I hope someone accidentally read that title as “Skrillex Pizza.”
On Sunday afternoon, Erich and I decided to make some pizza. Homemade or partially homemade pizza had always been a mediocre experience for me, but we had both read about cooking pizza in a cast iron skillet instead, so we thought we would give it a whirl. We loosely worked off of a recipe from the food blog Macheesmo.
We went to the store and got TONS of supplies. Of course, the only really “necessary” ones were pizza dough (the refrigerated dough, not the pre-made crust), pizza sauce, and cheese. But we got really excited and took Whole Foods by storm.
The first step is to set the oven to 450 degrees F.
Prep all of the ingredients – pull everything out, slice up what you need to, and grab your tools. Cast iron skillets are worth the investment, even though they are annoyingly heavy (in case anyone is reading and wants to get me an awesome holiday gift!). They can move from stove top to oven and heat the food inside very evenly, which is perfect for a pizza.
Put the skillet on the stove, add just a little oil to it, and wipe the oil around so that it coats the bottom.
Pull out the dough and kneed it a little to warm it up. Place the dough in the skillet and kneed it around, making sure you form some high sides that can be rolled in slightly to form the crust.
Then add in your ingredients. Since we were using a whole ball of dough from the store, we knew that it was meant for a larger pizza and would allow us to make a deep dish one in the smaller circumference of the skillet. If you are making a deep dish pizza, layer on your cheese and toppings first and put the sauce on the very top. This order will keep the infrastructure of the pizza intact (we’re getting all architectural up in here).
For the first pizza you make, you want to put the skillet on the stove and cook the pizza on a high heat there for about four minutes (which really just prepares the pan for the oven, as far as I can tell). Then pick up the skillet and place in the oven.
For the first pizza, it will take about 18 minutes to cook (the subsequent ones will cook faster, so you don’t need to do the stove pre-heat and they will cook in about 14 minutes).
Once the pizza looks good, pull it out of the oven and let it sit in the skillet for a moment. Then, using one or two spatulas, hoist the pizza up and transfer to a large plate. Cut into slices and serve!
We made three pizzas: basil and prosciutto, andouille sausage, and large crust andouille sausage. All included garlic, basil, mozzarella, and tomato sauce.
Some tips we discovered while cooking:
- Remember that the skillet is HOT. Just because it has a handle doesn’t mean you can grab it without a mitt. You’d be amazed at how easy that is to forget when hot beautiful pizza clouds your judgment.
- In connection with the skillet being hot – after each pizza you make, you want to let the skillet cool down a little bit before you throw in the dough for the next one (at least five minutes). You also want to stretch the dough out a bunch before you put it in the hot skillet – it will be more difficult to kneed it around, since the dough will start to cook on the bottom right away.
- Skillet pizza is best as a deep dish pizza. You don’t want the crust to be too thin for this pizza, otherwise it becomes very difficult to pull it out of the skillet without making a huge mess.
- If you can thicken up your sauce somehow, that would make a really great difference. If you are making a homemade sauce, err on the thicker side. If you are using a canned sauce, try to cook the sauce ahead of time without a lid to boil off some of the water, or add some tomato paste to the can and mix it up.