I used to make homemade pizza a lot. And then life got busy with teenagers and dinner prep time got shorter around 5 o’clock each night. I just didn’t have the time anymore to make my regular thin-crust pizza. The counters get too messy and I have to heat the pizza stones for nearly an hour. Then I discovered this Pepperoni Pan Pizza recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook last week.
Oh blessed day! I’m back to making pizza on weeknights. Yes, the dough has to be made with yeast so it still has to rise, which takes time, but I made this again last night, got the dough made, drove my daughter to her ukulele lesson, came home and finished it off. So it’s doable on a weeknight as long as you are somewhat around. The kids love it, I love that I usually have all these ingredients on hand, and I love the minimal cleanup compared to regular pizza making.
I do have to double the recipe for my family of five. We eat about 3 of the pizzas and save one for snacks the next day. Pfff, teenagers.
The dough is what makes this recipe killer. It is chewy and crispy at the same time. Yes, it is a little thicker because it is pan pizza, but it’s not bready and dry. It has a great crispy chew. I’ve only found that same chew on deep dish pan pizza in Chicago.
The first time I made it we didn’t have any pepperoni but I did have a package of fresh basil so that’s what we topped them with.
I’m just so happy I found this recipe. Pizza on a weeknight. Yes.
Pepperoni Pan Pizza Printable Version click here
Makes 2 9-inch pizzas (I double this for my family of 5)
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for greasing pans)
¾ cup skim milk plus 2 additional tablespoons, warmed to 110 degrees
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 package)
¾ teaspoon table salt
Basic pizza sauce: Cook 1 clove garlic in 1 T. olive oil in a saucepan until fragrant—don’t burn the garlic! Add a 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes until thickened.
3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Turn oven to 200 degrees, then turn off once that temperature is reached. Mix milk, sugar, and oil in measuring cup. Mix flour, yeast, and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium-low and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter, gently shape into ball, and place in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Coat two 9-inch cake pans with 1 ½ tablespoons of oil each.
To shape and top the dough: Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and lightly roll each half into ball. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll and shape dough into 9 1/2-inch round and press into oiled pan. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter about 20 minutes until dough is puffy. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the pepperoni between paper towels on a plate and microwave about 30 seconds. This gets rid of lots of that pepperoni grease that usually just leaves pizza with an oil slick.
Remove plastic wrap from dough. Ladle sauce on each pizza, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with 1 1/2 cups cheese and top with pepperoni. Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is browning around edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute. Using spatula, transfer pizzas to cutting board and cut each into 8 wedges. Serve.