An Ode to Pizza

Not to be cheesy, but pizza is the best thing ever. Is there anything a little slice of heaven can't improve? Let's celebrate the world's most perfect food.

An Ode to Pizza

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Not to be cheesy, but pizza is the best thing ever. Is there anything a little slice of heaven can't improve? Let's celebrate the world's most perfect food.

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My beloved pizza, ever since I can remember, you’ve had a pizza my heart. I always manage to find the dough to pay for a great slice!

The debate rages of what pizza recipe is the best, with New York thin-crust and Chicago deep-dish fans each fighting for their side. For pizzake! All pizza tastes great! There’s no need to fight over this.

If every time you think about pizza, you start to sing “That’s amore,” then this Ode To pizza is for you. Take a moment to honor how delicious it is topped with pepperoni, parmesan, dried peppers and pepperoncini. Savor how amazing pizza becomes with a side of cool ranch dressing and an ice-cold Coke. What’s not to love?

No matter how you slice it, pizza reigns supreme. Check out this recipe for summer pizza ideas from food52!

Three Summer Pizzas: Peach and Basil, Roasted Pepper and Tomato, Rapini and Sausage

Makes 6 pizzas (each serving 1 to 2 people)

Ingredients: 

    Pizza Dough:

  • 950 grams flour (a scant 7 1/2 cups)
  • 4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. yeast

    Pizza Toppings:

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small bundle broccoli rabe, tough stems removed; washed and roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. hot Italian sausage
  • 12 Tbsp. (about) crème fraîche (3/4 cup)
  • 1 peach, thinly sliced
  • Flaky sea salt such as Maldon
  • Fresh basil
  • 2 roasted bell peppers, see link to recipe above
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh mozzarella (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast with 3 cups cold water. Cover bowl with a damp towel, plastic wrap or bowl cover and let sit for 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. Turn dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Divide into 6 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball. Let sit for another hour or so or, if storing the dough for later use, transfer each round to a storage container and place in the refrigerator. (When using refrigerated dough, remove dough from fridge an hour or so before baking).
  2. Place a baking steel or pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 550° F (or your oven’s hottest setting). Allow the steel to heat for at least 45 minutes at 550° F before using it.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings: Place a large skillet over high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil. When it shimmers, add the onions, reduce the heat to medium or medium low, season with a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring every so often, for about 20 minutes or until the onions are lightly caramelized. Transfer onions to a bowl.
  4. In a separate large skillet over high heat, add another tablespoon of olive oil. When it shimmers, add the broccoli rabe, being careful of splattering if the broccoli rabe is wet. Season with a pinch of salt. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes, using tongs to rearrange the leaves as necessary and encourage wilting. Transfer the greens to a bowl.
  5. In a small dry skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage until nearly cooked through, for about 5 minutes. Break it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces as it browns. Transfer sausage to a bowl.
  6. To make each pizza: Place a piece of parchment paper on a pizza peel. (You may be able to cut parchment sheets in half to make the most of each sheet.) Grab the edge of one round of dough with two hands and let the weight of the hanging dough stretch it out—rotate your hands around the edge of the dough to stretch it evenly. When it hints of tearing, transfer it to the sheet or parchment paper and stretch it further—it should be 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Spread 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche evenly over the surface using the back of a spoon. Gently push the dough out as you spread the crème fraîche to encourage a puffy outer edge.
  7. To make the peach pizza: Top the crème fraîche with a light layer of peaches. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until the edges are puffed and golden. Top with fresh basil leaves out of the oven. Repeat with another round of dough.
  8. To make the broccoli rabe pizza: Top the crème fraîche with a light layer of caramelized onions, sautéed greens and sausage. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until the edges are puffed and golden. Repeat with another round of dough.
  9. To make the pepper and tomato pizza: Top the crème fraîche with a light layer of roasted red peppers (cut into strips) and a few tomatoes—too many and the pizza will be watery. Scatter with mozzarella, lightly, if you wish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until the edges are puffed and golden. Top with fresh basil leaves out of the oven. Repeat with another round of dough.

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