The slogan sign said “We toss’em – they’re awesome!” John and I were eating at a little mountain town pizzeria. …and it was pretty good pizza! “Not as good as Mama Paladini’s though,” my husband assured me loyally.
Mama Paladini has a long history of pizza-making, beginning with my pizzeria job at Circus Pizza in Norwalk California more than 30 years ago. They tossed the pizzas there too – and they were awesome. And I got the hang of tossing them, although a few did end up on the floor…or with my finger poking through… So I prefer to rely on my trusty rolling pin.
As long as we’ve been married we’ve had homemade pizza every week. It’s not as daunting as it might sound. I think our branch of the Paladini family has made literally thousands of pizzas. In their teens all three of our kids had jobs at either Round Table or Mountain Mike’s Pizza, and now they all make their own homemade version.
We have had many parties where I made the crust in advance and laid out sauce, cheese and toppings, and the kids (or adults) made their own pizzas.
So go for it – it’s easy and fun! Here’s how to get started:
I Tablespoon yeast, 1 ½ cup warm water, 2 teaspoon salt,4-ish cups flour, oil
Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir in half flour and add salt
Stir in some more flour to make sticky dough
Turn out onto floured surface and knead flour in until the dough is not sticky
Knead for about 5 minutes
Place in buttered or oiled bowl and allow to rise till doubled
Roll out to a circle that will fit on your pizza screen.
(Pizza screens can be purchased at restaurant supply stores, but for years I just baked them on the pans.)
Brush the crust with some kind of pizza sauce, or pesto, or Ranch dressing
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. You don’t need to pile it on. Less is more.
Place the other toppings on the cheese. Start by putting them as close as you can to the outer edge of the crust because the pizza will draw in as it bakes
If the pizza is absolutely covered with toppings and you want to put a few more things on you can “glue” another layer of toppings by sprinkling a little more cheese on the first layer of toppings. Don’t overdo it though or it will be too heavy and the crust will be gummy.
Topping ideas: Pepperoni, grilled chicken cut in small chunks, cooked Italian sausage, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, artichoke hearts, olives…
Bake at 400* for about 25 minutes. You can lift up the edge and see if the botton is browned. A pizza screen makes a crispier, more well browned crust.
I can’t wait to hear about your pizza success stories and new ideas you can add!