Over the last year, SCL and I have become what you might call pizza purists. It's not that we don't enjoy on the occasion a slice of Domino's, Pap John's, or other commercially-prepared pies. It's just that we think we do it a LOT better, healthier, cheaper, and delicious-er. You should try it, too!
The elements of the perfect pizza
1) The crust. This took a lot of hard work, attempting many different recipes, until we discovered the right one for our tastes. The recipe is from allrecipes.com and is called Jay's Signature Pizza Crust. Seriously, trust me on this; it is the perfect balance of crispy and chewy. Each recipes makes two thin or one ridiculously thick crust. We usually double the recipe, split up the dough, and freeze each ball separately. One tip: the pizza dough will be a bit sticky if you follow the recipe exactly, so feel free to add up more flour until you get the right consistency.
2) The sauce. (I'll stick to tomato sauce for now.) I do not purchase jarred pizza sauce because it is so easy and cheaper to make your own at home. We buy a big can of tomato puree and I mix in garlic powder, oregano, basil, and black pepper. You could add a bit of tomato paste if you want it thicker. Also, I do not recommend using canned tomato sauce as its too watery. Trust me, tomato puree is the way to go.
3) The cheese. Do not buy shredded cheese! This is a big no-no. Shredded cheese has some kind of added preservative that makes it rubbery and gross when it melts. Buy some low-moisture mozzarella and grate it yourself. We buy ours at Costco because we can get a 5 lb. block for what it would cost for 1-2 lbs at the grocery store. It freezes just fine if you are careful to wrap it in plastic wrap, and some even suggest shredding the cheese when it's a little frozen because it's easier to grate. Tip: use the smaller grate as you'll need less cheese if it's more finely grated.
4) The toppings. This is the time to play! Some of our favorites are:
Mashed Potato and Bacon (Use the potato as a sauce. Believe me, it's delicious)
Sausage, Pepper, and Onion
BBQ Chicken and Red Onion
Pepperoni, Feta, and Sundried Tomato (If the tomatoes aren't in a jar, add them towards the end of cooking or they'll get charred!)
5) The baking. We figured out that it's best to cook the crust for a few minutes before adding the sauce, cheese, and other toppings. If you put it all in together, the crust might be underdone. Underdone crust = yuck. Ours cook at around 425, but you may need to adjust for your oven. If you like your cheese a bit browner, you can broil it for a few minutes (but be careful or your toppings might burn.)
6) The eating. Self-explanatory. We usually can polish off a whole one in one meal because the crust is so thin. It's perfect for two people with healthy appetites.
Happy Pizza Making!