Given the title of this website, it should be no surprise that SIMPLE food is what excites me most. And there’s a good reason for this – when you cook with just a handful of fresh, high-quality ingredients that compliment each other, you create magic on the plate. It may seem totally counterintuitive, but using simpler ingredients often gives your dishes more complex and layered flavors. Take this pizza, for example. We’re making a very simple homemade crust and topping it with just four simple ingredients (olive oil, garlic, red onion, and rosemary). This way, the unique characteristics of each ingredient can seep into the fresh crust for the perfect balance in every bite. For this particular pizza, something like a bold tomato sauce or veggie sausage would have only overpowered the authentic, nuanced flavors of the garlic and herbs.
Now, I know this pizza is a bit naughty by my standards (it has olive oil and white flour), but sometimes you just need some crusty bread with olive oil, right? It’s an occasional treat that makes an amazing Saturday evening project for the whole family. Give this a shot – one bite and you’ll think you died and woke up in Italy’s version of heaven.
Makes 6 small pizzas
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1/2 red onion
This pizza dough is adapted from Bobby Flay’s Recipe on Food Network and it’s super easy to make. In a stand mixer (you can also do it by hand), combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast and mix until incorporated. Then, add about 1 1/2 cups of warm water that is between 110 and 140º F along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Allow this to mix until it forms a solid ball. If the dough is too sticky, add an extra tablespoon of flour; too crumbly, add a tablespoon of water.
On a lightly-floured surface, knead this dough into one perfectly round ball, ensuring that the outside is dusted with a light layer of flour. Then, add to a large bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 hour or more until it doubles in size.
Crank up the oven to 420º F. Then, separate the large ball of dough into 5-6 smaller balls. Using a rolling pin and/or your hands, roll each into a thin disc. Brush the surface with about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and top with sliced red onion, slivered garlic, and rosemary (see above). Add the pizzas to the hot oven on a pizza stone or baking sheet and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until the edges of the crust start to turn golden brown.
I highly recommend using a pizza stone over a typical baking sheet. This allows the pizza to cook evenly and develop a gorgeous crispy crust. You can find one at a discount home store for less than the price of one pizza and it’s a worthwhile investment.