(Recipes at the end of post)
Last night we were blessed to have most of my side of the family here for supper. My sister and one of my brothers were here with their families, so there were 14 hungry pizza-eaters around the table. In shifts, of course. I don’t have that big a table.
My husbands grilled pizza was requested, and since these family gatherings are few and far between, we accommodated that request. Greg and I discussed at length the logistics of feed 14 people homemade grilled pizzas since we have the one grill and the one 12” pizza stone. It meant he would be stuck outside in the hot heat (heat index was over 100°) grilling pizza after pizza while the rest of us were inside feasting. He was okay with that, I think so he could have some time to himself, and because he loves homemade grilled pizza and wanted to share that with my very appreciative family.
My sister came over for the afternoon and we devised our strategy for making the dough and prepping the toppings. For 14 of us, including two young adults and three pre-teens, three of those of the boy persuasion, we decided to make 8 pizzas. My dough recipe makes enough for two, so we threw together four batches of it and while it rose, we made our menu and prepped our toppings. (Menu written by my sister with a purple crayon. That’s just how we roll.)
Each of the eight pizzas was different, but the foundation was the same with rolling the dough, transfer to the pizza peel after dusting both crust and peel with corn meal, a light brush of olive oil, then a sprinkle of Parmesan. After that, toppings were added, then the cheese. A plain pepperoni, a couple that were just vegetables, the rest had meat and veggies in various combinations. We used homemade red sauce and homemade garlic cream sauce, except for the pulled pork barbecue. The ones marked “red” were straightforward, sauce, meat/veg, mozzarella cheese. The chicken and prime rib pizzas used garlic cream sauce. Oh, that is good! We also added torn fresh basil leaves to about half of the pies. Greg cooked each one on his egg-shaped grill, and they came off hot and crispy, melty and gooey. Each one took about 8-10 minutes. As he cooked one pizza, Tonita and I built the next.
I want to talk about the barbecue pizza. Greg made pulled pork for 4th of July, and we used some of the leftover meat for this pizza. He gave me very specific instructions for building this one. Same base of dough brushed with olive oil, sprinkle of Parm, then sprinkle of shredded cheddar. On top of that, the pork, then the barbecue sauce (we like JB’s Fatboy Haugwash). He likes a layer of dill pickle chips, I like some red onion, then more cheddar, and a little mozzarella. It’s hot and gooey and I like it better than pulled pork sandwiches.
There were several leftover pieces for them to take home to feed the masses lunch today. We also had green salad, potato salad, green beans fresh from the garden, fresh fruit, jalapeno popper dip, super-delicious cake that Grace made to practice her 4-H entry, and assorted beverages. It was a feast.
I’m including the recipes we use for the sauces and crust. Enjoy!
Super Easy Pizza Dough (makes 2-12” pizzas)
1 C lukewarm water (I use hot tap water)
¼ C olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 packet instant dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
½ tsp. salt
3 C flour
In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in the water with olive oil and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. Add the flour and salt and knead in the mixer until a nice dough ball forms and there is nothing left sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, turning crust to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour or so, until at least doubled in size. After the dough is risen, divide in half. Roll out half on a floured surface and make your pizza.
This dough can be frozen after rising and dividing. Seal in airtight container or zipper bag and freeze. To use after freezing, thaw, then roll out, add toppings and bake.
The original recipe does not list baking temp or time. We usually grill our pizzas at 500+°F for 8 – 10 minutes. In the oven, I do 450° for 15 minutes.
Garlic Cream Sauce
1½ Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
½ C heavy cream
¼ C 2% milk
¼ C grated Parmesan cheese
Generous pinch of salt (check before you salt this – it might not need it)
Generous pinch black pepper
Small pinch red chili flakes
Melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Add minced/grated garlic (I use a microplane), and stir. Turn heat to med/med-high and add cream and milk. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Add cheese and seasonings and continue stirring. Once sauce is thickened, remove from heat.
(I usually have to add 1-2 tsps cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp cold water, stir, then simmer til thickened.)
Red Pizza Sauce
(based on recipe in Jessica Fisher’s “Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook”)
¼ C olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
One 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil (or 1 Tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
One 6 oz. can tomato paste
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook briefly. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, pepper flakes. Let simmer 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook 3 minutes. Let cool.
This sauce freezes nicely. I portion into tiny jars and chill in the frig overnight before freezing. Thaw in the frig. One batch makes enough sauce for several pizzas.