I crave pizza. I crave it on Friday night, because we always had family pizza night on Friday night. I crave it when I go to an Italian restaurant, drizzled with those dried chili flakes and doused in extra olive oil. I crave it the morning after… a cold slice of pizza beats a fast food cheeseburger every time….. just sayin’.
I have a pizza history. My first date with hubby was over pizza at Mario’s. His half piled high with meats, mine daintily dotted with veggies (it was my vegetarian period)! My pizza obsession has roots. For those of you that remember the days before delivery, you might remember pizza made to order and “pre-baked”. Mom would order from the local shop and then pile us into the car to pick up the pizza. The ride home took so much longer than the ride to, because we had to smell that wonderful sauce without digging into a slice. The torture went on. Mom had to preheat the oven and then bake the pizza. Perhaps that’s the reason for the craving. The promise of that pizza went on and on making that first bite…. well, just sublime!
A further step towards my addiction happened when I was a vulnerable teen. (Perhaps I mean a coming into one’s own teen.) You know the one, the teen that first gets out from under the parental thumb and high tail’s it right into a group of pals that “hangs”. Well, our hangout was this cool pizza joint called Sir Pizza in Fort Lauderdale during the heyday of Spring Break! We’d meet there for lunch (seniors had the privilege of leaving the high school campus for lunch), after school (on those days when the cafeteria offered something we liked) and on weekends before and after games. It was a lot of pizza. But this is the cool thing. Sir Pizza cut their pies into small squares instead of triangular wedges. Sheer genius!
A bunch of us could scrape together enough money for a large pizza and all still manage to have a bite. To this day, I cut my homemade pizza into smaller squares. Not so that a bunch of people can have a bite, it’s more about me having lots of pieces over a twenty-four hour time period; hot out of the oven, cold for breakfast and heated up for lunch. It is an obsession!
We’ve come a long way since that pre-baked, tortuous wait. Now, I make pizza at home in just minutes using the ingredients that I keep on hand.
This Wewalka’s classic pizza crust is an awesome prepared one that goes into my recipe – but you can use whatever brand you want : ) If you are a Publix shopper, they do a great crust. You’ll find it in the bakery section. Wewalka’s is in the Public dairy aisle.
Jorj’s Old-Fashioned Square Pizza
30 minute cuisine
Serves a crowd or one person for days on end
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 roll prepared pizza crust
Homemade or prepared pizza sauce
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
Any veggie you have on hand OR for meat lover’s pizza: peperoni, sausage, bacon and meatballs, slice all into very small pieces
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
Dried chili flakes
Preheat oven to 500°. Use a giant sheet pan and drizzle it with olive oil. Unroll or roll your crust, stretching it out to fit the pan. Place the crust into the pan to coat with olive oil and then flip it to coat the other side. This helps to get that crispy crust on the bottom.
Spread the crust with home made or prepared pizza sauce. Top this with shredded mozzarella cheese. Top the pizza with every veggie you can find, or, if you intend to share with a meat lover, top the crust with pepperoni, cooked sausage, bacon and meatballs.
Chop all of the pizza toppings into small pieces, sprinkling the meats over the cheese and sauce. This allows you to easily cut the baked pizza into squares.
Top meats with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, thin slices of red onion, dried oregano, dried chili flakes and another drizzle of olive oil.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until those cheeses melt, and the crust is golden brown. Let the pizza rest for a couple of minutes and then cut into two-inch squares. Cravings satisfied…for a couple of days anyway!!!!!