Friday Night Pizza is a long-standing tradition on Take Two, but it dates from my childhood. I remember my mom making homemade pizza on Friday evenings, or sometimes Dad would “cook” and we’d have Pizza Hut or Domino’s, and later, Papa John’s. It’s an easy meal to make for a crowd, and we have often invited friends and neighbors to join us for pizza night. I’m missing that right now–and missing all of you who have sat around our table and shared our Friday night tradition. If you want to try it on your own, look below to find the recipes for my pizza crust and homemade sauce!
Pizza Crust for Four 15-inch Pizzas
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
4+ cups unbleached white flour
- Mix flours and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix water, oil, yeast, and sugar in a separate bowl, stirring until yeast is dissolved. Allow to rest for a few minutes; yeast will begin to bubble.
- Add liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
- Begin to add flour, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until the dough begins to form a ball and becomes too thick to stir.
- Turn dough out onto a clean, floured surface and begin to knead.* The dough will stick to your hands initially. Keep adding flour, folding it in as you knead. Eventually, the dough will be less sticky, but be careful not to add too much flour or the dough will be too dry. The goal is “tacky, not sticky.” *If you have a KitchenAid, use the dough hook and let the machine do the work!
- After kneading for 5-10 minutes, the dough should be soft and stretchy; if you take a small ball of dough and stretch it between two hands, you should be able to make a translucent “window” of dough you can see light through. If it tears instead of stretching, it needs more kneading!
- Once well-kneaded, sprinkle flour over the the ball of dough and cover with the inverted bowl or a damp towel. Allow to rise while you make the sauce, oil the pans, and chop the toppings, 30 minutes to one hour.
Homemade Pizza Sauce
2 15-oz cans tomato sauce
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
- Put all ingredients into a Vitamix (or blender/food processor). If using a regular blender/food processor, mince the garlic first.
- Run on high for 30 seconds to one minute, until mixture is homogenous. Set aside while you chop toppings.
Top, Assemble, and Bake!
2 6-oz packages pepperoni
1 lb. Italian sausage or turkey sausage, browned and crumbled
1 cup each: sliced mushrooms, olives, green peppers, onions
8 cups mozzarella cheese
Other options: hamburger, bacon, and salami; chopped ham and fresh or canned pineapple; tomato slices and fresh basil; chicken, bacon, barbecue sauce and cheddar-jack cheese; chicken, black bean, corn, jalapeño, salsa, and cheddar cheese…et cetera.
- Preheat oven to 425°. Space oven racks so you can get two pizzas in at the same time.
- Oil four 15″ pizza pans and sprinkle with corn meal. (If you don’t have four, place dough circles on oiled/corn meal-sprinkled aluminum foil and reuse the same pizza pan.)
- Once dough ball has doubled in size, divide into four equal portions and roll into balls.
- Sprinkle your kneading surface and the top of a dough ball with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll ball into a 15″ circle, adding flour as necessary to reduce sticking. Fold into quarters and transfer to pan; unfold. Prick all over with a fork. Repeat for other three dough balls.
- Pre-bake crusts for 5-10 minutes; they’ll begin to rise/bubble, but not brown.
- Remove hot crust, top with about one cup of sauce and desired toppings.
- Sprinkle with 2 cups of cheese.
- Bake another 10 minutes, or to desired doneness. Crust should be golden brown, cheese bubbling at the edges.
- Slice up and serve with “shakies”–red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese!