By Scott Leysath
The truth is, homemade pizzas are almost always better than those you order from a restaurant or buy frozen at the grocery store. The chance to customize your pizza by topping it with precooked wild duck or goose makes the effort even more rewarding. Pretty much anything worth cooking works on a pizza, including a virtually unlimited selection of cheeses, vegetables, and sauces. My favorite features a thin layer of tomato sauce topped with sliced duck breast grilled medium-rare, diced bell pepper, venison sausage, Parmesan, and mozzarella. For a tangy twist, you can substitute barbecue sauce for tomato sauce. Resist the urge, however, to use too many toppings so the pizza will be crispy and evenly cooked.
Once you have assembled your pizza, place it in a preheated oven set at the highest temperature possible, either directly on a rack or on a pizza pan. For best results, use a pizza stone that has been heating in the oven for an hour or so. Allow the pizza to bake for 6 to 8 minutes. The dough should be evenly browned on the bottom and the cheese should be hot and bubbly.
Easy Pizza Dough
Makes: 2 12-inch pizzas. Learning how to make the dough is the key to building a good pizza. The process is simple and takes about an hour. You can also make the dough a day in advance to save prep time on pizza night.
- 1 cup warm (not hot) water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
[Step 1] Pour warm water into a bowl and stir in yeast and sugar. Place in a warm area and let stand for five minutes. The yeast mixture should foam up and increase in volume. If not, start over, making sure the yeast is alive and the water isn't too hot or too cold.
[Step 2] Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the yeast mixture with a fork until the dough starts to form. Using your hands, continue to work the dough until it is just a tad sticky and uniform in consistency—smooth but not too dry or too wet. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour. Too dry? More water, but just a little at a time.
[Step 3] Shape the dough into a ball, drizzle some olive oil over the top, and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Place the dough in a warm location and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes. The dough should increase in size. Place the dough ball on a floured work surface and knead it for five minutes. Separate the dough in half to make two pizza crusts. Roll out each dough ball into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
Cooking Pizza on a Grill
Pizzas can also be cooked on an outdoor grill. Prior to adding the toppings, place the rolled dough on a hot, well-oiled grill for a few minutes to lightly brown one side. Flip it over, add your toppings, and continue to cook until the cheese has melted.