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Homemade Pizza with Variations

Homemade Pizza with VariationsThis is how to turn your kitchen into a pizzeria for a day! Making your own pizza from top to bottom is easier than you might think, and can be fun, too! Show off your culinary prowess by creating your own "designer" pizza using your choice of the suggested sauces and toppings—or simply make one of the easier, all-time favorites like a plain cheese, pepperoni or sausage pizza.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 recipe Pizza Dough 4-Ways (makes two thin-crust 12-inch pizzas, or 1 large thick-crust pizza)

For Each Pizza You Will Need:
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 to 1 1/2 cups sauce of your choice
Approximately 4 cups shredded cheese of your choice
Approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated hard cheese of your choice (optional)
Toppings of your choice (any combination and amount)

Pizza Sauces: Basic Tomato Pizza Sauce , Marinara Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Alfredo Sauce, Pesto Sauce, Red or Green Thai Curry Sauce, Masala Sauce, Ranch Dressing, Blue Cheese Dressing, Barbecue Sauce, Chili with or without Beans, Sloppy Joe Sauce, Thick Taco Sauce, "Thick and Saucy" Salsa, Tomatillo Sauce, etc.

Shredded Cheeses: Mozzarella, Provolone, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar, Fontina, Swiss, Gouda, Smoked Cheese (Cheddar, Gouda, etc.), Parmesan, Asiago, Pecorino, Romano

Suggested Grated Hard Cheeses:
Parmesan, Asiago, Pecorino, Romano

Suggested Soft Cheeses (Sliced, Crumbled or Spooned in Dollops): Fresh Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, Feta, Gorgonzola, Blue Cheese, Boursin, Ricotta, Cottage Cheese

Suggested Meat, Poultry and Seafood Toppings (Use Cooked Meats only! Chopped, Sliced or Shredded): Pepperoni, Salami, Italian Sausage, Smoked Sausage, Chorizo, Smoked Meats or Poultry, Prosciutto, Ham, Bacon, Canadian Bacon, Ground Beef, Pork or Turkey, Roasted or Grilled Beef, Chicken, Pork or Turkey, Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp, Crab, Lobster

Vegetables and Fruit Toppings (Fresh or Cooked, Chopped, Sliced or Shredded): Mushrooms, Onion (Red, White,Yellow, Pearl or Green/Spring), Caramelized Onion, Roasted Garlic, Chives, Red, Yellow or Green Bell Pepper, Roasted Red Pepper, Steamed, Marinated or Roasted Asparagus, Broccoli or Cauliflower Florets, Caramelized Carrots, Roasted Potato, Arugula, Iceberg Lettuce (added after baking as for a Taco Pizza) Fresh, Roasted or Pickled Chile Peppers (Jalapeño, Chipotle, Anaheim, etc.), Dried Red Pepper Flakes, Capers, Pineapple, Mango, Grapes, Figs, Dates, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Roma Tomatoes, Spinach, Dried Cherries or Cranberries, Cooked Beans (Black, Garbanzo, Pinto, Kidney, etc.), Refried Beans, Fresh Herbs (Basil, Oregano, Flat-Leaf Parsley, Sage, Mint, etc.), Pine Nuts, Seeds (Sesame, Sunflower, etc.), Nuts, etc.

Cooking Directions:

  1. Prepare pizza dough (extra dough can be frozen for use later, or make bread sticks).
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  3. Lightly grease pizza pan(s) with olive oil. For a thin, 12-inch crust, use half the dough for each pizza. Or, if you prefer a thick crust, make two smaller pizzas or make 1 large pizza. Place the pizza dough on the prepared pan(s), then press, push and spread the dough into a circle with your impeccably clean and olive oil-coated fingertips. (Now, if you are skilled enough to stretch and toss the dough, then have at it, my friend!)
  4. Once the pizza crust is formed, brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top.
  5. Spread the desired sauce over top of crust to about 1/2-inch from the edge.
  6. Combine the shredded and grated cheeses (if using) and sprinkle about three quarters evenly over the sauce.
  7. Next, top the cheese layer with desired toppings, distributing evenly.
  8. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the toppings.
  9. Place in the hot, preheated oven and bake until the crust is browned and cheese is melted, anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes or more, depending on the size of the pizza and amount of toppings, so watch closely. For a crispier crust on the bottom of pizza, carefully remove it from the pan once the crust is "set" (about halfway through baking time) and finish baking directly on the oven rack (if you have a pizza stone, by all means, use it).
  10. Allow pizza to set for a few minutes before slicing. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Note: The pizza in the photograph was made with a basic tomato pizza sauce, cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Recipe and photograph by Hope Pryor; Copyright © 1999; property of CooksRecipes.com. See Terms of Use.