Editor's note: Sticky dough, smeary sauce, and cheese piled high --
what little one wouldn't enjoy the tactile pleasures of creating her
own pizza from scratch? Greg Atkinson is the author of five cookbooks,
including the brand-new West Coast Cooking,
and the director of "Culinary Consulting." He has worked on the menus
at Friday Harbor House and Canlis, among others, and won a James Beard
award in 2001. His work appears in the Seattle Times and on KUOW radio.
Chef Greg Atkinson lives with his wife and two sons on Bainbridge Island.
Makes 1 8-inch x 16-inch pizza
A little dried oregano and a drizzle of olive oil on top of the cheese gives this simple homemade pizza a certain savory snap. Kids might want to try different toppings, but don't overlook the simple joy of a well-made plain cheese pizza. -- Chef Atkinson
For the crust:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for the pan
For the topping:
- 1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a mixing bowl, stir together warm water, yeast and sugar. Add flour, vinegar and salt. Mix for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise, covered, for one hour, or until doubled in bulk.
- Heat the oven to 400 F. Rub pan with the olive oil. Turn dough out of the mixing bowl and roll it into a rectangle (or round), about the same size as the pan. Transfer to pan.
- Spread pizza sauce on top of the crust and sprinkle on mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle dried oregano leaves over the cheese then drizzle on the olive oil.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the dough has puffed up around the sides, about 18 minutes. (Lift a corner of the pizza and sneak a peak at the underside of the crust to make sure it has browned.)
- Move the pizza from the pan to a cutting board, cut into 12 pieces and serve it hot.