If you love pizza like I do, then check out a few of my pizza recipes. It's National Cheese Pizza Day. I have my Individual Detroit-Style Pizzas and my Pepperoni Pizza Zucchini Boats and Slices. These are perfect for afternoon snacks when the kids get home from school. So whether you like your sauce and cheese on a crust or on veggies (if trying to cut carbs and gluten), I have you covered.
Individual Detroit-Style Pizza
My favorite pizza is Detroit-style pizza. Authentic Detroit-style crust is thick and has a light and airy inside, yet crispy on the outside. It is similar to Sicilian-style pizza, not Chicago-style. Detroit-style is square and the sauce is ladled on after the pizza is baked. Did you know that we have the auto industry to thank for the square shape? Back in the 40's, those steel pans were used in the auto industry to hold nuts and bolts. That is why it is sometimes referred to as “Blue Pan Pizza”. Gus Guerra discovered the steel pans, when well-oiled, were great heat conductors and helped to caramelize the cheesy crust. And voila, the Detroit-style pizza was born! I like to make individual pizzas and let my family choose their toppings. Toppings can be put on after the cheese.
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 sweet onion, halved, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1½ tablespoons sugar
2⅓ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (95-105°F)
Oil, for greasing bowl
Butter and oil, for greasing pans
32 to 40 pepperoni slices
1½ cups freshly shredded brick cheese
1½ cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut top third off garlic head, and drizzle garlic cloves with ½ tablespoon of oil. Wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet. Place sliced onion on another piece of foil and drizzle with oil. Wrap up and place on baking sheet, next to garlic. Roast in oven for 45 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and increase temperature to 450°F. Open up foil packets, and let garlic and onion cool. In a food processor, add roasted garlic cloves, onion, tomatoes, basil, salt, Italian seasoning, granulated garlic and sugar. Process for 2 to 3 minutes, or until well blended. Add mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and keep warm until ready to ladle over pizza.
In a mixing bowl, add flour and salt.
In a small bowl, add yeast and sugar to warm water and whisk together, vigorously, for 30 seconds. Let sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. After 10 minutes, you will see some foam on top. Stir again and pour into the mixing bowl with flour. (If you don’t see foam, the yeast didn’t activate. Throw water out and start the yeast step over; the water temperature is key.)
To mix by hand: Use a well-oiled wooden spoon, and mix until dough forms into a ball.
To mix using a stand mixer with a dough hook: Mix on low for 5 minutes, or until dough comes together.
Add oil to hands and knead dough on a lightly floured surface, about 15 times, or until elastic. Add some oil to the bowl and place dough back in bowl; cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Lightly butter and oil the bottoms and sides on the inside of 8 mini steel loaf pans. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Press dough into bottom of each pan, but don’t press dough up the sides. The cheese is the crust for the sides. If dough pulls back, it needs to proof longer. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes or more. Proofing the dough longer will result in a better crust. The dough is ready when it easily presses into all 4 corners of the pan.
Arrange pepperoni slices on top of dough, then sprinkle cheeses over top. Make sure to go all the way to the edges with cheese. The sides on the pizza will be a cheese crust. This is when you can add extra toppings, if you wish.
Bake at 450°F for 13 to 15 minutes, depending on toppings.
Remove pizzas from pans, and ladle sauce over top. Garnish with fresh basil.
Another option is to split the dough in half and use two 8-by-10-inch Detroit-style steel pans. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
Brick cheese, which is authentic for Detroit-style pizza, can be hard to find. Feel free to substitute it with sharp white cheddar.
Add extra sugar and/or seasonings to the pizza sauce, depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Pepperoni Pizza Zucchini Boats & Slices
4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound hillbilly sausage (See Note)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided use
1 cup Homemade Pizza Sauce (see above)
¼ cup pepperoni
Fresh basil or oregano, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
MAKE ZUCCHINI BOATS
Using a spoon, scoop out some of the flesh from the inside of each zucchini half (creating a boatlike appearance). Place zucchini boats on a baking sheet and sprinkle the insides with granulated garlic. Transfer zucchini flesh to a cutting board and roughly chop. Set aside.
Add oil, sausage and onion to a skillet, and cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Then add garlic, chopped zucchini flesh, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and ½ cup of mozzarella, then remove from the heat.
Using a slotted spoon, spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats. Add the pizza sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese, then top with pepperoni. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until fork-tender.
Garnish with basil or oregano.
Slice the zucchini into thin rounds and make pizza bites.
To make hillbilly sausage: add sage, salt, red and black pepper to pork sausage.
Larger is not always better when it comes to zucchini. The small to medium zucchinis have more flavor and are less fibrous than larger zucchini.