Apparently, Little Caesar's still exists? I think on the West coast? Maybe Midwest, too? Weird.... it's been dead a LOOONNNGGG time here on the East side. And yet, I still think of their commercials. Yay advertising.
This is the BEST pizza you will ever make at home.* BEST! EVER! Trust me, I would not lead you astray. ...at least, not in terms of food.
We had seen a technique for pizza cooking on The Atlantic involving a cast-iron skillet, and I must say, I won't be making pizza ANY other way. Ever. Except, maybe on the grill. Because, well, it's the grill.
Anyways, here's the lowdown:
1) Heat cast-iron for 8 minutes on the stove over high heat. Set oven to High Broil.
2) Slide assembled pizza onto skillet & pop into oven.
3) After 45-60seconds, turn skillet 180degrees & cook another 45-60seconds.
4) Remove. Slice. Devour.
AND THAT'S IT! Seriously, in 10 minutes you can have a fantastic pizza ready and in your greedy, little hands. It's taking every ounce of restraint I have not to make this again tonight.
AND IT GETS A CHAR ON THE BOTTOM! Just like real pizza!!!
As for the actual assembling of the pizza:
1) The Sauce - canned whole tomatoes pulsed in food processor. Salt. Sugar. Oregano. (Apparently, canned are preferable to fresh? Unless you are doing slices instead of a sauce... don't ask me why. Someone with MUCH more time on his hands figured this out)
2) The Cheese - mozzarella, sliced thinly. You'll want to lay the slices on/between paper towels for a while beforehand to soak up any excess moisture (this excess moisture will boil away, leaving you with ricotta-esque mozzarella.)
3) The Dough - we just used Giant's ready-to-use whole wheat pizza dough (found by the deli counter, usually in the same island as the fancy cheeses.) Cut the ball in half- PERFECT for 2 skillet-sized pizzas. Pull or roll the pizza in anyway you can to the desired shape/size.
4) The Toppings - don't go too crazy & overload, or else it won't cook through. Our first (un-pictured**) pizza was a margherita (sauce, mozz., basil.) Our second one had sliced pancetta and sauteed mushrooms in addition to the sauce, cheese & basil.
TIP: Don't assemble until you are almost ready to put on the skillet. You don't want to leave the sauce setting on the dough, which would result in a soggy pie.
TIP: The logistics of getting fully-assembled-pizza from your working surface to the skillet intact are interesting. We ended up using a very flat, no-lipped*** plate as a pseudo-pizza paddle. So, after flouring both the plate and the bottom of the dough very well, we put the dough on the plate and assembled. Gently shake the plate to loosen the dough (it should slide around on the plate.) Then, when it's Go! time, one shakes/slides the pizza off the plate while the other uses a spatula to guide the front end.
TIP: The Giant grocery stores around here usually carry regular & whole wheat pizza dough, but Safeway doesn't. Trader Joe's also carries their own dough, and may have some more flavors to choose from, (like garlic & herb!) However, if a favorite local pizza joint has a crust you love? Call & see if they sell dough balls. One of life's little-known-facts is that many pizza shops will sell you their dough for a cheap price. Take advantage of this! I've always had luck with this, though I've never asked a pizza chain.
But seriously, what are you waiting for???!?!
*This is akin to the Neapolitan-style pizza, (though I'm not claiming I can MAKE Neapolitan pizza.) If you don't like Neapolitan pizza, then I don't like you. There. I said it.
**Un-pictured because I didn't have my camera and we gobbled up the first one in 2.5 seconds. It was so good, I decided to use my phone to take photos of the second one. Sorry for the quality.
***I don't take no lip from my plates! Lest they get the smackdown!!