Dan and the girls (and me too) LOVE pizza. And we love family movie night, which traditionally calls for pizza for dinner. However, I am cheap and dislike paying that much money for pizza delivery and not getting exactly the type I want, due to different taste preferences in this house. So I have started making my own and seriously, it is WAY better than delivery. And really quite easy. My favorite pizza dough recipe is one I found online by Wolfgang Puck who is known for pizza. It's an easy recipe and you can kick it up (different chef!) by adding some things to it. I hope some of you will be willing and adventurous to try it!!!! :) Please post and let me know if you tried this and how it came out!!!!
1 package active dry or fresh yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of italian seasoning
Toppings of your choice
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4-cup warm water. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, italian seasoning and the salt. Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. (The pizza dough can also be made in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball.) You can also mix it by hand, you just have to knead it a bit longer.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).
Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. (I KNOW Pampered Chef says you don’t have to preheat your stones but this really works better – the crust bakes enough without burning the toppings).
To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough. Spread sauce as desired and arrange the topping of your choice.
Using a lightly floured baker's peel or a rimless flat baking tray, slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife. Serve immediately.
**I also like to make garlic butter with fresh garlic and brush it all around the crust once it comes out of the oven. Soooo good!**
My favorite toppings are pesto (instead of sauce), salami, black olives, shredded mozzarella and dollops of ricotta. Here is another recipe that I love too, for something a little different. This one is really easy as you use a prebaked crust (like a Boboli) so for those of not into making yeast breads. :) This one is SO not low-fat but it's SO good for you adventurous pizza eaters!!!
Chicken & Cranberry Pizza
1 12" pre-baked pizza crust
1-1/2 cups whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 cups shredded chicken (use a rotisserie chicken)
4 ounces Brie, cut into small chunks
3 to 4 medium green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place crust on a cookie sheet or baking stone, and spread 1 cup of cranberry sauce over crust. Toss remaining sauce with chicken. Top pizza with chicken, brie, green onions, almonds and mozzarella. Bake until the crust is crisp and cheese melts, 10 to 12 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.