You can make your own dough from scratch, but it’s hardly worth the trouble when so many good pre-made options―like the ready-to-bake dough from Trader Joe’s―abound. For easy handling and shaping, always let refrigerated dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling it out. If the dough becomes stubborn and won’t stretch out, let it rest for five minutes before rolling it again. Parlor trick: For extra flavor, brush the edge of the crust with olive oil a couple of minutes before the pie is done.
Rich and slightly chunky, this sauce has a clean, concentrated tomato flavor that’s perfect for pizza pies because it won’t overwhelm the other ingredients. For the easiest application, scoop the sauce on the dough and then spread it in a thin layer using the back of the spoon. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.
Pesto is a versatile addition to any pizza-maker’s pantry: You can use it in place of tomato sauce on a homemade pie or dollop it on a frozen pie just before baking. Le Grand Garden Pesto’s incredibly fresh-tasting version is redolent of just-picked basil, garlic, and Parmesan. It’s packaged in a unique eco-friendly pouch that extends the refrigerator shelf life of the sauce without the use of additives. And because it’s so compact, it’s also more sustainable: One truckload of pouches can hold the equivalent of 10 truckloads of glass jars.
While delicious in a tomato salad, fresh mozzarella has too much moisture for pizza and will make it soggy. Opt for a drier, pre-packaged variety like Polly-O Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese. Blanket the pizza sauce with the cheese, add toppings, and then sprinkle on a second, thinner cheese layer to hold in the loose ingredients.
To buy: $4.50 for 8 ounces, at select supermarkets.
5 of 7Vermont Smoke and Cure
Vermont Smoke and Cure Smoked Pepperoni
Add some spice to your pie with Vermont Smoke and Cure Smoked Pepperoni. Smoked over corncobs and maple wood embers, the meat has a robust flavor and slow, tasty heat. Bonus: It’s not as oily as other varieties tend to be, so you don’t end up with puddles of grease on your cooked pie.
Although a pizza stone isn’t essential for crafting a great pie, it certainly helps. Pizza stones absorb moisture and hold and distribute heat extremely well, resulting in a drier, crispier crust than you’d get with a baking sheet. (Pizza stones are also great for making breads.) The Williams-Sonoma Pizza Stone is a well-designed pick: The four small legs assure uniform heat exposure while in the oven.
Next time you bake a pizza, use kitchen shears (instead of a rolling cutter) to easily cut the pie into pieces. Comfortable to maneuver and extra-sharp, they let you divide a pie into precise portions. (And if you have kids at your table, there’s no quicker way to cut a slice into bite-size bits.)