I've recently found the perfect combination of the best pizza crust recipe and the best pizza sauce recipe to create the best homemade pizza ever - if I do say so myself. ;)
And, in the spirit of Christmas, I'm going to share it with y'all!
Finding the perfect crust recipe to impress my husband was the most difficult part of all. I would think I'd found the winning one, and it just wouldn't quite cut it. But this time, I nailed it! The instructions will be using a KitchenAid mixer, but you can obviously also kneed it by hand.
Premium Pizza Crust - adapted from allrecipes.com
1 1/2 tsp yeast (I use quick rising)
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups flour (approx)
1/2 tsp salt
In your KitchenAid bowl, dissolve yeast in the water and add 3 cups of flour along with the salt. You will likely need about 3 1/2 cups flour in total (this is always different depending on the altitude and humidity of where you live). Basically continue adding flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If kneeding by hand, until it is smooth and barely sticky. If you add too much flour it gets too heavy - I'd rather err on the side of too little, cause you can always add more when rolling it out later.
Allow the dough to rise in a greased bowl, covered with a towel, until doubled in size (about 1 hr).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two equal pieces and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.
Put pizza pan in the oven and preheat both to at least 450F.
Meanwhile, prepare pizza toppings and roll out dough into the size and shape of your pizza pan.
When oven and pan has finished preheating, carefully remove the pan, spray it with Pam and sprinkle with cornmeal (in my opinion, the perfect way to get a non-sticky yet non-soggy crust), carefully place dough on top of pan, spread with Exquisite Pizza Sauce and desired toppings and sprinkle with paprika (secret from working at a restaurant the served pizza). Bake at 450 (or higher) for about 15 mins (or less, if you baked it higher). Let pizza cool for a couple minutes before cutting and serving.
Exquisite Pizza Sauce - adapted from allrecipes.com
one 6oz can tomato paste
6 fluid oz warm water
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste (optional)
Basically, combine all ingredients and allow to sit for about 30 minutes to blend flavours.
You can substitute one tin of tomato sauce (no salt added) instead of the paste/water if that's what you have onhand.
The original recipe called for 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, and though I do like it that way as well, I didn't taste a noticeable difference when I tried it again without it and it's healthier without it, so I just leave it out.
I didn't have cayenne pepper, so I doubled the red pepper flakes instead. I also increased the Italian spices just a bit. I also blended everything with a hand blender because I like it smooth, and to crush up the dried pepper flakes more.
If you love it as much as we do, you can multiply all the dry ingredients by 8 and put in a jar labelled "Pizza Spice" and simply add 2 tsp to the sauce and honey when every time you make it. Easy as pie - pizza pie that is! ;)