My long time, regular readers know that we are pizza aficionados at my house. My husband built a wood burning pizza oven in my backyard. We go on vacation and plan out which pizza places we are going to visit.
It’s not just us, either. Pizza has gone beyond your local mom and pop stop and way beyond the chains. I am proud to say that it has been years since I’ve eaten any pizza from a chain restaurant, I just can’t do it. I’d rather go hungry. In a nutshell, we are serious pizza lovers.
And we are not alone. According to Sam Sifton, food editor of the New York Times, “Those who track the business say pizza is a $40 billion industry in the United States, in no small part because 97 percent of us eat the stuff, most of us regularly, to the tune of 2.1 slices a sitting.”
So why make it yourself? Well, would you believe it is quicker than ordering delivery? Cheaper and healthier? And way more delicious? Trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you.
Lenzer has come up with an easy, fool proof pizza dough recipe that is so simple, you can make pizza for dinner any night you want, even after a long day of work, in less time than some other chef’s famous thirty minute meals.
The secret is to make the crust on the weekend, or whenever you have a little time – and I mean little, it takes 30 minutes from start to finish, including pulling the ingredients out of your pantry, throwing them in the food processor, letting the dough rest while you clean up the food processor and put away the ingredients. Then you wrap the dough in plastic, and throw it in the freezer. The day you want to make pizza for dinner, take the dough out of the freezer and put it in the fridge in the morning while your coffee is brewing. This is sheer genius! And best of all, it makes a delicious, crispy yet still chewy around the edges pizza.
The rest of the cookbook is full of drool worthy photographs from photographer Christopher Testani, who obviously loves his job. There are tons of pizza recipes with really interesting combinations, like Shredded Chicken with Sweet Corn and Cherry Tomatoes; Prosciutto, Roasted Asparagus and Fresh Peas with Parmesan; Caramelized Onion and Pancetta with Parmesan; Curried Cauliflower with Tomatoes & Cilantro; Ramps with Poached Eggs and Pecorino. The combinations are incredibly creative and seemingly endless.
Keep a variety of cheeses on hand ready to go. Use fresh tomatoes instead of sauce. But the trick here is this: for a family friendly, quick pizza dinner, use your leftovers! Leftover cooked veggies, the last few slices of salami or ham, that handful of spinach you never got to, all make for wonderful toppings for pizza.
Kudos to Lenzer for basically recreating the wheel here. By making pizza so simple, so fast and so easy, there are no excuses for not making it yourself. Go forth and make pizza!
8/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
TRULY MADLY PIZZA by Suzanne Lenzer. Rodale Books (April 7, 2015). ISBN 978-1623362188. 240p.