Some days, all I ever want is a mound of bread slathered in melted cheese, a good slice of pizza cradled in the warmth of an oven. Consequently, it does not come as a surprise that one day last week, I had the sudden urge to fire up the oven and make some pizza myself.
With an oven blazing away at 400 degrees and knives whirling at a harrying pace, you could have quite easily mistaken the common room kitchen where we decided to set up for a veritable pizzeria. Flour was strewn everywhere and flying hand gestures wove together various tangents of the stories we were telling. While it could have arguably been much easier to have just gone to Stimson and ordered a custom pizza, there is a certain sense of accomplishment when our own hands were rolling and decorating the pizza dough. And after all, it’s not every day that you can circumnavigate the globe without ever leaving your own kitchen.
Throughout the week, we assembled our arsenal of supplies– veggies were smuggled out of various dining halls, pans were borrowed from our culinary-minded cohorts, and sauce, pesto, and dough were purchased from Trader Joe’s. All we had left to do, we thought, was take out the dough, plop on our ingredients of choice, and presto! Homemade pizza!
However, we had not foreseen the stubborn qualities of pizza dough such as its everlasting elasticity and inability to stay in one position on a pan for more than a few moments. After what seemed like 20 minutes of prodding, poking, rolling, and cursing, the dough finally remained in an enough of a rectangular shape for decoration to begin.
We divided the pizza into 3 triangles and sprinkled our ingredients accordingly– I littered my corner with goat cheese, pesto, and veggies, while the other two sections were crowned in combinations of pesto and pizza sauce, mozzarella and goat cheese, onions, spinach, and garlic. Once we had finished, we slipped the pizza into the oven, waited restlessly for about 10 minutes, and yanked out our snack just as our stomachs began to grumble. We snatched the pizzas from the pan and gobbled them up, burning the tips of our tongues and fingers in the process.
One week later, I returned to the pizza-making arena once more, albeit in a somewhat more formal setting in friend’s house nearby. With appetizers, side dishes, and even a two-part dessert, this meal was much more elaborate than my earlier throw-it-in-the-common-room-oven meal. Nonetheless, the pizza was still delicious and was consumed just as quickly, as it should be when the pizza is piping hot and you are surrounded by other like-minded foodies. So if you ever feel the need to whip up your own pizza, below is a basic how-to guide that can easily be adopted and adapted to your liking.
The Easiest Best Pizza You Will Ever Eat (if you like goat cheese and pesto) (serves anywhere from 2 to 6 people)
1 pre-made herb or whole wheat pizza dough (can be bought from Trader Joe’s), left at room temperature for at least 20 minutes
About 2 tbs. flour
1-6 or 8 oz. jar of pesto
1-8 oz. package of goat cheese
2 cups of an assortment of veggies (spinach, red onions, tomatoes, peppers), sliced and washed
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough until about ? inch thick. This can be done using a rolling pin, palm of your hands, fingers, or even a cylindrical water bottle. Place on an edged cookie sheet and fit the dough to the sheet. Spoon pesto on to dough and spread evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle about half the goat cheese over the pesto and dough, then layer veggies over top. Finally, sprinkle remaining goat cheese over top. Put pizza in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is crispy, cheese is melted, and veggies are baked until desired “doneness.”