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COOKING | Magazine

Recipes: Three pizzas you can make from scratch

Try inverted pizza with onions, potatoes, and thyme. Or have a party and make shrimp and lemony ricotta pizzas with baby arugula, or salami and smoked mozzarella.

Inverted Pizza With Onions, Potatoes, and Thyme.
Inverted Pizza With Onions, Potatoes, and Thyme.Connie Miller of CB Creatives
Logo for magazine's cooking column w/ Christopher Kimball and cooks of Milk Street.

A surprise ingredient makes it easy to have pizza night at home — on any night. Tangy Greek yogurt is the star of this supple food processor dough that’s easy to work with and bakes up with a chewy-soft crumb and subtle richness. Our sheet-pan-style pizza comes topped with crushed tomatoes, cheese, salami, and fresh sage. The crust of an inverted pizza bakes up crispy in the oven over a bed of cooked onions, potatoes, and thyme.

And a lemony ricotta spread adds rich brightness to a shrimp pizza with baby arugula. If you need a shortcut, store-bought refrigerated pizza dough, brought to room temperature, would be great with any of these combinations.

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Flatbread (Pizza) Dough

Makes two 12-inch pizzas or flatbreads

For convenience, the dough can be made a day in advance. After dividing it in half and forming each piece into a round, place each portion in a quart-size zip-close bag that’s been misted with cooking spray, then seal well and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before shaping.

When mixing the dough in the food processor, it needs a full minute of processing to build the gluten that provides structure and strength. When done, the dough may be warm to the touch; this is normal.

1¾ cups (241 grams) bread flour, plus more for dusting

1½ teaspoons instant yeast

¾ teaspoon table salt

¾ cup plain whole-milk, Greek-style yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

In a food processor, combine the flour, yeast, and salt, then process until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the yogurt, honey, and ¼ cup water. Process until the mixture forms a ball, about 30 seconds; the dough should be tacky to the touch and should stick slightly to the sides of the bowl. If it feels too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until incorporated. Continue to process until the dough is shiny and elastic, about 1 minute.

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Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter. Flour your hands and knead the dough a few times, until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a taut ball by rolling it against the counter in a circular motion under a cupped hand. Space the balls about 6 inches apart on a lightly floured counter, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, 1 to 1½ hours.

About 1 hour before baking, heat the oven to 500 degrees with a baking steel or stone on the upper-middle rack. Working one at a time, gently stretch each ball on a lightly floured counter to an oval approximately 6 inches wide and 12 inches long. The dough is now ready to top and bake.

Inverted Pizza With Onions, Potatoes, and Thyme

Makes 4-6 servings

In Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, coauthors Katie Parla and Kristina Gill write about pizza that’s made using an innovative method perfected by Gabriele Bonci of Pizzarium in Rome. Called pizza al contrario, it’s pizza turned on its head. The “toppings” are put into a pan, covered with dough, and baked. Once out of the oven, the pie is inverted, revealing ingredients that have melded with the dough, and the browned crust that formed on top during baking becomes a wonderfully crisp bottom, no pizza stone required.

Don’t worry if the rolled dough is a little smaller than the baking sheet. When it’s laid on top of the hot vegetables, it will relax, making it easier to stretch.

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2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, sliced 1/8- to ¼-inch thick

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Flatbread (Pizza) Dough or 1½ pounds store-bought refrigerated pizza dough, at room temperature

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Heat the oven to 500 degrees with a rack in the lowest position. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together the onions, potatoes, thyme, honey, 3 tablespoons of oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Distribute the mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake without stirring until the onions begin to brown and the potatoes are softened but not yet fully cooked, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a well-floured counter, gently stretch the dough by hand or roll it with a rolling pin into a rough 12-by-16-inch rectangle (the same dimensions as the baking sheet); work from the center outward to help ensure the dough is of an even thickness. If it is resistant or shrinks after stretching or rolling, wait 5 to 10 minutes before trying again; if it is very elastic, you may need to give it 2 or 3 rests. It’s fine if the dough rectangle is a little smaller than the baking sheet.

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When the onion-potato mixture is ready, remove the baking sheet from the oven; leave the oven on. Using both hands and being careful not to touch the hot baking sheet, lay the dough over the vegetables, gently stretching and tucking in the edges as needed so the dough fills the baking sheet and covers the vegetables. Brush the surface with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then use a fork to poke holes every 2 to 3 inches all the way through the dough. Bake until the surface is well browned, 15 to 17 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately invert a wire rack onto the baking sheet. Using pot holders or oven mitts, hold the baking sheet and rack together and carefully flip to invert. Lift off the baking sheet. Using a metal spatula, scrape up any onion-potato mixture clinging to the baking sheet and put it on the pizza. Dollop with the ricotta, cut into pieces, and drizzle with additional oil.

Pizza With Salami and Smoked Mozzarella.
Pizza With Salami and Smoked Mozzarella.Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Pizza With Salami and Smoked Mozzarella

Makes 4-6 servings

This sheet-pan pizza is great for a weeknight: It can be made with store-bought dough and baked in a single batch without a pizza stone. Feel free to substitute scamorza cheese or regular (not fresh) mozzarella for the smoked mozzarella, and pepperoni for the salami.

It’s important to bring the dough to room temperature before beginning. Cold dough is resistant to stretching and also bakes up with a denser crumb. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, give the dough 30 to 60 minutes to lose its chill. And be sure to oil the baking sheet as directed, first with cooking spray, then with olive oil. The olive oil adds flavor to the bottom crust and helps it crisp.

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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand

Kosher salt

Flatbread (Pizza) Dough or 1½ pounds store-bought, refrigerated pizza dough, at room temperature

6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, broken into small pieces by hand or shredded (1½ cups)

2 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami (10 to 12 slices)

10 to 12 fresh sage leaves

Heat the oven to 500 degrees with a rack in the lower-middle position. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then brush with the oil. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Set the dough in the center of the prepared baking sheet, then press and stretch it until it covers the pan and is of an even thickness. Press from the center outward and lift and stretch the edges as needed; it’s fine if the dough doesn’t completely fill the corners. If the dough is resistant or shrinks after stretching, wait 5 to 10 minutes before trying again; if it is very elastic, you may need to give it 2 or 3 rests.

When the dough fills the baking sheet, distribute the tomatoes evenly over it, leaving a narrow border around the edge, then sprinkle with the cheese. Arrange the salami in a single layer and top with the sage leaves. Bake until the edges of the crust are well browned and the cheese is melted and begins to brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and slide the flatbread onto a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into pieces. Serve drizzled with additional oil.

Shrimp and Lemony Ricotta Pizzas With Baby Arugula.
Shrimp and Lemony Ricotta Pizzas With Baby Arugula.Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Shrimp and Lemony Ricotta Pizzas With Baby Arugula

Makes two 10-inch oval pizzas

½ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Semolina, for dusting

Flatbread (Pizza) Dough or 1½ pounds store-bought refrigerated pizza dough, at room temperature

12 ounces jumbo (21-25 per pound) shrimp, peeled (tails removed), deveined, halved crosswise, and patted dry

2 ounces baby arugula (about 5 cups lightly packed)

About 1 hour before baking, heat the oven to 500 degrees with a baking steel or stone on the upper-middle rack.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, Parmesan, tarragon, oil, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Lightly dust a baking peel, inverted baking sheet, or rimless cookie sheet with semolina. (If using store-bought dough, first divide it into two portions, then shape each into a 6-by-12-inch oval.) Transfer one portion of the shaped dough to the peel and, if needed, reshape. Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the dough, then top with half of the shrimp. Slide the dough onto the baking steel or stone and bake until golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes.

Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a wire rack. Top and bake the second portion of dough in the same way, then transfer to the rack.

In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Top the first pizza with half of the dressed arugula, mounding it on top; let the second pizza cool for a few minutes, then top with the remaining dressed arugula.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.