Homemade Pizza Trumps Tivo'd Dominos

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You can now order Domino's (DPZ) Pizza off your Tivo (TIVO). Sure, the ease of having a pie delivered at the push of a button might seem tempting, but it's no match for a homemade slice. Here's how to do it better, and for a fraction of the cost.

Gearing Up
First off you need either a baking stone, a large terra cotta tile or a large cast iron skillet. What’s the special equipment for? It ensures your pizza crust gets good and crispy. Baking stones and cast iron skillets can be found at your local kitchen supply store and large, unglazed terra cotta tiles are easy to find at home centers like Lowe’s (LOW).

Get Prepared
While assembling pizza may be fun, making the dough and sauce a day ahead of time will ensure the dinner preparation remains quick, easy and enjoyable for the whole family.

Pizza Making Basics
First preheat your oven to 425 degrees along with your cooking surface (baking stone, etc.). Next flour a flat baking sheet and place your dough ball in the center. Use your fingertips to flatten the dough into a circle. Make sure the dough has enough flour so that it slides freely on the sheet, as you’ll need to slide it onto your baking stone later.

Now sauce the dough by starting with a few tablespoons in the center, and spread it towards the outside using the back of a large spoon. Whatever you do, don’t use too much sauce or you'll end up with a soggy pie.

Once the pizza is sauced you can sprinkle the pizza with a pinch of sea salt and then a spare amount of good meltable cheese such as mozzarella, Swiss, Gruyere, provolone or even a mixture of all of them. Like the sauce, you don’t want to use too much or risk throwing your pizza out of whack.

Next thinly slice whatever items you are placing on the pizza. Small amounts of highly flavorful meats work best like chorizo sausage or cured ham. Now compliment the flavor of the meat with items such as peppers, olives or sautéed mushrooms. Remember to stay away from high moisture items like fresh tomatoes. These can be added right before the pizza is removed from the oven, or as it cools to keep them fresh tasting and to prevent a water logged pizza.

Now slide your finished pizza on to your baking surface. Bake in a preheated oven until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, remove, and allow it to cool for five minutes before slicing.

Experiment
Pizza is one of the best blank slates for experimenting with flavors. Think of your favorite food combinations and try your hand at combining them on a pizza: Chopped chicken, salsa roja and jack cheese for a Mexican pizza, kalamata olives and feta for a Greek pizza or even seasoned ground lamb and onions for Turkish pizza known as Pide. New York City favorites include a ricotta, sausage and tomato sauce “lasagna slice” and even a baked ziti slice with a casserole of baked ziti pasta right on top of the pie.

Pizza Dough
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 packet yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Combine yeast packet with the cup of warm water and mix well. Once the yeast starts to foam, mix in the rest of the ingredients. Once the dough is well combined you can separate it into two pieces, knead them for one minute and place on a plate covered with plastic wrap until it has doubled in size. Dough can be refrigerated for four to five days in zip-seal plastic bags or other air -tight container.

Pizza Sauce
1 12oz. can tomato sauce
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt

Mix the above ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl. For a fancier flavor you can add fresh crushed garlic and fresh herbs or olive oil.

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