We recently acquired a new roommate named "Basil" that now sits on top of the desk I'm typing this from.

At first we thought he might suffer the same fate as "Leggy Succulent" and "Rose" due to various potential circumstances--low lighting, too much water, too little water, weird mold situation in the apartment, and/or my aura of death and suffering--but he made it through the first week where we thought we might have lost him, and he's doing super well these days. I got him because I'd been craving margherita pizza and the grocery store didn't have cut basil on hand, only fully-grown plants (???), so into our home he came.

The pizza was great, but Basil is doing a little too well and growing so quickly. I can't eat pizza every day, so I'm not seeking recipes that can handle his prunings but not also be paired with so much cheese. Only things that come to mind are pesto and caprese salad. I made some Vietnamese spring rolls with him too though, and that was pretty good. Anyway, onto pizza...


Ingredients

  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup water @ 110F/45C
  • 2.5 c bread flour (I tried this with all-purpose in an earlier test run, and it was fine. Bread flour was tastier and more pizza-like IMO.)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + more in pan
  • Not pictured: whatever toppings you like (marinara sauce, tomato, basil, and mozzarella for margherita!)

Methodology

Put your cast-iron in the oven and preheat to 500F. It's going to get hot in here.

While that's going, prep the dough by combining flour and salt in a big bowl.

Off to the side, wake up the yeast by combining the sugar, yeast, and water. Wait around 10 minutes for it to start getting frothy at the top.

When the yeast is ready to party, toss it into the flour mixture, along with the oil.

Mix it to combine and start kneading until things look smooth.

In an early trial, I found that using the dough for a single pizza created a very thick crust (tasty, but generally not a fan-favorite), so if you are a thin-crust person and want to turn your effort here into double the number of pizzas, you can split the dough off into two balls at this point.

1=1 and 1=2, wow. I like to let this rest for 20 minutes or so or whenever the oven is finally ready.

While you wait, it's a good time to clean up and prep your toppings.

Roll out the dough into a disc that will fit your skillet.

To prevent air pockets, i like to dock the dough, as you would with pie crust. Grab a fork and start stabbing it all around.

Now it's time to assemble and bake. You'll need to work quickly and carefully because you want to keep the cast iron as hot as possible.

Pull the cast iron out and drizzle olive oil in the pan. Add the dough, fold over any edges as crust, spoon some sauce over, and add the toppings.

Throw it back into the oven for 12-15 minutes.

Result

Super and easy, and once you make the dough, you can keep it in the fridge or freeze it to whip out for a speedy meal. All it'll take is preheat + a minute of assembly + bake time for something fresh and hot out the oven.

We did another round with pepperoni (classic), and I'd like to do a breakfast version inspired by a college half-price late-night pizza place that had a pancetta + quail egg pizza...ugh, so good.