A Taste of Italy – Simple Homemade Pizza

Originally hailing from just outside of NYC I can safely say that there is no quick meal tastier than a good slice of pizza. Back where I’m from you can buy pizza by the slice (usually under $3 for a slice and can of soda) and we call an entire pizza simply a ‘pie’. Yep, you can call up one of the dozen pizza parlors and order ‘a large pie with extra cheese’ to go and in 30 minutes or less you’ll have your pie all set! As much as I truly love living in Virginia we absolutely have a pizzeria shortage here – it is nearing an epidemic. Sure there are lots of Pizza Huts, Domino’s and the like, but there are very few (tasty) pizzerias that deliver the quality I’m used to from back home. On the nights that we feel we must have pizza, we have started to make our own. Ours tastes nothing like what we buy at a pizzeria back home, but it is tasty, quick, simple and has a wonderful homemade taste to it – something that is perfect for quiet evenings when you just want ‘a slice’.

Show me the Dough

There are a variety of dough available to use, in addition to making your own, truly homemade dough. We have made homemade pizza dough only once, and while it was definitely tasty, the pre-made ones available are just as easy and not too pricey. Here are our favorites:

Trader Joe’s – regular, whole wheat and garlic & herb. The regular and whole wheat varieties are about $1.29 each. The dough is refrigerated so the night I’m going to use it I will let it warm up a bit then toss it with a little bit of flour so I can stretch it out to the right size crust I’m looking for. The garlic and herb dough was tasty but we were just as happy with the regular and whole wheat flavors which are usually better stocked anyway.

Giant food store – also have a whole grain and regular variety available. Not all Giant stores carry these, but if they do they are in the refrigerator section near the cheeses. These are similar in price to Trader Joe’s and similar in taste. Between the two I wouldn’t say I have a preference.

Local Delis – Do you have an Italian deli nearby that also sells pizza? What about a local Italian bakery? While they may not outwardly advertise this if you do have one nearby you can ask if they sell pizza dough. Many will! It will be a bit pricier than the stores about but the taste is usually far superior and it tends to be very fresh. This is a great route to try if there is a local place you think may have it.

Getting Saucy

The dough is one of the cornerstones of a good pizza but the sauce is second in line to what turns a good pizza into a great pizza. At our home we make our own sauce in large batches that we can then divide out into smaller portions ideal for pizza night. In a pinch we have gone to jars of sauce to get us by on pizza night. Looking to a jar? Here are the ones we prefer:

Classico – many of the Classico sauces are delicious and their biggest perk (in my opinion) is the variety of flavors they offer. They have a Traditional Pizza Sauce which has a nice pizza flavor to it, it is simple and straightforward. The Tomato & Basil variety is also great on pizzas – you get a bit more of the basil flavor which adds some nice flavoring to an otherwise simple pizza. We have also used the Fire-Roasted Tomato and Garlic, Spicy Tomato and Pesto and Sweet Basil as well. They each add a bit of variety to the flavoring and can spice up a cheese pizza in a pinch!

To Top It All Off

Now that the base layers of your pizza are all set its time for the fun to begin. You can put almost anything (possibly anything) on a pizza so get creative and taste your wild side!

Cheese Please – You can get creative with your cheese too though most folks stick to Mozzarella. There are pre-shredded bags of mozzarella to use or our preference is to buy a ball of fresh mozzarella and shred it on the pizza for that extra fresh flavor.

Hawaiian Style – Use smaller slices of ham and a drained can of pineapple chunks (or rings) on top of cheese

Margherita Style – Cut off pieces of fresh basil and layer them with slices of tomatoes on top of cheese. If the season is right you can layer this with heirloom tomatoes for a really great tomato flavor

Salad Style – Instead of using sauce bake your pizza crust with just olive oil on it. Once its cooked layer it with shredded lettuce, small slices of tomato, cucumbers, oil, vinegar & oregano and black olives – YUM!

Others – Mushrooms, olives, grilled chicken, pepperoni, mixed cheeses, pesto instead of red sauce, spinach, squash, etc.

Again – pizza is a simple but creative weeknight meal. It’s the perfect way to start introducing kids to the kitchen and cooking and helps the entire family get involved in a really fun, relaxing meal. Do you have any other great pizza styles that you find to be delicious??

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by whit on October 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Mmmm Salad Pizza is delicious too. Should definitely try that at home

    Reply

  2. Yum! Great breakdown on how to do it!
    We used to have make your own pizza nights on Fridays until Noah decided he didn’t like pizza anymore!

    Reply

  3. […] that are quick, easy and tasty are something I’m always on the lookout for. We love making homemade pizza but making the same recipes week after week can get a little boring, which is why we decided to […]

    Reply

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