Every week, Bon Appetit associate editor Christina Chaey writes about what she’s cooking right now. Pro tip: If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get the scoop before everyone else.
Dear Healthyish friends,
I miss restaurants in general, but I especially miss restaurant pizza: beautifully puffy, too hot to eat immediately, with big, charred bubbles that shatter at the touch. And if you’ve ever made DIY pizza, you know it’s…very-hard-to-impossible to recreate it at home.
But as long as you’re not trying to turn out Roberta’s-quality pies, pizza night is simple enough to pull off (on a weeknight, no less!)—you just need a plan and a few staples. Here’s how a group of friends and I went about it on a recent Tuesday night.
The first issue was figuring out the dough, which I was more than happy to pass to my friend Alex, an extraordinary home bread-baker. She slow-fermented a batch of sourdough pizza dough, then shaped the dough into five small pies and par-baked them until they were firm but not quite cooked through. And then she somehow figured out how to stack all the pies on top of one another and bike them over to my stoop. Hero.
Meanwhile, I cranked my own oven to 500°F so that I could get the pies in the oven as soon as I finished topping them. I thawed some extra pizza sauce I’d frozen when I cross-tested Sarah Jampel’s new Vegetarian Pan Pizza With Lots of Greens, which is a great, not-scary baking project to take on if you conquered your fear of yeast by making Basically’s No-Knead Focaccia. (You could use either recipe to make the dough for your own DIY pies.)
Our friend Zach brought an assortment of toppings (black olives, mushrooms, spicy soppressata, arugula, ricotta) that I combined to make four different pies, plus a side of garlicky breadsticks. Each pie got a drizzle of good olive oil, grated parm, a few grinds of black pepper, and a sprinkle of crunchy Jacobsen Salt Co. flakes. (I keep a Chef’s Jar in the pantry and set a tiny bowl of it out on my counter for everyday use.) As the pies came out of the oven, I cut them into big slices and slid them onto sheet trays to bring out to the stoop.
Some pie inspo for ya:
Tomato sauce + mozzarella + sautéed mushrooms + thinly shaved garlic cloves + big chunks of torn jarred artichokes
Tomato sauce + grated parm; after pie is cooked, top with mature arugula + mixed soft herbs (e.g. fennel fronds, dill, basil, parsley, mint) tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
Tomato sauce + mozzarella + spicy soppressata + black olives + thinly shaved white onion; after pie is cooked, top with torn fresh basil + grated parm
Ricotta seasoned with lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper + chopped preserved lemons; after pie is cooked, top with chopped fennel fronds + drizzles of honey + Xi’an Famous Foods chili oil
Brush a mix of melted butter + grated garlic + chopped parsley onto one pie sliced into long breadsticks; sprinkle breadsticks with grated parm and bake at 350°F until warmed through and crisp.