It’s amazing how much our perception of food changes as we grow and gain new experiences! These days, I hardly ever order pizza and if I do, Domino’s would not be my first choice (unless I was really tight on my food budget). I would feel guilty after eating a slice of pizza, but even then I could never stop after just one slice. In an effort to enjoy sinful food without going overboard on calories, I recently attempted to make pizza on my own. It may still be loaded with carbs and fat, but I figured, at the very least, homemade pizza would be less heavy and greasy than a store-bought pizza.
Since this was my first time making pizza from scratch, I found some trusty recipes to guide me. I ended up making my pizza using Bobby Flay’s Pizza Dough and Giada’s Caramelized Onion, Sausage, and Basil Pizza. I didn’t have all the exact ingredients to make the same pizza as Giada’s, but my pizza still turned out delicious!
Ingredients for Pizza Dough:
1 packet (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
11/2 cups warm water, divided
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil, plus more for greasing
Activate the yeast: Stir the entire packet of yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Let the the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
Mix the dough ingredients: Combine the yeast mixture, bread flour, sugar, salt, remaining 1/2 cup water, and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, beat on low speed for 3 minutes, until all ingredients are combined.
Knead the dough: Increase the speed by one notch (low-medium speed), and beat the dough for 8-10 minutes. Stop occasionally, if needed, to scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Proof the dough: Lightly grease a bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl, and cover with a plastic wrap. Leave the dough in a warm spot for about 60 minutes, until it doubles in size.
Ingredients for Pizza:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 links (1 lb) pork sausage
2 balls (10 to 11-oz) pizza dough
11/2 cups (8 oz) queso fresco, crumbled
cornmeal, for dusting
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Caramelize the onions: Melt the olive oil and butter in a large skillet, then add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat, until the onions are golden and tender.
Bake the sausage links: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the sausage links in a baking dish, and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the sausage is firm and cooked through. Bring the oven temperature up to 475°F. When they are cool enough to the touch, cut the sausage links into thin round slices, about 1/4” thick.
Divide the pizza dough: Punch out the air in the pizza dough. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces, then form each piece into a ball. Cover the balls of dough with plastic wrap, and leave them in a warm spot for at least 10 minutes to rest (only 2 balls of dough will be used for this recipe; refrigerate the 3rd portion to use the next day, or freeze in a zip lock bag).
Prepare the pizza: Roll out a ball of dough into a 10″ circle (adjust size based on desired thickness of crust). Lay the dough on top of a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal, and drizzle the dough with olive oil. Spread half the onions evenly over the dough, leaving a 1″ border. Lay out half the sausage rounds over the onions, then sprinkle half the cheese over the top. Do the same with the second ball of pizza dough.
Bake the pizza: Bake each pizza in the oven at 475°F for 17-19 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle the pizzas with chopped basil, then cut into wedges.
Makes: 2 medium pizzas
It took only two days for us to finish both pizzas. The caramelized onions added a sweet flavor to the pizza, and the basil added some freshness to the overall dish–a great combination! For my second pizza pie, I spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the dough before adding the toppings; its flavor and moisture brought the pizza together really well.
Even though what I made is still layered with sausage and cheese, I feel a lot better about eating this pizza because I know what I’ve put in it. No more greasy, calorie-laden pizza!