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Three-Cheese Pizza

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Homemade pizza is a revelation, and it is perfect ski-weekend food because it can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. You can make dough and sauce from scratch, or use shortcuts such as pre-made dough from the local market or pizzeria and store-bought tomato sauce. To make great homemade pizza it helps to have the proper equipment, like a pizza stone and paddle, but sturdy baking sheets and a super-hot oven will suffice.

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

Occasiongame day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecheesy, chewy, garlicky, herby, savory, tangy

Type of Dishpizza

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes with their juices
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Yellow cornmeal, for dusting
  • 2 cups (½ pound) grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (¼ pound) grated fontina cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. To prepare the pizza dough, pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over it and let dissolve for 5 minutes. Whisk in the oil and a pinch of salt. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour, ½ cup at a time, to make a soft and sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes.

  2. Brush another large mixing bowl with additional oil. Divide the dough into 2 balls and transfer to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2½ hours.

  3. To prepare the tomato sauce, heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonreactive saucepan and saute the garlic until golden, about 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn.

  4. Add the tomatoes and their juices and salt and pepper to taste to the saucepan and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Add the basil and cook a few minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

  5. Preheat the oven to 450°F and put a pizza stone or heavy-bottomed baking sheet in it to heat.

  6. Flatten the dough on a surface dusted with cornmeal. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to roughly 12 inches in diameter, about ¼ inch thick. Dust a pizza paddle or baking sheet with cornmeal and transfer the pizza dough onto it. Working very quickly, spoon half the sauce over the dough and spread evenly. Sprinkle half the cheeses evenly over the sauce, and top with half of the basil. Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone or baking sheet and bake until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat for the other pizza.

  7. Some other great pizza combinations:

  8. (These are just suggestions for preparations, so quantities of butter and oil for slow-cooking or sauteing are general.)

  9. Caramelized red onions & gorgonzola cheese

  10. Slowly cook 4 thinly sliced red onions in butter and olive oil for about an hour. Spread the dough with the onions and sprinkle with about ¼ pound of Gorgonzola cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

  11. Caramelized onions, goat cheese, & pancetta

  12. Slowly cook 4 thinly sliced onions in butter and olive oil for about an hour. Crumble about ¼ pound of softened goat cheese into the onions. Spread this mixture over the pizza dough and top with slices of pancetta.

  13. Red & yellow bell peppers with mozzarella cheese & sausage

  14. Slowly cook a mixture of 3 thinly sliced bell peppers, 3 thinly sliced onions, 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves, and salt and pepper in butter and olive oil for about an hour. Sprinkle the dough with about ¼ pound of mozzarella cheese and top with the pepper mixture. Saute and drain about ¼ pound of sausage meat and sprinkle over the pizza.

  15. Tomato sauce, mushrooms, & taleggio cheese

  16. Saute about 1 cup each fresh and wild mushrooms in butter and olive oil until browned and softened. Spread the dough with tomato sauce and the cooked mushrooms. Sprinkle with about ¼ pound of Taleggio cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

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