There’s something about having your parents in town — especially your in-laws — that steps up the need to prepare impressive meals. Maybe it’s the desire to prove that you know what you’re doing in the kitchen. This recipe is destined to wow any dinner guest that sits at your table, and if that just so happens to be your mother-in-law, all the better.
How To Make Awesome Pizza at Home
We know you might not immediately think pizza when you think impressive meals, but if you make everything from scratch, we’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t wowed by that. If you really want to step it up a notch, play around with inventive topping combinations and don’t forget a great bottle of wine. Impressive and casual — that’s definitely a thing.
MAKES2 (10-inch) pizzasSERVES4
- 1 poundpizza dough, at room temperature for at least 1 hour
- 1/2 to 1 cupsauce: tomato sauce, white sauce, or other spread
- 2 to 3 cupsother toppings: sautéed onions, sautéed mushrooms, pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, diced peppers, leftover veggies, or any other favorite toppings
- 1 to 2 cupsshredded or sliced cheese (4 to 8 ounces) such as mozzarella, Monterey Jack, provolone, fontina, or any other favorite
- Cornmeal or all-purpose flour (optional)
- Heat the oven to 550°F or higher. Arrange a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven (if you have a baking stone, place it on the rack) and heat the oven to 550°F or higher. Don’t be afraid to really crank the heat up to its highest setting, as the high heat will help make a crunchier and more flavorful crust. Let the oven heat for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half. One pound of dough makes 2 (10-inch) pizzas. Divide the dough in half and cover one half with an upside-down bowl or a clean kitchen towel while you prepare the first pizza.
- Roll out the dough.
Method #1: Pizza Baked on Parchment: Tear off a large piece of parchment paper roughly 12 inches long. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk with your hands and place it on the parchment. Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is 1/4-inch thick or less. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for 5 minutes and then continue rolling.Method #2: Pizza with Cornmeal or Flour and a Baking Stone: Sprinkle a handful of cornmeal or flour on a pizza peel or on an upside-down rimmed baking sheet. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk with your hands and place it on the peel. Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is 1/4-inch thick or less. Shake the peel or baking sheet frequently as you shape to make sure the dough isn’t sticking. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for 5 minutes and then continue rolling.Method #3: Pizza Baked on a Baking Sheet: Brush a thin film of olive oil on a baking sheet. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, form it into a large disk with your hands and place it on the baking sheet. Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is 1/4-inch thick or less. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for 5 minutes and then continue rolling.
- Top the pizza. Spoon half of the sauce onto the center of the pizza and use the back of the spoon to spread it out to the edges. Pile on half of the toppings and half of the cheese.
- Bake the pizza. Using a pizza peel or the back side of a baking sheet, slide your pizza (with the parchment or with the cornmeal) onto the baking stone. If you don’t have a baking stone, bake the pizza right on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the pizza. If using parchment, slide it out from under the pizza and discard. Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes more.
- Slice and serve. Transfer the pizza to a cooling rack and let cool slightly, just until you’re able to handle it. Transfer to a cutting board, slice into pieces, and serve. Repeat making a second pizza with the remaining dough, cheese, and toppings.