I consider Pizza a perfect food. In one slice, you combine dairy, vegetables, carbohydrates and protein. And you pick it up with one hand to eat it—no utensils necessary. All right, I use a fork which is contrary to New York pizza etiquette but not that of Naples where pizza was invented and where people use knives and forks to eat it. I am also talking about New York pizza and not, god forbid, the variety that comes out of Chicago which more closely resembles a loaf of bread topped with tomato sauce and cheese. So I bet you can guess my reaction when Bon Appetit published a recipe for pizza you can make in 15 minutes flat. Not even the pizza place a block from our apartment can get it to us in that short a time.
The recipe was perfected by Bon Appetit’s Brad Leone who is the magazine’s kitchen manager. I confess that it took me a couple of times to achieve Mr Leone’s masterpiece. The first time I made it, I used a nine-inch cast iron skillet and an entire 16 oz package of Trader Joe’s pizza dough. This was a terrible mistake because the finished pizza had all the hallmarks of Chicago’s deep dish style—anathema to anyone who has ever tasted pizza in New York, let alone Naples. The next go-round, I used half the package and came up with a reasonably crispy thin-crust. But the real joy here was the ooey gooey cheese and the bright tomato flavor of the topping. Now the only thing that was missing was the Pepperoni. Once that was added, we were pretty close to Pizza Nirvana—especially when we factored in the speed and the cost of our skillet pizza to say nothing of the ease with which it is made.
I broke a couple of house rules with this one. I used store-bought ingredients completely. Trader Joe’s pizza dough was topped with their “Traditional” Marinara sauce, their Shredded Mozzarella and slices of Pepperoni. If you want, you can make your own dough and marinara sauce. You can grate your own mozzarella and slice your own pepperoni. But that sort of flies in the face of a recipe that promises you pizza in 15 minutes.
A couple of notes before we get to the recipe. The 9 inch pizza was enough for two of us mostly because it’s intensely cheesy. You might want to choose a larger skillet for a more family-friendly sized pizza. Secondly, don’t make yourself crazy trying to make the dough into a perfect circle. Just get it to approximately the right size and work with your hands to make it work in the pan. Don’t turn the heat up on the stove too high or you’ll burn the crust. Once it bubbles up a bit, pull it off the heat, add your toppings and put it into the oven. Be very careful taking it out of the oven as the cast iron handle will be extremely hot. Here is the recipe:
15 Minute Skillet Pan Pizza
As good as home pizza can get. Perfect crust topped with luscious tomato sauce and gooey as all get out.
- 1 16 oz. package of fresh pizza dough.
- 2 to 3 oz. Marinara Sauce
- 2 to 3 cups of shredded Mozzarella depending how cheesy you want it to be.
- Pepperoni rounds (Optional)
- Salt and Pepper
- Cornmeal and Flour
- Step 1 Pre-heat the oven to Bake at 525 degrees or as high as it will go.
- Step 2 Add cornmeal and flour to the skillet. The original recipe also mentions adding sugar to the bottom of the skillet “if you’re feeling a little crazy”.
- Step 3 Remove the dough from the packaging, decide how much you want to use, then stretch the dough out, working it into a flattened round.
- Step 4 Set a 9-12″ cast-iron pan over a burner set to medium-high. You want to preheat the pan so it’s hot but not smoking (just watch your hands!) Remember the smaller the pan, the thicker the crust will be. If you must make deep dish-style pizza go for the 9″ and most of the dough. If you want a crispier crust, use a larger pan.
- Step 5 Set the dough snugly in the pan. Pull the sides of the dough up the sides of the pan so it doesn’t slump back down, being sure to distribute the dough evenly for no thin patches. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and let it start cooking over the burner.
- Step 6 Once the dough starts to bubble, season with salt and pepper. Then add 2-3 ounces of marinara sauce. Spread the marinara over the dough, and don’t worry about leaving too much space for a crust. The tomato caramelizes at the edges, making every bite packed with flavor. Top with 2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese, depending on how gooey you want it to be. Then put the Pepperoni on top of the cheese.
- Step 7 Slide the pizza into the pre-heated oven and let it bake for 10 minutes or so. until the cheese is melted, bubbling, and golden. Let it rest a few minutes then serve.