This pizza made me happy. But, pizza usually makes me happy. And homemade pizza is simply delightful. Really.
I have a basic dough recipe that I use, courtesy of Mario Batali, though, I don't think I've ever followed the recipe as it's written EVER. One of these days I certainly will...but not today. For the original Batali dough recipe, click here.
Here's what I usually do instead:
- 1/4 cup white wine (I sometimes substitute with water if I don't have white wine on hand)
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp active yeast
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 3 cups bread flour
Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a bread machine, and let sit for a few minutes. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the remaining ingredients to the bread machine. Set your machine to the "dough" cycle and walk away.
When your dough is done, transfer the dough to a floured surface, and work the dough into a ball (incorporate more flour if your dough is too sticky). Transfer your dough ball to an oil-ed bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let your dough sit out on the counter for an hour or so.
Now it's time to start prepping your toppings! For today's pizza, I'm using mozzarella, basil and sausage.
I started by very roughly chopping a TON of basil. Basil will shrink up as it cooks, so it's ok to leave it in big pieces.
Today was also the first time I was using my pizza stone, which I had purchased at a friend's Pampered Chef party. I popped my pizza stone into the oven, and set my oven to preheat to 500 amazing degrees.
While the oven was preheating, I added a 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO to a pan, and started cooking up some Italian sausage. My husband loves sausage, so I made a lot, and figured we could always use the leftovers in an egg scramble the next day (which we did).
When the oven was ready, I started rolling out my dough. I aimed for a circle and ended up with an amoeba-shaped pie. But that's ok. I love a good doughy crust, so my goal is to ultimately make the dough BIGGER than the vessel I'll be cooking it in.
I carefully pulled my piping hot pizza stone out of the oven and gingerly dropped my dough on top. I folded the excess dough to make my glorious crust. Sometimes when I'm feeling ambitious, I'll sneak some cheese under the folded-over crust.
I brushed the dough and the crust thoroughly with EVOO, and then I sprinkled a decent amount of kosher salt over the crust. You can see the crust already bubbly away because the pizza stone is so hot.
I brushed on my red sauce. I know there are a lot of different red sauces out there, and ones that are marketed specifically as "pizza sauce" (and of course, I guess I could have made my own from scratch), but my personal favorite is the basic red sauce from Prego. Use whatever you like best.
Next it's cheese time!! I had leftover mozzarella that I had purchased recently (I did not make the mozzarella this time), so I sliced it up and covered my pizza with it. We love a cheesy pizza.
Next, I added my roughly chopped basil.
And last, but certainly not least, I added my cooked sausage.
Into the oven for 12 minutes....and voila!! A beautiful pizza every time.