New York is know for its delicious brick oven pizza and I have to say that it is some of the best in the country. Every once and a while though, I like to mix things up a bit and make pizza at home. Considering that I am not Italian, and I do not have the time nor interest in making everything from scratch, I take some well crafted short cuts for my freshly homemade pizza. Here are my tips for turning your kitchen into a pizzeria without all the effort!
The key to delicious pizza is cooking it at high temperature. Before I get started making my pie, I preheat my oven to 550 °F – I know this seems crazy but trust me its not! Most brick oven pizzerias cook their pizzas at 800°F to achieve that crisp crust and melty top.
I have never been much of a baker, so the thought of making dough from scratch does not appeal to me. My secret for great pizza at home – I let the experts do the work and buy my dough from my local pizzeria. Forget going to the national chains like Papa Johns or Pizza Hut, try your local pizza place and ask them if they sell just the dough. I buy mine from Rosella’s in the financial district of NYC for $3 and I know it is made fresh daily.
For my pizza, I buy a 28 oz can of Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes and spread it over my dough. The tip is to drizzle the sauce with a little olive oil and then season it with salt and garlic powder. This will give the sauce a great flavor that you will be able to taste in every bite. Bread sticks anyone?…Warm the leftover sauce and dip your crust in it!
To achieve pizzeria goodness in your own kitchen, use nothing but fresh mozzarella cheese. This is not the stuff that comes pre-shredded, you will find the fresh stuff with the other specialty cheese, typically in a ball wrapped in plastic wrap. I simply tear off of small pieces until they cover the dough, leaving room in-between the chunks so they have room to melt.
This is where you can get creative! You can stick old favorites like pepperoni, sausage, etc, but don’t be afraid to try something outside the box too. I have made a BBQ chicken pizza, a kale with sausage and tomatoes and my specialty breakfast pie with sunny sided up eggs and crumbled bacon. Be sure to cook your ingredients beforehand, especially mushrooms since they release water which can make your pizza soggy. As tempting as it can be to overload your pie, your pizza will come out better when you use your toppings sparingly.
Once your oven is preheated, your pizza will cook in about 8-9 mins. I bake mine in an aerated pan, which helps the the crust crisp and the pizza cook evenly. To get my pepperoni nice and crisp like I like it, I switch on the broiler for the last 30 seconds and move the pizza to the top rack. Let the pie cool for a minute before slicing, it will help the toppings settle a bit.
Have any tips for a pizza masterpiece? Let me know so I can share it with my readers!