Classic Pepperoni Pizza
Any time I ask my husband what he’d like for dinner, he always replies “pizza.” I can’t think of a single time that he has turned down the opportunity to order a giant cheese and pepperoni topped pizza. It’s kind of his thing. Pizza & brownies. So you bet I’ve been trying to master a homemade version… one that tastes just as good but doesn’t break the bank every week. I mean, how in the world can a pizza cost $18?! That’s just mind-blowing craziness right there.
My homemade pizza certainly isn’t as cookie-cutter looking as the ones you get from the chains, it’s more rustic. But you know what, I’m ok with rustic. It’s kind of my thing. To start I turned to one of my favorite pizza dough recipes (I have two by the way, the other can be found here). It’s a simple 2 hour recipe but can be done in just under 1 with the “quick-rise” method noted below. I like to use this recipe when I forget to plan ahead…. or decide that we’re having pizza for dinner instead of something much healthier :)
When your dough has risen, and you’ve got it all divided (the recipe makes enough for three 13″ pizzas or two 15″ pizzas), roll one ball out into a 13″ circle. Place the round onto a lightly greased or floured pizza pan or peel (dust a pre-heated stone if using a peel). Cover the dough with a light layer of olive oil, then spread the sauce over top. The sauce is a quick toss everything together kind of recipe and can be made before the dough or directly after. We tend to go light on the sauce so our layer is usually pretty thin. Leave about 3/4″ to 1″ of dough around the edges for your crust. It will puff nicely as it bakes. Then top with the grated parmesan and mozzarella. Place your pepperoni slices on top (Boar’s Head is our favorite by the way) and then put the pizza in the oven to bake.
You’ll want to bake this pizza for about 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees. If it wasn’t so darn hot still I’d say go even higher, but 450 degrees will do. The high heat will help the pizza dough rise quickly and form a nice crispy crust. Don’t be afraid of turning your oven up a little more if it will go higher! Once the crust and cheese gets nice and golden brown, remove it and sprinkle on some crushed red pepper. Wait about 10 minutes and then garnish with fresh basil or oregano. As you can tell I didn’t- I was rushing to take pictures of it before we ate and my basil started to wilt. Oops.
Enjoy 1, 2 or 3 slices of it while it’s still nice and hot! This classic pepperoni pizza will become a staple in your dinner rotation, I promise! I can’t wait to share more Italian-inspired recipes you you guys, I’ve got a lot planned and they’re just as good- if not better! Stay tuned and happy baking!
- Pizza crust: (for three 13" pizzas)
- ½ c. warm water
- 1¼ c. room temperature water
- 2½ tsp. active yeast
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 c. all-purpose flour
- Sauce: (for three 13" pizzas)
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. (1/2 tsp. dried) fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tsp. (1/2 tsp. dried) fresh basil, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Toppings: (for one 13" pizza)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
- ¼ c. finely grated parmesan cheese
- 30 slices pepperoni
- 2 tbsp fresh basil or oregano leaves
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, add warm water and yeast. Sprinkle sugar over top and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture begins to puff. Add the oil and the room temperature water. Whisk gently to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, combine salt, flour, and water mixture. When dough begins to form a ball, remove paddle attachment and replace with dough hook. With mixing speed on low, knead dough for 2-3 minutes or until a ball begins to form and the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Remove dough from bowl and place in a large well-greased bowl (I prefer using olive oil, but you can also use Pam). Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours. You can also do a "quick-rise" method and stick the bowl in an oven that has been heated to 200 degrees and then TURNED OFF (that way it's nice and warm in there, but please make sure your oven is actually off before sticking the dough inside). Let it rise for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
- To deflate dough, punch with fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two or three balls (depending on how big and how many pizzas you want to make… I make 2). Form into pizza shells to fit the size of your pan (or refrigerate the other dough for up to 48 hours. Place on a lightly greased pan (or one that has been dusted with flour or cornmeal).
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush the olive oil over the entire top of the pizza dough. Spread an even layer of pizza sauce over the pizza, leaving about ¾"-1" of dough around edges for the crust. Top with the grated parmesan cheese, then the mozzarella. Place the pepperoni slices on then bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the red pepper flakes, allow to cool for 10 minutes before topping with basil or oregano (to prevent discoloration and wilting). Slice and serve immediately.
Recipe source: crust adapted from America's Test Kitchen, The New Best Recipe