We love pizza.
Ben fancies himself to be a pizza connoisseur.
On our honeymoon we ate the best pizza at Da Michele in Naples, Italy (the birthplace of pizza and ice cream, two persuasive reasons to visit). Da Michele was mentioned in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and despite your opinion of the book, it’s a solid restaurant recommendation. I inhaled an entire double cheese pizza Margherita by myself.
Our favorite stateside pizzeria is Shakespeare’s in Columbia, Missouri. Being staunch supporters, we ate there at least once a week. They just won Good Morning America’s Best Bites Challenge: College Edition, which is no surprise because of the incredible pies and laid back atmosphere. To tame our addiction my family picks up frozen Shakespeare’s pizzas at Hy-Vee for us when we visit the Midwest.
Since we have yet to cultivate a tree that sprouts hundred dollar bills instead of leaves, we can’t make it back to Naples or Columbia on a whim when our cravings hit.
Thankfully it’s fairly easy to make your own pizza dough.
Easy Pizza Dough
Note: I make this crust in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Depending on your preference, this recipe makes 2-3 crusts. Extra dough balls can be wrapped with plastic and frozen for later use.
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 package regular yeast
2 T. granulated sugar
2 t. salt
1/4 c. olive oil
4 c. all-purpose flour (You also can use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour.)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes. If developed properly, the yeast will have formed a thick, tan foam on top. (If not, try again using warmer water.)
In the mixing bowl add the salt, olive oil and 2 cups of flour. Knead ingredients with a dough hook until the flour has been combined. Add in the final 2 cups of flour. Knead for about 10 minutes until a ball forms. (If all 4 cups of flour have been added and the dough is still sticky, gradually add in small amounts of flour until it stops sticking to the side of the bowl.)
Lightly coat the ball of dough with olive oil, cover the bowl with a clean dish towel, and place it in a warm spot. Let the dough rise for one hour.
Punch down and divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls (2 for thicker crusts, 3 for thinner crusts). Spread the dough to your desired thickness onto a lightly greased pan. (If you want, sprinkle the dough with garlic salt.)
Pre-bake crust for 5-7 minutes. Then layer crust with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
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