Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cook: A Twist on the Classic: Variations of Pepperoni Pizza

I've been posting a bunch of pizza recipes recently.  (FYI - we do cook non-pizza dinners here in the FJ household and I'll be posting some other recipes soon :)  After the last non-meat (turkey bacon per Steph's request) pizza post, I wanted to return to a classic. Pepperoni.

I'll admit. I never was much a fan of the chain restaurant style pepperoni pizza. But after mixing up some higher quality pepperoni (nothing too fancy, I just got it at Trader Joe's) with some hot pepper, pizza sauce, good cheese and fresh basil - I must say, I'm a convert. Of all the pizzas we've made so far, the Pepperoni variations are my favorite.

To make your own Pepperoni pizza, this is what I recommend. Don't be put off by the long list of steps - it is actually very easy and very quick to make!
  1. Preheat oven with pizza stone in it to 500F.  
  2. For the dough, I like to use Trader Joe's pizza dough. We like our crust thin, so I divide it into two balls. I let the dough rest at room temperature on a floured surface for 30 min. When dough is ready, roll out to form a circular shape (mine always comes out oval!).  
  3. Lightly drizzle olive oil on the top of the crust - spread with brush to evenly coat. Add some red pepper flakes if you dare! (I think it really adds depth and flavor to the pizza)
  4. Spread some pizza sauce on top - I've made my own from scratch as well as used bought pizza sauce. 
  5. Add cheese (I mainly use shredded mozzarella but sometimes mix in fresh mozza and a touch of shredded parmesan)
  6. Add the pepperoni slices on top
  7. This is where you can get creative! For one of the pizzas, I added sliced yellow bell peppers - the other I kept classic. 
  8. Using the pizza peel (coated with cornmeal) transfer the pizza to the pizza stone in the oven.  Bake approximately 7-10 min for a medium sized pizza (longer if larger, or until lightly brown)
  9. While pizza is baking, rip up some fresh basil. once pizza is removed from over, sprinkle basil over pizza. Not only is it beautiful but it makes your pizza extra delicious!

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