Pizza 101

by in Recipes, April 27th, 2012


A no-fail meal that is guaranteed to please even the pickiest eater, pizza is a family-favorite dinner choice. This weekend, instead of ordering expensive and greasy delivery, bake up a pizza at home with your family. Once the easy-to-prepare dough is made, most pies take just minutes to assemble and bake, and can be customized to everyone’s tastes. And don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy pizza paddle or stone — everyday baking sheets work perfectly. Check out our roundup of basic, non-traditional and sweet slices below then tell us what is your favorite pizza topping.

Just the Basics:
You can’t have pizza without a crust to support it and you can’t have a deliciously chewy, slightly crispy crust without making the right dough. If you’ve never attempted from-scratch pizza dough, making Food Network Kitchens’ Basic Pizza Dough is a great place to start. It’s a no-fuss, easy-to-follow recipe that uses just a handful of ingredients. Plus, one batch of dough yields two pizzas, so you can freeze one to have ready for later.

Spice up classic pies by dressing them with the Ultimate Pizza Sauce from Food.com. Made with concentrated tomato paste, fresh aromatics — garlic, celery and onion — dried herbs and just a bit of butter, this smooth, flavor-packed sauce is the ideal canvas on which to showcase your favorite toppings, like crumbled Italian sausage, creamy mozzarella cheese, salty kalamata olives and more.

A go-to pizza that is as traditional as it is tasty, Food Network Magazine’s Pizza Margherita (pictured above) boasts a light, simple sauce and classic cheese and basil toppings. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy slices of this tried-and-true pie.

Non-Traditional Pies:
#44 on Food Network Magazine’s 50 Easy Pizzas list, this Salad Pizza (pictured left) is a complete meal in a single slice, with a crusty starch, fresh cherry tomatoes and a few vitamin-rich greens. The key to executing this pizza is topping it after the crust has baked. Just pile on the raw tomatoes and arugula as the pizza comes out of the oven and let the heat from the crust slowly warm and soften the toppings.

Food.com’s Steak and Blue Cheese Pizza is deliciously rich and hearty, featuring a tangy mayo-horseradish spread and bold, meaty toppings. Let the beef rest for 5 minutes before you slice it, so that when you add it to the pie its juices don’t run and cause the crust to get soggy.

Sweet Slices:
For an extra-special morning treat, serve up Giada’s Breakfast Pizza from Cooking Channel. Built atop store-bought pizza dough (or that handy dough above you’ve just made), Giada’s sweet pie boasts a lemon-scented mascarpone cheese “sauce” and ripe berries as fresh, colorful toppings. Sprinkle over the fruit a dusting of cinnamon-vanilla sugar to finish and slice into wedges to enjoy.

For dessert, Cooking Channel’s Kelsey Nixon prepares a foolproof Sugar Cookie Crust Fruit Pizza (pictured right) that is ready to eat in just over a half hour. She starts by baking a buttery cookie-based crust then tops it with sweetened cream cheese, sliced fruit and a glossy, herbaceous orange glaze. Try to cut the fruit in bite-sized pieces, so that the pizza will be easier to slice and eat.

Check out Food Network Magazine to find 50 Easy Pizzas and more.

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