When Matt Robinson of Real Food by Dad needs a quick dinner he knows his kids will love, he turns to pizza. Check out his simple method and favorite topping ideas.
Pizza is a staple in my home. Along with being easy to make and inexpensive to construct, it’s like a blank canvas that allows me to create an endless variety according to our mood or what we have on hand.
An added plus to that is the kids love getting involved. While they aren’t totally into making the dough, they do love to make their own personal pizzas—which of course always makes for a fun dinner and one that guarantees it will be consumed by the mouthfuls.
Speaking of dough, this recipe below makes an easy, straight dough that can mixed and rolled right away. No need for rise time.
Dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days. Of course you can make it ahead of time and keep it refrigerated up to three days ahead. The advantage in doing that is like any bread, the natural gases that build between the gluten creates an even lighter, thinner crust.
Basic Pizza Crust Recipe
See other pizza crust recipes for options.
- ¾ Cup Lukewarm Water
- 1 Teaspoon Active-dry Yeast
- 10 Ounces Unbleached all-purpose Flour
- 1.5 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
Preparation: Place pizza stone on lower middle rack. Preheat oven to 500° F.
- Combine and stir water and yeast in a mixing bowl until mixture resembles miso soup.
- Add flour and salt to mixture and mix until dough just comes together.Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead the dough until the flour is incorporated, about 5 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. The dough should be moist and slightly tacky. (If it’s sticky, add in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth).
- Evenly divide dough in half and refrigerated one half for another time or double the topping recipe to make two 10 inch pizzas. If you would rather make individual pizza pies, portion the dough into as many round balls as you want pies. Once the portions have been formed, cover and let the dough sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the gluten to relax before rolling the dough out.
- Lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper with olive oil. Or, you can use cornmeal to dust the surface of your work area to keep the dough from sticking.
- Transfer ball of dough to parchment. Stretch out dough by hand as much as possible, then lightly brush with olive oil, cover with another piece of parchment. Another approach is to pound the dough down with your fist or the palm of your hand–this is just a preliminary shaping, to form the dough ball into a disc.
- Use a rolling pin and work from the middle of the dough outward to flatten dough to ¼ inch thickness. For those of you that like a thicker crust, roll the dough to your desired thickness. Using a rolling pin (rather than your fingers) will help maintain a consistent thickness. If you don’t have something flat to roll with, you can use the hand method. Dust your hands with flour to keep the dough from sticking. Gently stretch the dough using the back of your floured hands, letting the weight of the dough pull the dough thinner. Use the backs of your fingers to push the dough out wider. Start in the middle of the dough with both hands close together, and slowly pull your hands apart, allowing the dough to glide above your hands. Turn the dough about 15 degrees on your hands and repeat this step until the dough is thinner, wider, and consistent throughout the entire circumference of the crust. Or even better, try spinning the dough in the air. This is certainly not required, but it’s a lot of fun! It also helps to make the dough more round.
- Peel off top parchment paper.
Once that’s done, you’re ready to get busy and have some fun with pizza toppings. For us, it seems like chicken is king. I would say 6 out of 10 times my pizza is topped with it. Then, it’s time to grill or bake your pizza.
Matt’s Favorite Pizza Topping Combinations
Breakfast Pizza topped with crumbled bacon, diced red and green peppers, and fried eggs.
Chicken and Broccoli layered with pesto or with an alfredo sauce instead of the traditional red sauce.
Veggie Lovers is great as anything can go on it. I usually throw any odds and ends of veggies we have onto a bakesheet and roast them in the oven, then use Harissa for the base sauce. And to keep it simple, most of the time I use a mix of mozzarella and parmesan for the cheese.
Taco Pizza works great for us because I love Mexican food and it’s such an economical choice, since the ingredients are always readily stocked in my pantry. For the sauce, it’s usually a puree of black beans or refried beans and then layered with the traditional taco stuffings.
Almost BLT Pizza, I say almost because it’s a variation on the classic sandwich using bacon, spinach and sundried tomatoes.
See how highly adaptable pizza is? You are only limited by your imagination.