I make a lot of pizza because my guys love pizza. Therefore, it is fitting that this is my first recipe to share.
I used to be really bad at pizzas until I found a great crust recipe AND decided to part ways with traditional tomato pizza sauce. Growing up in Brazil, we ate a lot of what they call “white pizza”, where olive oil and garlic make up the base instead of tomato sauce. That’s how I prefer my pizzas. Therefore, subconsciously, I must have been sabotaging all my tomato sauces because I was never happy with any of them. After the switch, Steve and the boys (I know they are now men, but Steve is still daddy and my boys will always be “the boys”) tell me to only make white pizzas.
..and yeast. I plum forgot to put the yeast in this picture! Too much excitement, I suspect.
And here’s a little tip. If using fresh mozzarella, slice the cheese before starting this recipe, place in a container lined with paper towels, and store in the fridge until needed. Fresh mozzarella has a lot of moisture which will come out during baking, so draining the liquid is important. Otherwise, you might find your toppings floating off your crust during baking, which is no bueno.
This is my trusty pizza pan. You can see it is well loved by its worn and weary appearance. I’m loyal to my stuff, even if some of them are no longer new and beautiful. Non-stick reliability and evenly cooked pizza bottoms. Because nobody wants a droopy, soggy bottom, right?
I like to make the dough in my bread machine because it has a pizza dough setting, and it has its own little covered space to rise. But a mixer with a paddle attachment works just as well. And for those who prefer to make their dough by hand, I salute you!
Here’s that sexy, non-tomato base I was talking about.
This is a MEATY pizza! Think Godfather’s Combo pizza. Note that I chop the pepperoni and Canadian bacon. It is more reminiscent of a Godfather’s pizza AND makes it easier to eat by hand. No need to saw through a chunk of meat with your teeth as you bite into your slice.
The truly perceptive will note that my recipe does not include salami. But I had four lonely little slices in my fridge, and cooking is always about opportunity and improvisation, right? If you like salami and don’t mind the additional bit of fat, go for it! Let’s be honest. A combo pizza with meat was never considered a low calorie option to begin with!
Then it’s off to the oven! But here is where I’ve learned a little trick for a chewy, amazing crust without the benefit of a real pizza oven…Use a trusty pizza pan like the one pictured above, over preheat the oven, reduce the oven temperature when it is time to cook, and cook on the bottom-most rack! Because you want your beauty to look like this!
Man oh man oh man. This is a religious experience…
Ultimate Combo Pizza
- FOR THE DOUGH:
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon Dry Active Yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pinch of sugar
- 1 cup +/- water see instructions
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- 1 12 ounce package of fresh mozzarella cheese evenly sliced to about 1/4 inch thickness
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium garlic cloves diced
- 3/4 pound cooked and cooled mild Italian sausage about 3 links
- 1/2 cup canned black olives
- 1/4 cup green olives
- 1/2 cup sweet onion
- 1/2 cup mushrooms
- 3/4 cup sweet bell peppers
- 1/4 cup pepperoni
- 1/4 cup Canadian bacon
- 3 bacon strips cooked but not too crispy
- FOR THE DOUGH:
- Add the dry ingredients in a bread machine on the dough setting or the bowl of a mixer using the paddle attachment. Do not add all of the water at once, as dough is always different. The amount of water needed will depend on many factors, depending on the flour used, temperature, humidity, etc. Add 3/4 of the measured amount and begin mixing the dough. Add more water as needed. You want a cohesive raw dough with a smooth, silky look. Once mixed, allow the dough to rise to just over double the original size.
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- While the dough is rising, brown the sausage and cook the bacon so that they are cooled when it is time to assemble the pizza.
- Dice and chop the remaining toppings as indicated in the list of ingredients and place in individual prep bowls. This makes distribution of the toppings more even when you assemble the pizza.
- Place an oven rack on the bottom most slot and preheat oven to 500°F.
- When the dough has finished rising, roll it as thinly as possible on a floured surface. Pour the olive oil on the rolled crust and add the diced garlic. Using your palm, spread both over the crust to the edge until the crust is evenly coated with oil and garlic, careful not to coat the crust edges or it will brown too quickly.
- Sprinkle each of the remaining prepped toppings one by one making sure each is evenly distributed. Top with evenly spaced cheese slices, allowing some space between them for melting.
- REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 375°F BEFORE PLACING THE PIZZA IN THE OVEN! Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown on the edges. If you like your cheese caramelized, set the oven to broil for 2 or 3 minutes before removing.
- Place the pizza pan on a trivet and allow it to settle and cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, slice and serve.