Monday, August 12, 2013

Papa John's Style Pizza

Pizza is absolutely one of my all time favorite foods.  I love the crust, I love the cheese, I love every single different topping combination, I love how you can sneak leftovers onto a pizza and no one is the wiser.  I love pizza!  I also love thick, chewy, yeasty crusts.  After searching the world wide web over, I finally found a crust I am satisfied with.  It is very similar to Papa John's hand tossed crust, even though I don't know the first thing about hand tossing.  My few attempts were remarkably similar to an I Love Lucy Episode...  But I digress.  Since I like my crust thick, I expanded the recipe by half.  For a thinner crust, you can go by the original measurements to the right in parentheses.

Pizza Dough

4 1/2 cups white, bread or wheat flour or 1/2 and 1/2 mixture.
 I prefer half bread flour, half wheat. (3c) 
1 1/2 tsp salt       (1 tsp)
2 tsp sugar          (1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 Tbs yeast    (1 Tbs)
3 Tbs vegetable or olive oil   (2 Tbs)
1 3/4 c water         (1 1/4 c)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the water and oil.  Mix well.  Knead in the bowl for 5 minutes or until dough is stretchy without being too sticky. Lightly coat the lump with olive oil.  Cover and let rise for 5 minutes if you are in a hurry.  If you have more time, let rise on the counter 30-45 min. or in the refrigerator several hours (the refrigerator method gives the dough the best flavor.  I usually park it there while we go to church on Sunday evenings.  Just be sure to give the dough time to warm to room temperature.)  Divide the dough between two pans, spread with hands to the edges and let sit 5 more minutes.  You can pre-bake the crust at 450 for 10 minutes, top, then freeze, or top right now, bake for 15-20 minutes and EAT!

Little Caeser's Pizza Sauce

This tastes just like Little Caeser's Crazy Sauce.  And it's sooo easy!

Mix 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can tomato paste, salt, garlic and onion powder, basil and oregano to taste.  A pinch of sugar might be in order, up to you.  Ready to spread or dip!

The topping possibilities are endless... Some of my favorite leftover inspired are:
BBQ - toss leftover bbq meat, chicken or brisket with Bar-b-que sauce.  Add sliced onions, bell peppers and cheese

Fajita- Spread leftover refried beans (mixed with enchilada sauce or salsa, perhaps?) on the bottom, top with cheese, leftover fajita or taco meat and well drained pico de gallo or taco condiments.

Robert, ever the Traditionalist prefers Italian sausage, tomato, onion, bell peppers, olives and jalepenos.

What are your favorite or unusual pizza toppings?