Making pizza at home isn’t as common as it should be. While the wood-fired ovens at Coal Fired Pizza, Figidini, and Flatbread are impossible to perfectly replicate in your oven, that doesn’t mean your pizzas can’t be delicious. To make truly great pizza at home there’s a lot of room to improvise, but there are a few ways to make your pizza a cut above.
1. Start with Good Ingredients
Starting off with great ingredients is the key to improving any simple dish. You don’t need anything fancy, but using fresh ingredients will only make your pizza that much more delectable. I used R.I. Mushroom Co. maitakes as my hefty topping of choice.
2. Swap Your Sauce
While some may say pizza isn’t pizza without tomato sauce, I replaced it with another vegetable spread. Intended as a topping for bruschetta, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s squash recipe is downright addictive. While the squash roasts, make an onion-jam by deeply caramelizing onions before showering them with equal parts apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Lastly, mash the squash with the onions and prepare to never cook squash any other way.
3. Conquer the Crust
I’ve yet to make dough from scratch, which would be ideal, but I have become a fan of using fresh dough. By choosing fresh over pre-baked, your crust won’t dry out, but will instead be moist and chewy. I recommend Seven Stars Bakery’s Pizza Dough.
4. Crank the Heat
Raising your oven’s temperature as high as it can go mimics the effect that wood-fired ovens have. It will undoubtedly speed up the cooking time, but more importantly it will crisp up all of your toppings and cook your crust through at the same time. Is that a golden-brown pizza you’re staring at? Because you cooked it in a 500 degrees oven, yes.
5. Keep it Simple…Sort of
You don’t need to pour your entire fridge onto one pizza, no matter how tempting. Throwing ingredient after ingredient onto your pie will end badly; unevenly cooked dough, too many flavors, difficult to eat, etc. I used mushrooms, squash-onion mash, a handful of bacon, and some fresh mozzarella that I ripped in chunks you would expect to see atop a margherita pizza.
If you have fresh dough, quality ingredients, and a blazing hot oven, not much can go wrong, other than the possibilty of mind-bendingly good pizza fatigue. So start your shopping list, get your oven heating, and start twirling that dough.