Credit: Morgan HarveyFriday night was always homemade pizza and movie night at our house. My mom is the best cook in the world and everybody knew her for her pizza. About a year ago I got married and decided I wanted to be known for my very own recipe as well and wanted it to taste like a combination of my mom's famous recipe and my favorite restaurant in town. Well, after lots of pizza nights, which my husband loved, I finally found it. The perfect recipe. It may look simple, but the signature garlic and olive oil base makes this taste very gourmet and has made me known for my very own signature pizza in my new hometown.
1 Envelope Active Yeast
1 Teaspoon Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Water
3 1/2 - 4 Cups Bread Flour
4-6 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Italian Sausage (optional)
1. Mix the packet of active dry yeast with 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. The water should be about 110 degrees which is just slightly warm to the touch. After about 10 minutes you should see it start to foam a little on the top. This means your yeast is active. Alternatively, you can use instant yeast which you can add directly to all of the ingredients with no need to wait and see if it foams.
2. In a mixer put 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 1/2 cups bread flour, and the salt. Mix it. Next add the yeast, sugar and water mixture. Mix just for a couple minutes so everything is combined. If the dough is too sticky you can add a little more flour.
3. Take the dough out and knead it with your hands on a floured surface just enough to get it in a nice shaped ball.
4. Put a little more olive oil in the bowl and spread it around with your hands. Then put your dough in the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap for about 3 hours, or until it is doubled in size.
Here is the key. You can use the pizza dough as is and it will make great pizza. But to get the perfect pizza, the key I have found is you have to refrigerate the dough after it has risen for a couple hours or overnight. This really gives the dough the best texture and taste.
Once you're ready to cook your pizza, pull the dough out about 30 minutes to an hour ahead so it can warm up and be easier to work with. Cut the dough in half. This recipe makes two large pizzas. First, put olive oil and then cornmeal down on a pizza stone or just a cookie sheet. Next, spread out your pizza dough to the thickness you like. I prefer mine more on the thin side. Then spread olive oil and 4-6 cloves freshly crushed garlic on the dough (depending how much garlic you like.) Then spread 1 1/4 cups of mozzarella cheese and then top with pepperoni. Add whatever other toppings you like. I like arugula and Italian sausage but you can add mushrooms, olives, or whatever you like. Sprinkle with just a little more mozzarella cheese and some parmesan cheese. Finally, bake for about 10-15 minutes, just until the cheese is starting to turn golden brown. And there you have it, the best pepperoni pizza you will ever eat. Bon Appetite!