Enjoy fresh-from-the-oven pizza with these delicious toppings. This is our basic method for topping and baking a single 12-inch pizza — whether a store-bought crust or your own homemade dough. For smaller or larger pizzas, simply adjust the amounts of sauce, cheese, and time. And, of course, you can add any toppings you like. (Check out our recipe for Corn and Tomatillo Pizza.) If you're using frozen dough, let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then come to room temperature before shaping.
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 (12-inch) crust
1/2 tablespoon olive oil (add crushed garlic, if you like)
1/2 cup sauce (recipe below)
6 ounces freshly grated mozzarella (we like Polly-O brand; don't bother using the expensive fresh kind for this)
1 cup sliced pepperoni (optional)
A pizza stone, for baking, and a wooden peel, for sliding pizza onto the stone (both optional)
- Heat oven to 500. If using a pizza stone, place it on the bottom rack or floor of the oven for 30 minutes while you prepare the pizza.
- Brush crust with olive oil (this keeps it from getting soggy). Spread with sauce and top with cheese and pepperoni, if using.
- Slide pizza from peel, if using, to the heated stone. This requires a jerking motion and a bit of practice. Bake for 7 to 12 minutes, until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling.
- If you made the pizza on a pan, put the pan onto the floor of the oven. Bake for 4 minutes, then move it to a rack and bake another 2 to 6 minutes, until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling.
- Use tongs or a spatula to slide pizza to a cooling rack for a few minutes (this keeps the crust from steaming and sogging), then move it to a cutting board, slice, and devour.
6 Minute Sauce
Sauté 1 clove chopped garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil about a minute. Add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce and 1/2 tablespoon sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick. Cool before using.
Top dough with 1/2 cup pesto (homemade or jarred), 2 tomatoes, sliced, and 6 ounces grated mozzarella (no red sauce). Bake as directed.