Easy Homemade Italian Style Pizza

I love Pizza, and I hate Pizza. Huh?

Pizza from most pizza joints makes me ill, but pizza made at home is one of my favorite foods. Can you relate? My brother-in-law, Stephen, put me on the path to making the ultimate pizza crust (thanks Stevo) and some Italian friends led me to discover the secret to some very amazing, and very easy, pizza sauce.

People call me a Maven, and are always asking me which kitchen items I use, so I will just save you time and share some of my favorite pizza cooking equipment, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time searching…you’re welcome.

How to Make Pizza

I’ve put my pizza making process in this following video (the sauce video is further down the page). So hold onto your Superman underpants, because here we go:


Before we begin, I’ve had a lot of people ask about my apron. It is actually a kid’s apron, but I love how it fits, and the Star Wars theme is amazing! Here it is:

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Recipe for Pizza Dough

Makes 4 medium pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cup luke warm water (room temperature)
  • 2 – 1/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 cups flour (plus extra for kneading)
  • Pizza sauce (see my amazing pizza sauce recipe)
  • Fresh Mozzarella cheese (sliced)
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Pancetta bacon (optional)

Directions:

Pour water into a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and mix until dissolved. Add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Mix in the flour. I really like these silicon spatulas (very heat resistant):

 

 I really like to use silicon spatulas, like these, to make pizza because they won’t melt:

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Place the dough on a floured surface, and lightly knead.

I’ve found a Silpat perfect for kneading pizza dough:

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Keep the dough a little sticky, but not too wet. Place the dough in a covered food storage container and let it rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes. Two years ago I discovered these perfect (and inexpensive) food storage containers; they work amazingly for rising pizza dough (see video):

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Right after setting the dough aside to rise, preheat the oven (with the pizza stone) to  at least 550 degrees (careful to not set it to broil). You can buy a pizza stone here (don’t ever pay more than $20 for a pizza stone, because they don’t last super long):

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While the dough is rising, prepare the toppings. First cut the basil, cheese, and pancetta on your end-grain cutting board (the best type for your knives). I actually make custom professional end-grain cutting boards and sell them in my store. Click here to buy the below pictured cutting board.

 

I find it convenient to grow my sweet basil plants next to my kitchen window. Just pull the biggest leaves off, and keep the plant from growing too tall. Let it grow horizontally instead of vertically.

 Then cook the pancetta in a skillet until just browned (in between chewy and crunchy):

The pancetta really turned out to be a magic ingredient in my pizza! Here is my amazing All-Clad skillet that I love for cooking my ingredients:

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When cutting the cheese and pancetta, make sure you use a very sharp knife, like my Wusthoff Classic Chef’s knife, which I regularly sharpen with my highly rated Chef’s Choice sharpener (one of the best kitchen investments…a super sharp knife makes cooking much easier):

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Once the dough is risen to the top of the container, divide the dough into 4 balls, and roll each out on a floured surface (like on your Silpat). Place the rolled out dough on a floured pizza peel, and make sure the pizza base can slide back and forth on the peel. If it sticks, then you’ll make a mess in the oven.

After the base is rolled out on the peel, add sauce (see my amazing pizza sauce recipe and video below) and pizza toppings.

I like to keep the toppings in different bowls so they’re handy when you’re rushing to get the next pizza ready:

Here are a couple great pizza peels on Amazon:

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Carefully slide the pizza off the pizza peel and onto the hot pizza stone. Cook until the crust turns golden brown.

Carefully remove the pizza from the oven with the pizza peel (or a flat cookie sheet works great).

While it’s hot, cut the pizza with a quality (and sharp) pizza cutter. Here are a few that I like:

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I like to cut each pizza into 8 smaller slices so everybody can munch while they wait for the next pizza.

 

Now for the pizza sauce recipe:

 

Recipe for Pizza Sauce

 

 

Watch this video to see how to make this amazing pizza and pasta sauce.

You can print the recipe below (I’ll share a dedicated blog post soon):

Tell me what you think by leaving a comment below!

 

Comments

  1. 1

    I have to say it does look fab. I’m going to save the recipe for later and serve it to the guys when they’re home for lunch one day (teen/hubby). Thx for the cool share.

  2. 2
    Jonathan says:

    josharoo! I love it. The video was fantastic. When can I come over for pizza? I also loved seeing that beautiful cutting board. Any desire to make a pizza peel?

    • 3

      Hey Jonathan, I’ll feed you when you come up for a visit! Yes, I’m looking to make a pizza peel soon. I’m looking at making an arts & crafts clock first though…remind me & I’ll send you some photos of it.

  3. 4

    I am making pizza tonight for dinner and am going to use your dough recipe. So excited!! I have had pizza at your house and absolutely loved it! Hope it turns out as good!

  4. 6

    Why no salt in the dough?

  5. 10

    The World Class pizza cutter is truly ‘da bomb and it’s amazing the difference in taste when using a pizza stone.
    I never liked home-made pizza before I started using one (and using it correctly).
    Additionally, I’m not a fan of corn meal in almost any situation, but a little sprinkle on the peel before you set the dough on it and add toppings makes it super easy to slide onto the stone and also removing it after it’s done baking. It can leave a (very) small mess in the oven, but it is so worth it. Before, half my toppings would mutiny & jump ship to the bottom of the stove.

  6. 11
    Karine Fortin says:

    Good afternoon Josh,

    Your recipe looks amazing and I am looking forward trying it for my family very soon 🙂 I had a question about the pizza stone… Can I use the back of a cookie sheet if I don’t have a stone like in your video ? Thanks in advance for your response.
    Cheers !

  7. 13

    Hi, can i use fresh yeast? or shall i use dry like you?

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