How to make pizzeria worthy pizza at home

I live with a one pizza per week quota. During lockdown in the spring, this meant rolling up my sleeves and getting out the flour. When we were in partial lockdown this fall and our only option was takeout or delivery after 6 pm, it meant asking the local pizzeria to undercook our pizza and then racing it home to finish cooking for five minutes in a 375°F oven (works wonders). This past weekend we were able to eat outside at our favorite pizzeria in the sunlight. That’s living the dream.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

My homemade pizza is also pretty darn good, not baked in a wood oven-good, but we didn’t suffer delicious pizza withdrawal in lockdown either. We missed the weekly pizzeria outing, but my boyfriend claimed my pizza was on par.

Making pizza at home is easy. The greatest challenge is planning ahead as the dough needs a few days to rest in your fridge.

Besides time, the basic supplies to make delicious pizza at home are simple: an oven, a baking sheet, a large mixing bowl, and a wooden spoon.

Pizza stones and pizza ovens are nice perks but you can still make a delicious pizza without them.

I swear by this recipe that I adapted from Gabriele Bonci’s book, “Pizza: Seasonal Recipes from Rome’s Legendary Pizzarium“. I always let it rise in my fridge for at least two days but never more than three. You can also easily make enough dough for 5 pizzas in one go and then freeze the extras to shorten the time to pizza in the future.

Toppings are also important. I like to keep it simple and not use more than two or three toppings per pizza. Although I will sometimes pre-cook an ingredient like broccoli, potatoes, and leeks as with the suggestions below.

I included some simple pizza topping ideas on the bottom of the page with the recipe, but here are a few more:

  • Broccoli and salami (the champion pictured above from our favorite pizzeria after a reheating at home. The sliced meat pictured is capocollo, a dry-cured Italian salami made from pork shoulder or neck) – Chop and cook the broccoli in a frying pan over medium heat with olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic, and a pinch of salt and some black pepper until tender (you could also add a 1/2 cup of white wine) and then mash with a fork or blend to make smoother. Cook the pizza with the broccoli and the sliced meat on top. Another option is to cook the pizza with a thin coating of olive oil on top and add both the broccoli and the salami after it comes out of the oven.
  • Broccoli, mozzarella, and anchovies – Repeat the same broccoli preparation above. Cook the pizza with the broccoli until almost done and then add the mozzarella and oil-packed anchovies for the last minute or two. Make sure to drain the mozzarella before adding it if it is watery.
  • Potatoes and prosciutto – Peel, chop, and boil potatoes and then blend with butter and a little salt and mash together with a fork. Cook the pizza with the potatoes and prosciutto on top or with the potatoes alone and then add the prosciutto after it comes out of the oven.
  • Leeks and Gruyère cheese – Thinly slice the leeks and slowly cook in a couple of tablespoons of butter until they turn golden and begin to fall apart. Season with salt or colatura di alici (Italian anchovy sauce). Add some water to cook longer without browning. Cook pizza with leeks on top until almost done and then add some grated Gruyère and return to the oven for a minute or two to melt the cheese. A little bit of nutmeg is also tasty on top.

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