New York has terrific pizza on most corners: the accessible, economical, and easily-transported dollar slice is of one the city’s defining features. Inspired by our pizza-laden surroundings, we whipped up three simple pizzas of our own that rival even the best corner slice. Don’t worry about fussing over the dough if you’re not in the mood. Store-bought options, like those at Trader Joe’s, are a great solution. Another option is to buy your crust directly from a pizza shop. Most places will pinch off a bit of their dough if you ask nicely. So now, we bestow upon you the knowledge to create three show-stopping pies in your own kitchen. Go forth and pizza!

Pizza Dough (recipe from Food 52)
3-4 hours prep time

2 teaspoons dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold water
¼ cup olive oil
Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes.
Divide dough into 2 equal disks (or 4, if you would like small pizzas.) Let rest 30 minutes before shaping. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands, stretch the disks out to 10″ shapes.

Brussels Sprout and balsamic onion pizza (adapted from Cookie and Kate)
25 min prep time | 15-20 min cook time

Balsamic onions
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion
Pinch red pepper flakes
Dash salt
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Brussels sprouts
8 ounces (1/2 pound) Brussels sprouts
1½ to 2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pizza
1 batch pizza dough above or TJ’s store bought
1½ to 2 cups mozzarella, sliced into rounds
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the Brussels by slicing off the tough ends and throwing away or composting them. Use your fingers to pull off the individual leaves around the outside, then trim off the newly exposed tough end, and continue until you have broken the sprout into leaves. Repeat for about half of the Brussels sprouts, then slice the rest into thin slices from top to bottom. Toss with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside.

To prepare the onions, slice thinly, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a dash of salt. Toss to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the onions are nice and soft. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Continue cooking, uncovered, for a few more minutes, until the balsamic vinegar has condensed and mostly absorbed into the onions. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Lightly flour one of the pizza rounds and work it gently into a sheet tray shape. Sprinkle your sheet tray with polenta or cornmeal and spread pizza dough to fill.
Top the dough with an even layer of onions, followed by mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the brussels sprouts on top, then finish with a sprinkling of Pecorino Romano.

Transfer pizza to the lower level of the oven. Bake until the crust is golden, the cheese is bubbly and the brussels sprouts are crispy on the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes. Top the pizza with a light sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes if you’d like, then slice and serve.

Potato and Baby Broccoli Pizza (adapted from Food 52)
30-40 min prep time | 15-20 min cook time

1 batch pizza dough above or TJ’s store bought
1 large potato, very thinly sliced
½ pound baby broccoli
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Arrange potatoes in one layer on a baking tray. Bake until edges begin to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Increase oven temperature to 475 F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add baby broccoli and blanch 30 seconds; drain. Plunge broccoli into a bowl of ice water. Cool and drain again. Lay in one layer on a kitchen towel to thoroughly dry. Cut in 2″ pieces.
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté briefly, 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté one minute. Remove from heat. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Arrange one layer mozzarella cheese over crusts. Top with one layer of potatoes and broccoli rabe. Sprinkle one tablespoon rosemary over each crust. Top with grated Pecorino cheese.

Lightly flour one of the pizza rounds and work it gently into a sheet tray shape. Sprinkle your sheet tray with polenta or cornmeal and spread pizza dough to fill.
Bake on lowest rack in oven until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Classic Margherita Pizza
10 min prep time | 15-20 min cook time

1 batch pizza dough above or TJ’s store bought
½ to ¾ cup red tomato sauce
½ cup each of mozzarella, pecorino romano and ricotta (or whatever cheeses you have)
1 handful basil leaves, ripped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Lightly flour one of the pizza rounds and work it gently into a sheet tray shape. Sprinkle your sheet tray with polenta or cornmeal and spread pizza dough to fill. Layer on all other ingredients and bake at 425 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.


Photo: Don Eim

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