Graham is a former chef and food stylist with a passion for all things food-related. She has also never been known to decline dessert.
Arugula, Prosciutto, Sliced Pear and Shaved Parmesan
I've never really been a fan of pizza, per se. Perhaps it's because most pizza joints around my area offer very few choices. Don't misunderstand me, I've had some good slices, but there are so many more delicious, albeit unconventional, pizzas I'd prefer to the ubiquitous pepperoni.
Making the dough is easy, but if your pressed for time or have no interest in making your own pizza dough, don't fret. Your local market, most likely, sells refrigerator dough near the deli or in the frozen section. We've also tried pre-baked crusts that were quite good. Also, check with your favorite restaurant and ask if they'll sell their dough. Keep it wrapped in your freezer until you're ready to use it.
If you have dough handy, making pizza at home is a very quick and simple meal.
Pizza crust is a blank canvas. Let your imagination wander.............
This recipe will make four 8- to 10-inch pizzas
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus additional for rolling
2 teaspoons fresh yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
Depending on your toppings, consider adding herbs or spices to your dough mixture. For example, adding a few teaspoons of fresh rosemary will be a nice addition for a mushroom pizza with fontina cheese (#17). Chili flakes would work well with a crushed tomato pizza with meatballs (#21).
• Place the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour; yeast, salt, and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While the mixer is running, gradually add the oil and water. Knead on low speed until the dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes.
• Divide the dough into four balls of equal size and place onto a lined cookie sheet. [Parchment paper or a Silpat work well] Cover with a damp towel and let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in size, about 2 hours.
• To roll out the dough: Place 1 ball on a generously floured work surface and press down in the center with the tips of your fingers, spreading the dough with your hand. You will notice that the dough is rather elastic and will fight you a bit. It will relax and when it does use a floured rolling pin and roll out until it is very thin, like flatbread. If you get a hole; simply pinch the edges back together. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Do you own a bread machine? Try this method for making homemade pizza dough.
How To Shape Your Pizza-Helpful Video
- How to Shape Pizza - Fine Cooking Recipes, Techniques and Tips
Want to shape pizza dough like a pro? Peter Reinhart, author of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza, demonstrates how to stretch the dough over the backs of your knuckles to form the perfect thin crust.
Not all pizza requires a tomato sauce. One of my favorite pizzas has a sticky, sweet Hoisin sauce (#8). There are a variety of sauces that you could use. Try barbecue sauce or Alfredo sauce. Of course, you do not need any sauce at all. Drizzle your pizza with a little extra virgin olive oil and that could be the perfect finish.
If pizza just isn't pizza without a tomato sauce, making your own is as simple as preparing the crust and this recipe can be made in a flash.
Keep these pantry basics handy for making a quick and delicious sauce:
1 28-oz can whole canned tomatoes-strained
1 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients into a blender. If you like a smooth tomato sauce, pulse until you have reached the desired consistency. If your sauce is a little thick, add a tablespoon of water and blend.
This recipe will certainly make enough for a few pizzas. Place remaining sauce in a container or plastic bag, label and freeze. This will last in your freezer for a month.
1. Wild mushroom, tomatoes, thyme, pecorino, parmesan, and gruyere
2. Andoullie sausage, onions, celery, green peppers and fontina
3. Grilled fennel, red bell peppers, blue cheese and fresh tarragon
4. Duck sausage, braised red cabbage and fontina
5. Classic tomato sauce, chicken apple sausage, mozzarella and fresh oregano
6. Goat cheese, fresh tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil
7. Nicoise olives, capers, provolone, fresh tomato and white anchovies
8. Grilled chicken, bean sprouts, julienne carrots and peppers, scallions and hoisin sauce (this is one of my favorites!)
9. Lamb sausage, spinach, tomatoes, red onion, fresh oregano, feta
10. Roasted potatoes, balsamic glazed onions, mozzarella and fresh basil
11. Eggplant, roasted red peppers, grilled onions, mozzarella, fresh basil
12. Sweet white onions, garlic, anchovies, black olives (this is called Pissaladiere and is also a favorite)
13. Smoked chicken, carmelied onion, barbecue sauce, fontina (one of my husband's favorite)
14. Charred tomatoes, grilled squash, crushed cumin, queso fresco
15. Crushed peeled tomatoes, fresh herbs, mozzarella and toasted pine nuts
16. Olive tapenade, fresh baby spinach, tomatoes, French feta
17. Porcini, portobello, crimini, shiitake mushrooms, fontina, scallions
18. Roasted chicken, black beans, corn, chipotle tomato sauce, fresh salsa, cilantro, queso fresco
19. Roasted tomato sauce, mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, fresh oregano
20. Roasted eggplant, charred tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto
21. Crushed peeled tomatoes, mini meatballs, mozzarella, fresh basil
22. Shaved ham, carmelized onions, gouda, frisee
23. Prosciutto, sliced pear, arugula, parmesean
24. Pesto, chopped bacon, poached eggs, arugula, parmesean
25. Wild mushrooms, brie, arugula, truffle oil
I recently made this pizza for a quick Friday night dinner. Rather than a typical pesto, I made pesto using leftover steamed broccoli.
To the blender, I added broccoli, a clove of garlic, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
The other ingredients for this pizza included, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto and hard goat cheese crumble atop the pizza when it was removed from the over.
Broccoli 'Pesto' Pizza
For most of the suggestions that I have made, the ingredients are readily available at most markets. Depending upon where you live, you may need to special order an item.
All of my suggestions make tasty calzones, too. Simply follow the same recipe for pizza dough and divide into 6 portions. Place the ingredients on half of the rolled dough then fold other half over. Pinch to seal and brush with olive oil.
The Perfect Calzone
- How to Make Calzones - Fine Cooking Recipes, Techniques and Tips
A calzone is nothing more than a pizza folded in half and baked as a turnover. Watch cookbook author and pizza expert Peter Reinhart demonstrate how to shape and crimp the dough for a perfect calzone.
Craving something a little sweet? Again, using the same pizza dough recipe, sprinkled rolled dough with a little brown sugar and bake. Remove the 'pizza' and allow to cool. When the crust has cooled to room temperature, spread with a sweetened ricotta cheese or marsacpone cheese. Add sliced peaches, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Not sweet enough? Drizzled with a bit of dark chocolate.
Please Leave Your Comments Here. Thank You.
Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on February 01, 2020:
These are some great ideas. Thanks for sharing!
Graham Gifford (author) from New Hamphire on March 30, 2014:
Thelma, thank you for stopping by! I just added a new one, broccoli pesto - very delicious. YOU enjoy your Sunday, as well!
Thelma Alberts from Germany on March 29, 2014:
Thanks for the suggestions. I would love to try the roasted eggplant and charred tomatoes next time I bake pizza. Have a nice Sunday!
Graham Gifford (author) from New Hamphire on January 26, 2012:
My pleasure! Enjoy!
Foram from india on January 25, 2012:
I will be giving this recipe a try soon. Thanks for sharing!
Graham Gifford (author) from New Hamphire on January 25, 2012:
Thank you, Carol, for reading my post. I'm happy that you enjoyed it!
carol on January 25, 2012:
I so enjoyed this article
Graham Gifford (author) from New Hamphire on January 25, 2012:
Thanks for reading, Jill!
Jill on January 25, 2012:
totally drooling...15 & 16 are at the top of my list!