I love pizza. I love making pizza. I have been making pizza for several years. The ingredients have morphed over time. The dough has been made by hand, by food processor, and now by my KitchenAid. The crust has evolved to something resembling Neapolitan, with the difference of using a flour with more substance than the Italian 00 grind. I’m using a two-part rise, an hour and a half in a bowl, then an additional hour as scaled lumps of dough.
The sauce has devolved into one that is simply tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. The mozzarella is one I make myself using the beautiful raw milk from Dungeness Valley Creamery. In fact, some of the best pizza to emerge from my 2nd hand electric oven is one with just the simple sauce, some torn mozzarella and a few basil leaves. Yum.
I have two problems when making pizza. The first, my oven only goes to 500F. Really good pizza comes from a very hot oven. My oven is not wood-fired nor made of masonary materials. I use baking stones and preheat them at least an hour in advance, leaving the oven on at its highest temperature.
The second problem is limiting what I put on the pizza. When I have such a fabulous crust, tasty sauce and great cheese, I don’t need much else to make the pizza really good. Less being more definitely applies here.
Some of my favorites of late are: roasted spicy winter squash and carmelized onions with olive oil; thinly sliced sweet potato, raw onion and a cream base; thinly sliced yellow fin potato, Skagit River Ranch bacon and some Beecher’s cheddar. Using something other than the tomatoes for a base opens up alot of combination options.
I like to think seasonal and what traditionally goes together. If I find a tasty sweet potato gratin, I take the basic elements and put it on the pizza. It tends to always work out.
It is possible to make really good pizza at home. Someday I may have a better oven; I may have a wood-fired oven on my patio. I’m not going to wait until then to enjoy this great food.