes, it’s a little expensive. But you have to splurge. I’m going to make a huge claim here and say this is the KEY to good pizza. Without it, the most a homemade pizza can ever be is satisfactory.
- Use at least 2 delicious toppings. Play around in this area. My “go-to” pizza is capicola and sauteed mushrooms. But I’ll switch it up a little bit using these basics. I’ve also done capicola and sauteed onions; proscuitto and mushrooms. Stick with your main “theme” of toppings and you can be assured it will be delicious.
- Cook the dough well before you add the toppings. This is a tip I never do well and then always regret it. One of the biggest differences between (even good) homemade pizza and restaurant pizza is that homemade usually needs to be eaten with a fork and knife. If you cook your dough so it is nice and hard you will be able to pick it up and eat it with your hand if you like.
- Use more garlic than you think you should. This is more a theme for my life. Sorry if I’m adding in my personal addendum to your pizza making:)
- Broil to finish it off. Broiling makes your cheese nice and bubbly and gives that crisp finishing touch.
- FRESH MOZZARELLA!!! So important it needed to be said again.
Good luck my friends. Happy Pizza Making!!