What's Cooking Wednesday: Simple, Homemade Pizza

Making homemade pizza is delicious and so easy; I typically always have the ingredients on hand because of those two reasons. If I'm not prepared to make dinner, I'll fall back on pizza. I made a one Sunday evening and I received an unexpected compliment from Christopher. He told me it was the best pizza he'd ever had. I've made this pizza before - many times, actually - so I was a bit perplexed by the comment, but I accepted it nonetheless. I did tweak a couple things with the pizza and I think those actually made the difference.

We are big fans of thin crust and simple ingredients. So my ingredient list is short, but packs some yummy, perfectly harmonized flavors. Putting together a pizza is an incredibly easy task, but I'll go through the steps and share a few thoughts.

thin pizza crust
pizza sauce
freshly shredded mozzarella
banana peppers
fresh basil
cooking stone

01. Roll out your dough to an even thickness. The past couple times I've made pizza, I've cut the rectangle shape into a circle - just so it would fit nicely onto the stone. If you don't want to through any of the dough away, just lay it out on a cookie sheet instead.

02. Cook the dough to almost completely done. The directions for the dough I used called for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.

03. When I pulled the dough out, instead of immediately putting the sauce, cheese, and toppings on I let it sit for a couple minutes. I can't be sure, but I feel like this helps in keeping a crispy crust throughout the pizza. I've made pizza before where the center is soft and saturated with the sauce - and I'm just not a fan.

04. Then begin to dress up and top your pie! Something I've learned - a thin layer of sauce is enough! When I first began to make pizzas, I would load it up with sauce. I tried to get an even layer across the whole thing and I'd use over half the jar. Don't. I can now get three uses out of those small jars.

I also highly recommend grating your own cheese. I haven't bought grated cheese in a couple years. I always buy blocks of cheese and grate or slice it myself. I just feel like it's more fresh and melts so much better!

So put on a thin layer of sauce, cover the sauce with freshly grated mozzarella, and then top with a couple of your favorite toppings. We keep it simple with pepperoni and fresh basil. I also add banana peppers to my side - I like the strong flavor with a slight bite.

05. Pop the pizza back into the oven to finish cooking the dough and melt the cheese.

06. When the pizza comes out, finish it off with some extra basil, slice it up, and dive in with your favorite red wine.

I'm curious to hear how many of you make your own pizza and what you like to put on it? Let me know! I'm always open to trying new things in the kitchen.

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