It's not delivery or DiGiorno

Pizza

It's hard to make a close-up of pizza look appetizing

Try homemade pizza next time you feel like a college student.

It’s really not that hard and super delicious. I’ve tried to cover everything and I’m not used to creating recipes so its extremely long.

The Basics:

Crust| We have tried the Pillsbury pizza dough in the can and the pre-made Boboli/knock-off crusts. But the picture features our latest discovery: pizza store pizza crust! Laramie has a local pizza place called Grand Avenue Pizza and they sold us some of their dough. (for 2 medium sized, average-thick crusts it was only $3!). This has so far worked the best and tasted the best. I highly recommend you give it a try.

If you do end up using the Pillsbury pizza dough, be weary that it becomes harder to transfer the dough to the oven once you put the toppings on—especially if you get thin crust. More on this later.

Sauce| We’ve used the Ragu pizza sauce for a while, its no premium sauce, but we tried not to think of it.

Instead try, making your own. By a can of tomato paste (spiced ones if you want to be fancier) and some cheap red wine for cooking. We found a bottle at our local wine shop for $4. In a pan, just heat up the tomato paste and any where from 1/2 to 2 cans of wine– Depending on how thick you like your sauce. The wine might make the sauce a little tangy so be sure to taste it as you go. If it gets too tangy for your taste, try adding a little milk or a fresh tomato.

Cheese| I find this not a very thrilling part of the pizza, mozzarella or the cheese blend works equally well.

However, spinach and mascarpone pizzas are delicious, I had them in London. You just plop chunks of mascarpone cheese around at the end. It’s like heaven when you finally bite into it.

Pizza Stone| These are great for making pizzas, frozen or homemade. And they’re not as expensive as you think—just get a piece of unglazed ceramic tile from your local hardware or floor store. We got ours for free because the guy thought we were crazy normally they can be anywhere from $1-$3. It’s square only a foot in length, but it works perfectly. It also makes a cool criss-cross design in our crust because we’re using the “back” of the tile. Try to find one at least 3/4 of an inch in thickness. Thanks Alton Brown!

Prep for homemade pizza:
(These steps are for pizzas made with real dough. Read your packaging for individual instructions)

01| Preheat oven to 450 F.  If you’re using a pizza stone, let the stone warm up with the oven! The rack should be a the bottom position. Kneed dough if necessary. (I don’t think you need to for the Pillsbury).

02| On a clean, flat surface, roll out the dough to the shape and thickness you would like. Keep in mind that the crust will rise in the oven. We usually keep ours at about 1/2 inch.

03| IF you are using a pizza stone, you will need to put the pizza on something to transfer it to the oven before you put the toppings on. (Since, again, you have to let the stone warm up with the oven because it would crack due to the rapid change in temperature). We use the backside of a cooking sheet. Put a good amount of cornmeal on your surface and place the dough on top. The pizza should be able to move around on the surface easily, if not, put more corn meal on. Corn meal works better than flour because it won’t leave a flour-taste on the crust when you’re eating.

04| Spread olive oil around the crust. This will help it become golden brown when it bakes. Maybe some garlic powder too if you want it extra yummy.

05| Now apply the sauce evenly leaving border for the crust. Probably an inch or less would work, depending on how much you like crust. Remember, the crust will be a little bigger than it looks raw once it’s done.

06| Next the toppings. Cheese first, of course. We had ground beef topping, and for that you have to cook it before you put it on the pizza. We used extra meat because we’re trying to duplicate the delicious pizzas at La Casa in Omaha. Must visit if you go there.

07| Now the tricky part for pizza stone users. Transferring the pizza is to the oven can be messy business. Luckily, you have learned from my trial and error. Even with the added weight of the toppings, your pizza should move pretty well on the surface still (if not, add more cornmeal). You should be able to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone in the oven. For us, usually a side of the crust always incurs at least a little damage in this process, but that’s ok.

08| The pizza should take anywhere from 6-10 minutes to cook, depending on the crust you used and the thickness. Our pizzas are fairly small so they’re done in about 8. Just check the crust on the top and the underside to make sure it’s golden brown and you should be good.

Enjoy!

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