Pizza is always a hit in my house. It’s definitely one of those go-to meals when I can’t figure out what else to make. Plus the kids like to “decorate” their own pizzas, which I like since then they eat more!
I used to use the Pillsbury pizza crust dough from the refrigerated section but found that it didn’t get crispy enough for my liking, and it had a bit of a processed taste.
So one day I was going through my way-too-big collection of recipe books and found this little gem: “The Little Guides: Pizzas” from Fog City Press. The Neapolitan pizza dough recipe was the first one I tried out of the book, and it is definitely my favorite. It takes about an hour and a half for the dough to be ready for baking so it does take a bit of planning, but the hands-on time is only about 15 minutes.
Neapolitan Pizza Dough – This recipe makes two 12-inch-ish pizzas.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for kneading
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Put the yeast and warm water in a bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes, until creamy.
After 10 minutes, stir in the cold water and olive oil, and then whisk in the salt and flour, 1/2 cup at a time. It’s difficult to whisk in the last cup of flour so just stir it in a bit and then you can knead it all together.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into two pieces and knead very briefly. Roll dough into balls and let rest for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, with a pizza stone inside.
When the dough is ready, flour a pizza peel and gently stretch the dough and place on peel. Top with whatever toppings you like.
For the sauce: I like to use a can of diced tomatoes that has the Italians herbs (basil, oregano and garlic) already in it. I strain the tomatoes to get rid of a bit of the watery juice. Then I put them in a mini-food processor, season with salt and pepper, and whirl for a few seconds. Easy peasy. This is my version of Punch Pizza‘s sauce which always tastes so fresh and simple.
For the toppings: We tend to make pepperoni or sausage pizzas. One of our favorites is sausage, usually turkey Italian, with carmelized onions.
No real explanation for pepperoni – just out of the package.
For the sausage: Brown in a pan with a little salt and pepper. For the carmelized onions: Cut thin, half circles of an onion (I use sweet yellow). Heat some olive oil in a pan on medium/high heat and saute the onions for 15 minutes or so until they are brown and very soft. If they start to burn, just turn down the heat.
Cheese: We like to use fresh mozzarella. Just slice it up and put little pieces all over the pizza.
Bake each pizza separately for 10-12 minutes until the crust and cheese are browned up.