This is a recipe loosely based on one presented by Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network. His recipe was great, but I wanted more toppings to properly fill a 12″ cast-iron skillet. My version is in between a thin-crust and deep dish pizza with a wonderful smoked Gouda-stuffed crust.
On my first attempt, the kitchen smoke alarm went off six times, the cat hid in the basement, and the crust was slightly burnt. Lesson learned. Every oven cooks differently — and knowing how blistering hot cast-iron gets, my next attempt will be at 475°F for 20 minutes, with no preheat on the crust. I’ll update ya’ll on my progress. Overall, it had great flavor, and an intense, rich, smokey undertone from the gouda cheese. I stressed over making pizza dough from scratch for the first time, but it was easy.
This is a winning recipe. Enjoy!
For the Dough:
2 cups bread flour
1.5 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. breadmaker yeast
3/4 cup warm water + 2 tbs. (115°F)
1 tsp. honey
1 tbs. XV olive oil
For the Pizza Sauce:
2 tbs. XV olive oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne chili pepper flakes, to taste
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 can 8 oz. Contadina® tomato sauce
4-5 chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt, and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
For the Crust:
4 tbs. XV olive oil
White flour, for flouring the dough surface
4 oz. premium smoked Gouda cheese, cut into 2″ x 1/2″ slices
Cornmeal for dusting the pan
1/4 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
1 Johnsonville® mild Italian sausage, casing removed, fried until no longer pink, crumbled and drained of fat
Premium Volpi® pepperoni sausage slices – 12-14, enough to cover the pizza
2-4 oz. premium smoked Gouda cheese, 1/4″ cubed, as preferred
1/4 cup black olives, thinly sliced and blotted dry
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 sliced red bell pepper
6-10 fresh basil leaves rough-chopped
3 large Cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced and sauteed in 2 tbs. XV olive oil for five minutes
4 oz. shredded hard Parmesan cheese
Prepare the pizza dough by adding 2 cups bread flour, kosher salt, yeast, honey and olive oil to a food processor with a dough blade.
Turn on the processor and gradually add the warm water until the dough pulls away from the sides of the work bowl. In my Breville Sous Chef processor, it only takes one minute.
Remove the dough and place on a sheet of nonstick baker’s parchment paper that has been sprinkled lightly with flour. Knead gently for one minute. Place in a greased mixing bowl covered with a damp, warm towel, and let stand for one hour. I prefer to let the dough rise in my oven with the oven light on. This is a great technique when temperatures are cooler in the winter.
Preparing the Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the chili flakes and minced garlic. Saute for five minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t scorch. Add the tomato puree and basil. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Shut off the heat.
Preparing the Pizza Crust: Preheat oven to 475 or 500°F. Grease a heavy, 12″ cast-iron pan with 2 tbs. XV olive oil. Dust the bottom of the pan with a bit of cornmeal to prevent the crust from sticking.
When the pizza dough has doubled in size, punch down, then roll out on parchment paper or a floured counter top into a 14″ circle (see note below.) Carefully place in the cast-iron pan. Press the dough into the corners of the pan to prevent air pockets from forming and leave about one inch overhang for the next step. Add sliced Gouda cheese around the perimeter of the dough, and then fold and crimp the dough over the cheese, forming a rolled crust. Brush the rim of the crust with the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil. Sprinkle the rim very lightly with kosher salt.
Add the prepared pizza sauce to the center of the dough and spread out evenly with a large spoon. DO NOT over sauce, or the crust will be soggy. Layer the toppings, finishing off with the remaining Gouda and grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake as instructed, 475-500°F, for 20 minutes, watching the crust carefully. Remove from heat, let stand for fifteen minutes in the pan to set*, and then cut and serve.
3/12/16 UPDATE: Made a second pie and cooked it at 475°F for 20 minutes. Crust came out PERFECT. Results shown below. Experiment and have fun!
NOTE: When rolling the pizza dough, you need to give it time for the glutens to relax and reduce their elasticity. If you try immediately rolling the dough to the full diameter needed, you will tear it and not get a circular shape. After punching down the dough, roll it out into an eight to ten-inch circle. Flip over and allow to rest on the work surface for five minutes. Repeat this step after rolling it larger. Repeat again to get the final size with a bit of excess for the rolled crust. This process takes a bit more time, but your crust will be very even and easier to work with.
*Finally, the more vegetables you add, the more rendered liquid you will have in the final product. If your pizza comes out soggy, even after standing for 15 minutes, reduce the amount of peppers, onions and mushrooms. They all have very high water content.