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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Really good, really easy pan pizza

This one is for D & E, since I know they like to make pizza at home. It's ridiculously easy. No need to knead. No stretching and pulling. No special equipment, other than a cast iron skillet (which everyone should own anyway). The recipe makes two pan pizzas. You can put the dough in the fridge for a couple of days to wait until you're ready for it, and even freeze the dough and the sauce. Both are delicious and very adaptable to both your schedule and desire for creativity. And it's delicious, promise.

Foolproof Pan Pizza
Adapted from Serious Eats
Makes 2 10-inch pies, each of which serves 4-6

2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons lukewarm water (see note)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce (recipe below)
12 ounces grated full-fat mozzarella cheese (not fancy fresh mooz, just the regular old Polly-o kind
Toppings you like
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
2 ounces grated parmesan or Romano (optional, but good)


  1. Combine flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a large bowl. Mix with hands or a wooden spoon (hands are easier) until no dry flour remains. 
  2. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let rest on the countertop for at least 8 hours and up to 24. The dough should rise dramatically, to 3-4 or more times its original size.
  3. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour and transfer to a well-floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces and form each into a ball by holding it with well-floured hands and tucking the dough underneath itself, rotating it until it forms a tight, smooth ball.
  4. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of two 10-inch cast iron skillets or round cake pans (or just one, and save one dough ball for later--it will keep 3 days in the fridge, wrapped well in plastic wrap, or for a few months in the freezer). Place 1 ball of dough in each pan and turn to coat evenly with oil. Use your palm to press the dough around the pan, flattening it slightly and spreading the oil to the edges. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. After the first hour, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 550 degrees.
  5. After two hours, the dough should mostly fill the pan to the edges. Use your fingertips to press it around until it fills in every corner, popping any large bubbles. Lift up edges to let air bubbles underneath escape. 
  6. Top each crust with 3/4 cup sauce, spreading with the back of a spoon. Top with mozzarella cheese, season with salt, add any other toppings you like, drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with basic if using.
  7. Transfer to oven and bake until the top is golden brown and bubbly and the bottle in golden and crisp when you peek. If the bottom is not as crisp as you'd like, place the pan on a burner and cook on medium heat, moving the pan around to cook evenly until crisp, 1-3 minutes. Remove the pizzas and transfer to a cutting board. Slice and serve.
Note: How to tell if the water is the right temperature? Too hot and it kills the yeast. Too cold and it rises too slowly (although that's not much of a problem with this recipe, since it has such a long rise). The perfect temp is between 95 and 110, in other words, roughly the temperature of the human body -- 98.6. The easiest way to make sure your water is that temperature is to let it flow over the inside of your wrist, the most sensitive part of your body (that's why moms in the old movies shake the milk bottle over their wrist to check if it's too hot). If it feels cool as it flows, it's probably too cold. If it feels hot, it's most likely too hot. But if it feels pretty much like nothing because it's the same temperature as you are, then, Goldilocks, it's just right. Remember that cold measuring cups and bowls will chill the water slightly, so err on the warmer side if you err at all. That's a tip I learned in Home Economics in 7th grade, which was perhaps the most useful class I ever took in 13 years of public education. Geometry? Still don't understand it. But I can sew on a button and measure flour accurately, skills I use all the time. 

New York Style Pizza Sauce
Makes enough for 2-4 12-inch pies

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I use a bit more--I like the oregano-y flavor)
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
2 6-inch sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached (I haven't done this yet but will once summer and my herb garden arrive)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon sugar

  1. Process tomatoes and their juice in food processor until pureed. Doesn't need to be completely smooth, but not too chunky.
  2. Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, onion, and sugar. Simmer very slowly (bubbles barely breaking the surface), stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about one hour. Season with salt, allow to cool, and store in covered container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze.


  1. We are so buying a big cast iron and pizza-ing!

  2. And thanks for the shoutout!

  3. Yeah! Thanks guys, you'll love these two recipes -- and the big cast iron pan. xo