Sausage pizza perfection!

I’m not a huge fan of Chicago-style pizza where the crust plays center stage and the ingredients are an afterthought. Maybe it’s having spent a few years in New York eating thin-crusted pies that you fold over and eat with your mouth turned so that the fresh mozzarella doesn’t drip off onto your plate. Seems like the crust should be somewhere in between that wafer-like crust that sometimes gets a little too dry and the loaf-style pies that leave you feeling stuffed after just one bite. This recipe finds that happy medium—plus it’s so easy to make.

In my family, each person gets to fashion a pie. My oldest child loads hers with meat, while my youngest has lately decided she prefers Hawaiian style. It’s become a favorite meal at our house, even if it’s more work than picking up a couple Hot & Ready’s from Little Caesar’s around the corner. With any extra dough, we melt butter and brush it across the dough and sprinkle the leftover cheese on it for breadsticks. So if you’ve never attempted pizza at home, what are you waiting for? And if you’ve tried making pizza in the past but have had lackluster results, give this a try.

Here’s the recipe:

*Note: I always double this recipe so that there are plenty of leftovers. But, I do both batches separate in my food processor. This will make between 7-8, 8”-9” pies.

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups water, slightly warm

2 T. sugar

1 packet yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons)

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup bread flour

1 T. salt

3 T. olive oil

1 jar spaghetti sauce

Pizza toppings: ham, black olives, pepperoni, sausage, salami, mozarella cheese

Directions

In a small bowel or measuring cup mix together sugar, yeast, and warm water. Let this mixture sit at least three minutes or until bubbly. While the yeast proofs, in a food processor, mixer or large bowl measure out the dry ingredients (if you don’t have bread flour, no problem. Bread flour will give you a richer texture, but it’s not the end of the world—or your pizza—if you use 100% all-purpose flour in the recipe). Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture. If you’re using a food processor, add the liquid ingredients while the processor is running. Alternatively, use a mixer or handheld mixer to pull the ingredients together. Mix until the dough comes together to form a ball. The dough should be sticky. Add extra flour or a little water to get the right consistency.

On a floured cutting board, knead the dough until the ball is smooth. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough ball into the bowl and flip once so that it’s covered slightly with oil. Cover with a dampened kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for at least an hour or until doubled in size (if it goes a little longer, that’s fine).

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. At your floured cutting board, pour out the dough ball and divide into four equal parts—or two big balls if you’re doing larger pizzas. Keep the balls covered with the damp towel while you’re working on the other ball. Roll out the dough to about ¼” thickness, adding flour as necessary. Spray your pizza pans with cooking oil and then sprinkle with cornmeal. (I use pie pans, springform pans, and even cast iron skillets for pizzas.) Gently transfer the dough to the pan and press in. Prick the dough with a fork and fold over any extra dough at the edges.

Spread ½ cup or more spaghetti sauce onto the dough. Add your pizza toppings and add cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. With extra dough, I make breadsticks.

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