An Inspired Pizza
The small town I live in, while a very nice place to live, is not a dining mecca by any stretch of the imagination. Your choices are two small Mexican restaurants, another restaurant that is only open on Fridays and serves Steaks and shrimp and the like, a Subway, a KFC/Taco Bell combo, a McDonalds, and the two truck stops in town that have plate lunches during the week and catfish on Friday night. All decent food but nothing really out of the ordinary. The one thing we really don’t have in town is good pizza. I like a nice thin, crunchy crust with fresh toppings. I also like more unconventional toppings.
Last Friday night my hubby was gone and it was just me and Allie so I decided to indulge myself and make pizza! I decided to make a luxurious adult pizza that combines some of my favorite flavors. I’m going to share with you my go to, simple pizza crust recipe and a few tips on how to get a really crispy crust if you want that will make you think you’re at one of those high priced wood fired pizza places. And everything can easily be found in your local grocery - even if you’re like me and live in the middle of nowhere. Ready? Let's go!
The first place to start is the crust. I started making my own pizza crusts a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. This is super simple and you can make it thick or thin. Either way it works great.
Basic Pizza Crust
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet of rapid rise yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil + 2 tablespoons (or so)
Mix the warm water, yeast, and honey together and allow the yeast mixture to bloom for 3 to 5 minutes. This allows the yeast to get a jump start before you add it to the flour mixture and helps you make sure your yeast is good. Aka - your pizza crust will rise. Set this to the size and combine the four and salt in another bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture and mix well until the dough comes together in a ball. Drizzle with a little olive oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set to the side to rest for about 10 or 15 minutes.
This dough depending on the weather may be a little sticky so just make sure to flour your hands and work surface. Press out the dough with your hands or roll out into a pizza pan, cookie sheet, or I use a piece of parchment paper dusted with just a little cornmeal. The cornmeal keeps the pizza from sticking as well as adding another dimension of texture to the crust.
This recipe will make one large pizza or two smaller pizzas which is normally how I do it. That way I can have different toppings on each.
Top with your sauce and toppings and bake at 425 for 20 to 25 minutes.
Or...... for a crispy crust.......
Quick tip - if you want a crispy, crunchy crust roll out the dough fairly thin (I just press it out with my hands and call it rustic) brush with olive oil, and prebake it for about 5 minutes. Then top with sauce and toppings and bake as usual. You should end up with a wonderful crisp, crunchy crust.
White Pizza Sauce
You can find the recipe for this white sauce HERE. But I’ll go ahead and post it again for you.
⅓ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonaise
2 cloves of garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients well and spread in a thin layer and use your toppings of choice.
This pizza was a combination of what I had on hand and fresh ingredients. I have been baking chicken breasts on Sunday night to have on hand for my lunch during the week so I used that as my meat as well as some left over baked asparagus I made for a side dish on Thursday night. I also used fresh red bell pepper sliced thin, red onion sliced thin, and a pantry staple for me marinated artichoke hearts cut into bite sized pieces. So my toppings list was;
cooked chicken breast sliced into bite sized pieces
roasted asparagus cut into bite sized pieces
fresh red bell pepper sliced thin
fresh red onion sliced thin
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts (I used about 1/2 jar per pizza)
Italian blend shredded cheese
So my order of operations was:
1. Set oven to 425 degrees
2. Made pizza dough, covered with plastic wrap, and set aside to rest.
3. Chopped veggies and chicken
4. Divided dough into two equal pieces, and patted out into two by pizzas about 1/4 inch thick, brushed with olive oil, and baked for 5 minutes.
5. Mixed together white sauce while crust was cooking.
6. Pulled pizzas from the oven, topped with sauce, thin layer of cheese, layered toppings, more cheese, and then back into the oven to melt the cheese until hot and bubbly and slightly brown.
7. Eat and enjoy!
This pizza turned out great! It had a thin crunchy crust, a creamy smooth sauce, and made use of stuff I had on hand as well as some pantry goodies, and fresh veggies too. If you have any questions let me know and especially let me know if you make it! It was even good for breakfast the next day. LOL!
Hope you're having a great start to your week my lovelies!