Skip the Pizza Takeout & Make your Own at Home

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You might ask, why bother making your own pizza at home when we live in the center of the tri-state pizza trifecta? We’re surrounded by some of the best pizza places in the country, serving up perfect pies around the clock. But if you want something a little more bespoke, a little more home-made, a little different than the standard order pie, then making your pizza at home fits the bill. While more involved than dialing up your corner pizza place, making your own pizza is fun, pretty simple, and gives you major bragging rights. It’s a foolproof way to impress your guests at a dinner party, and fun to make for a big group. Making pizza at home also provides a fantastic way to empty your fridge. Get creative with a combination of vegetables, cheese, even random leftovers (roasted brussels sprouts? sesame chicken? tikka masala?).  Just follow the tips, suggestions, and recipe ideas below to ensure you’re not calling in an emergency pizza delivery.

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First, decide how you want to approach the dough situation. You have several options:

  1. Go the store-bought route. This is ideal if you’re short on time and need your pizza tonight. You can usually find balls of dough in plastic wrap near the shredded cheese and ricotta.
  2. Buy dough from your favorite pizza place. Most will sell you some dough no problem. Why not go right to the source?
  3. Make your own dough. This involves an overnight rise for the best and most flavorful dough, but hardly more effort than making up a cake batter. For a fantastic NY style pizza crust, follow this recipe on Feeling Foodish.

Next, pick your sauce and topping combination. You can always stick with the classics, but the sky’s the limit for getting creative. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Autumn Harvest Pizza- with roasted sweet potatoes, apples, onions, sage, garlic, and parmesan (recipe below).
  2. Sweet Potato Kale Pizza– with roasted red onions and mozzarella.
  3. Fig, Rosemary & Parmesan Pizza – if figs are out of season, you can replace them with pears or other stone fruits.
  4. Roasted Fennel & Taleggio Pizza – with parmesan and chopped toasted hazelnuts.
  5. Apple Cheddar Pizza – with roasted leeks and garlic.
  6. Green Eggs & Ham Pizza – with crumbled bacon, a cracked egg baked on top, and a handful of peppery arugula added before serving.

Finally, decide how to cook your masterpiece. You have a few options, some better than others:

  1. If all else fails, and you’ve got no other options, you can bake your pizza in the oven on a plain old baking sheet. You won’t get that desirable pizza place crust, but it’ll still be delicious and still impress. Just preheat your oven on full blast with your sheet pan in there too, getting everything as hot as possible to encourage a crispy, tender crust.
  2. You can shell out for a pizza stone. These usually run between 10 and 50 bucks. Either stone or ceramic, they hold heat better than metal, and absorb moisture to promote a crispy crust.
  3. For the best results, and the most bang for your buck, invest in this baking steel from Baking Steel. While slightly more pricy than a pizza stone, its quality and efficiency, and broad application in your kitchen will make it worth every penny. Since steel conducts and holds heat better than a brick oven’s stone, you can cook your pizza at a lower temperature, resulting in that holy grail crust that’s both crispy and tender. And since most home ovens can’t get above 500 degrees, the pizza steel is your best bet for creating that wood-fire pizza effect. These steels come pre-seasoned with organic oil, and require little care or maintenance after that. They’re practically indestructible, and you can use them on your outdoor grill for everything from pizza to salmon fillets to romaine lettuce. I thought my pizzas turned out pretty well before using the steel, but now that I’ve tried it there’s no going back. I’ve just never recreated that wood-fire oven crust at home, despite my best efforts. With just one simple tweak, I’ve taken my pizzas from mediocre to restaurant quality (if I do say so myself). Sweetening the deal, for every steel purchased, Baking Steel donates a portion of the profits from each baking steel to The Greater Boston Food Bank. That amounted to over 54,00 meals donated last year alone! This definitely a company you can feel good about supporting.

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For the Autumn Harvest Pizza recipe, visit Devil Gourmet.

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