I have never been a pizza lover until I moved to our house on the lake. The idea of a greasy, cheesy, rubbery piece of dough with mediocre tomato sauce on top has never wet my appetite, that is, until I discovered two things. One was the ready made pizza dough in the bakery department of the local Publix store and the other the Emile Henri pizza stone which I featured as a Christmas gift a couple of moths ago.
Eating a home baked pizza is unlike anything you have tasted before. For one thing, you are in control of the ingredients and secondly, it is a lot cheaper. Here innovation and creativity is the name of the game. Open your refrigerator and see what you have left over that needs to get put to use and go from there. Mozzarella is a good standby but any of the cheeses I mentioned below are a good alternative. Chorizo, ham, tiny meatballs, pancetta, bacon, chicken are great meats and as to vegetables. the sky's the limit. Don't limit yourself to what you think is an adequate pizza ingredient.
The recipe below is an adaptation from no other than Jacques Pepin who makes pizza often for lunch or slices them for hors d'oeuvre. There is always pizza dough in his freezer in case of unannounced guests.
I have made quite a few since I got my stone and have gotten quite good at it. I even gave one to my son for his birthday just so we could compare strategies. This was the last one I made and it was a masterpiece!
It will take you a couple of times to get the dough to your liking. The longer you leave it on the pan resting after it has cooked, the crispier your pizza will be. Make sure the stone is preheated at 400 degrees for at least an hour and also take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rise for and hour or two before filling and baking. Punch it hard to get rid of the bubbles and work it with your hands around the edges, letting it drop and working quickly. Put it on top of a lightly floured counter and roll it as thin as you want with a rolling pin.
Make sure you have all the ingredients ready to go before you take the stone out of the oven. Work quickly when you add the ingredients so the stone doesn't get cold.
If I can make a great pizza, so can you. It might take you a couple of times but you will be so glad you did!
•1 ready-made 12-inch pizza crust
•2 tablespoons good olive oil
•2/3 cup sliced onion
•1 cup coarsely chopped (1/4-inch) chorizo sausage
•2/3 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms (4–5 mushrooms)
•1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper strips (or sliced tomatoes which is what I used)
•2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•About 1 1/2 cups sliced cheese, such as St. Albray, fontina, Camembert, mozzarella, Beaufort, or a mixture of these. You can also use goat cheese!
Preheat the oven (and the stone if using) to 400 degrees. Brush the bottom of the pizza crust with a little of the oil. Place the crust on a cookie sheet (or stone), sprinkle the onion on top, and evenly distribute the chorizo, mushrooms, bell pepper (or tomatoes), and sliced garlic on the crust. I also added fresh basil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and top with the cheese. Sprinkle on the remaining oil.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until well browned and crisp. Cut into wedges and serve.