Hello, my name is wisweetp, and I am a pizzaholic.
I'm not sure how--or when--it really happened. I've always loved pizza. As a kid growing up in rural Mississippi, I ate the frozen Totino's and thought they were the greatest thing under the sun (no pizza parlors in the area then). College brought Domino's,
and I managed to plow through at least several dozen in 4 years.
After college came moving to a metropolitan area (and university town) which offered many more options. Papa John's quickly became a favorite with orders placed at least once a month. Then the most wonderful thing happened...a new Italian restaurant
opened a block from my office. They offered pizza by the slice with a host of toppings available. Now THIS was pizza! Hand-tossed crust, crispy and charred on the bottom from a hot brick oven and topped with practically anything you would want. I eagerly
worked my way through the premium toppings....red peppers, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, spinach....loved all of them! And their meatballs...oh my! It was cheap and delicious, and it didn't take long to become one of my favorite places in T-town with lunch
there once a week.
Fast forward a few years to my move north to Wisconsin when I married. More local pizza parlors with great pizza. This time the crust was cracker-thin and crisp. Another new love and visits to them whenever we could fit it into the schedule while spending
time with my husband's young son every weekend and taking care of his ailing mother who lived with us.
I have always loved to cook but never tried pizza at home (believe it or not), thinking it would never be any better than the true pizza parlors we frequented and that I had been to in the past. Boy was I wrong! Several years ago, I happened upon the
brick-oven pizza from the AR site and decided to give it a shot. I made it exactly as the recipe was written the first time, and oh what a revelation that was!! We were blown away by how good a pizza could be at home. I quickly purchased a pizza stone,
and we began our odyssey. We made thin and crispy crust (with King Arthur 00 Italian style flour--HIGHLY recommend!), we made deep dish (Chicago-style), we made the brick oven crispy-chewy style. And we topped it with anything that sounded good. Especially
good were the meatballs from the Succo recipe from this site. Sliced thinly and with onions and peppers, this one was, and is, a favorite. A favorite, too, is the super simple just tomatoes and cheese. For deep dish, pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers,
and mushrooms is the usual. Sometimes we use fresh tomatoes (and fresh mozzarella), sometimes it's canned organic pizza sauce, sometimes it's a quick cooked sauce. And I've begun brushing a butter/olive oil/garlic mixture over the crust before I add the
toppings. It's like eating garlic bread and pizza at the same time, and my husband went wild over that one. Broccoli Raab and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes was another favorite.
I have made pizza crust so many times I can practically do it in my sleep. It's always the same basic recipe for me, but my liquid and flour amounts vary depending on which style I'm after for that day. And semolina flour adds a great crunch and texture,
and I almost always add a bit of that to the dough. It's also better than cornmeal for sprinkling under the dough. Great results and no burning like cornmeal can be prone to do.
And here's my ultimate proof of addiction. When it came time to buy a new stove last year, I used my entire appliance budget so that I could buy a double oven range. And although, I love to cook and bake much of my own bread, it was the pizza that prompted
the double oven! I had already ordered another pizza stone so it was ready and waiting. Those stones are in my ovens full time now. I don't think I could ever bake anything else directly on them since they are permeated with pizza! However, as an aside,
they are great for leaving in the oven to maintain a constant temp when you are baking breads, cakes, etc.
My next splurge will be a brick oven and if I won the lottery today, that would be my first purchase!
I make pizza at LEAST once a week, usually twice. We try to make one of them healthy with lots of veggies and little else and the other might be a splurge, with rich cheese and plenty of meat on my husbands's side. Or I make one for him and one for me,
and enjoy the leftovers.
If you are like us and confirmed pizzaholics, tell me...what are your favorites for crust, sauce, and toppings? And which is your favorite...thin and crispy, deep dish, chewy?
Now I must sign off...time to make the pizza dough! : ) Happy Baking and pizza making!