I don’t know much about men. Honestly, I know the stereotype is supposed to be that you are blindingly simple, but I can’t seem to figure you out on any sort of deep level.
I have, however, found three things to be true of almost every man I’ve met:
You like beer.
You like activities where small objects fly through the air and people in uniform run around a designated space and compete to control its whereabouts.
You like pizza.
This knowledge has actually gotten me surprisingly far.
As a rule, I believe in finding what you are good at and excelling in that arena, which is why I am not going to instruct you about beer and I am definitely not going to even attempt to talk about sports.
But I do know pizza. More specifically, I know how to make it and I don’t understand why more people don’t. Fresh pizza is easy, inexpensive, and consistently popular amongst guests (ahem…and dates). Believe me, if you always have a ball of pizza dough in your fridge you will never, ever go hungry. You will also save money and impress your friends. Oh, and I know I’m not the only woman who finds kneading dough unbelievably attractive.
So get in your kitchen already. Let’s start with the dough; this recipe is enough for 2 large thin-crust pizzas or 4 smaller ones.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 packet dry active yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus more for the bowl
- 1 tsp salt
Combine water, yeast and sugar and set aside in a warm place until it begins to foam (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile combine salt and flour in a bowl. Slowly stream in the yeast mixture and add the olive oil. Stir until the ingredients come together into a soft dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead (flattening and folding the dough over and over until it becomes elastic) about 20 times. Set aside in an oiled bowl, covered with a dish towel for 20-30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
There. That wasn’t so hard was it?
First let’s talk about the basic elements of pizza. You need dough (you’ve got that covered already), sauce (or something similarly textured, like ricotta, as in the following recipe), and in most cases, cheese. Toppings are optional, but highly recommended. If you have a pizza stone, great. If not, a regular pizza pan (about $5 at most well-stocked grocery stores) will do just fine. Even a cookie sheet will do. Below you’ll find my favorite ways to make pizza at home, but have fun experimenting with your own combinations.
(By the way, there are many, many other cool things you can do with pizza dough.)
This is a great pizza for those who love meat on their pizza but want an air of sophistication. I like to use green heirloom tomatoes in this recipe because they contrast so beautifully with the pink salami.
- 1/2 recipe pizza dough
- 8 slices salami
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 small heirloom tomato, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Lightly dust a pizza pan or baking sheet with flour.
Heat olive oil in medium frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and allow to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
On a floured surface, roll pizza dough out into a 12” circle. Transfer dough to pizza pan or baking sheet.
Using a rubber spatula or butter knife, spread the ricotta over the dough, leaving about 1” edge for a crust. Spread out the salami slices evenly throughout the pizza. Scatter the caramelized onions and tomato chunks in between the salami slices. Sprinkle the whole thing with the Parmesan and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is browned in spots.
Cut into wedges and serve.
Figs are nature’s sexiest fruit. I use fresh ones when they are in season and dried ones when they are not. Both versions are delicious.
- 1/2 recipe pizza dough
- flour for rolling and dusting pan
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small bunch basil leaves, chopped
- 4 fresh figs, sliced
- 1 small white onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup fontina or mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F and lightly flour a baking or pizza pan.
Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add onion slices and allow to cook slowly, stirring infrequently, until they caramelize. This should take several minutes.
In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Roll dough out on a floured surface into a 12” circle. Transfer to pan. Top with tomato mixture, followed by the cheese. Top with fig slices and caramelized onions.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is melted and brown.
Pesto-Goat Cheese Pizza
This recipe couldn’t be easier and it’s a great alternative to traditional tomato-based sauce pizzas.
- 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
- 1 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 recipe pizza dough
- Flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Dust a clean, flat surface with flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 12” circle. Spread the pesto evenly over the dough, leaving a 1” border pesto-free and sprinkle the goat cheese evenly over the top of the pesto. Transfer the pizza onto a floured cookie sheet, pizza pan or a hot pizza stone. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown and the top of the pizza is browned in spots.