I’ve got some news for you folks. You may not want to hear it, but it’s inevitable. Yes, it’s true; summer is coming to an end. Sigh. Fall is right around the corner, and with it will come even shorter days, cooler nights, and a whole lot of wet stuff falling from the sky. But it’s not all bad news, because fall is synonymous with many awesome things, including delicious comfort food. So rather than mourn the end of another summer season, let’s embrace the fact that the season of warm, gluttonous, nap-inducing food is upon us. Food like homemade, hot, cheesy, toasty, oven baked pizza.
Yes, I said homemade. While you may think it’s easier to pick up the phone and order from your favourite pizzeria, believe me when I say it’s just as easy, and a whole lot more fun, to make your pie from the comfort of your own kitchen. All you need are a few key essentials and you’re good to go.
Essential #1 – An oven
While any oven will do, I prefer to bake my homemade pizza to golden brown perfection in a combo toaster/pizza oven, or countertop convection oven. I find that the distribution of heat is much more even so your pizza pie is perfect every time. Of course, if you want to take it up a notch, you can invest in a dedicated pizza-making appliance, but given the fact that I am an urban apartment dweller, I’m a big fan of appliances that serve multiple purposes. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there … if you’ve got an oven, you’re good to go.
Essential #2 – Recipes
The great thing about pizza is that there is really nor right or wrong. You like anchovies and pineapple? Go for it! Brie and trout? Sure, why not. Let your creativity run loose! Or, if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, try one of these recipes:
Note – for each of the recipes below you can either make your own dough and sauce from scratch, or purchase pre-made versions from your local supermarket.
- ¼ pound fresh mozzarella cheese
- 10 leaves fresh basil
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating
Spread pizza sauce on dough, making sure to leave a 1” border around the edge. Top with mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a light grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
Pepperoni Mushroom Pizza
- 1 can (8 ounces) pizza sauce
- 1 package (3 ½ ounces) sliced pepperoni
- ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- ½ cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Spread pizza sauce on dough, making sure to leave a 1” border around the edge. Top with pepperoni, mushrooms, bell pepper and mozzarella cheese. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
Chicken & Spinach Alfredo Pizza
- 1 cup prepared alfredo sauce
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, grilled and diced
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
- ½ medium sweet onion
- 1/3 cup black olives, drained
- 3 tbsp. feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Spread alfredo sauce on dough, making sure to leave a 1” border around the edge. Top with chicken, spinach, onion, feta, olives, mozzarella, and parmesan. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
Essential #3 – Accessories
To make your pizza-making experience as easy as possible, there are a few key accessories you’ll need. First, a non-stick pizza crisper pan is great for traditional ovens, as well as for toaster/pizza ovens, and works to cook your crust consistently for the perfect golden brown.
Second, while oven mitts will work to get your pizza pie from oven to cutting board, using a pizza lifter is much easier and eliminates breakage … plus it means you won’t ruin your oven mitts with extraneous melted cheese!
Third, once your masterpiece is cooked to gooey perfection, you’ll need to cut it up into slices, so a pizza slicer is an absolute necessity.
Essential #4 – Groceries
Now that you’ve got the basics – an oven, a recipe, and some pizza cooking tools, it’s time to go shopping and create your ideal pizza pie and enjoy!
*Recipes courtesy of Delish.com, Food.com, & Yummly.com.