This Is the Pizza I Make at Home

May 30, 2024
Dining & Wine
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I recently solved a pizza conundrum that had been plaguing my family. Pizza night at our house has always forced us to choose between an excellent but slow-rising dough that takes days to proof, or the instant gratification of a defrosted ball of store-bought. The marshmallow test, but pizza.

The homemade dough is sublime, baking into deeply flavored, leopard-spotted pies with puffy edges, but we have to wait four impatient days until we can eat it (our go-to is the Neapolitan dough from Marc Vetri’s book “Mastering Pizza”). And while the store-bought dough is speedy, it’s annoyingly inconsistent. Sometimes we get satisfyingly chewy though slightly bland crusts; sometimes we get a big misshapen cracker with cheese on top. It’s still pretty good — I mean, it’s pizza — but it doesn’t always live up to our expectations.

I felt there had to be a third option, a reliably good dough that I could make start to finish in one afternoon. And after much testing, I finally nailed it in my sheet-pan pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice).

Based on the popular Roman snack, my quick version can be made in under three hours, about one hour more than it takes to defrost and proof a ball of frozen dough and a thousand times better. It splits the difference between pizza and focaccia, with an airy, olive-oil-enriched dough that can be adorned with whatever toppings you love (anchovies, of course!). Next time you’re craving homemade pizza but are short on time, give it a try and let me know how it goes. I’m at hellomelissa@nytimes.com.


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Most of the time needed for my pizza al taglio is for letting the dough rise, but let’s face it, three hours can be a long time to wait for dinner. So I’ll balance that out with some speedy recipes that get dinner on the table in under half an hour.

Let’s start with a meatless and hearty masterpiece from Hetty “Salad Wrangler” Lui McKinnon. In her charred bok choy and cannellini bean salad, she aims to break bok choy out of its stir-fry rut by charring it aggressively, until the robust stalks singe in spots. These get tossed with canned white beans and a gingery maple dressing suffused with nutty sesame oil.

In another instance of coloring outside the lines, Ali Slagle takes the classic elements of Greek salad (tomatoes, olives, cucumber and feta) and adds seared chicken thighs that have been marinated in herby, garlicky yogurt. Her Greek chicken with cucumber-feta salad is juicy, tangy, creamy and ready for pita-swabbing.

Here are two more dinner ideas for the noodle-lovers among us. Kay Chun’s salmon soba noodles call for submerging earthy buckwheat noodles and thinly sliced salmon fillets in a steaming dashi broth, which poaches the fish without overcooking it. A bright ponzu-scallion sauce balances the rich fish and bouncy noodles, adding a piquant grace note to the bowl.

And then there’s my supremely easy, pantry-friendly buttered egg noodles with jammy eggs. An exuberant mélange of egg noodles and runny-yolk eggs tossed in a lemony sour cream dressing, it’s got poppy or sesame seeds for crunch and loads of scallions and herbs for freshness and a gentle allium bite. Serve it for a cozy dinner, or, as Marci suggests in the recipe notes, a great family brunch, especially if you take Chef Sweety’s lead (also from the notes) and substitute salmon cream cheese for the sour cream. It’s a template of a recipe just waiting for you to work your magic on.

Now I’m going to break our half-hour rule for dessert, because I need to tell you about Dan Pelosi’s from-scratch Death by Chocolate, which has flown to the top of my must-devour list. It’s a bittersweet trifle that layers homemade devil’s food cake with chocolate pudding and fluffy vanilla whipped cream, all of which is then showered with chopped bits of toffee for a crunchy, butterscotch pop.

You’ll certainly want to subscribe to get all the recipes at New York Times Cooking (and thanks to you if you already do). And if you need any technical assistance, you can send an email to the patient folks at cookingcare@nytimes.com.

What if you’re craving the flavors of pizza but have only 15 minutes to make dinner? You simply whip up Ali’s one-pot cheesy white bean-tomato bake. It’s got all the tomatoey, melty mozzarella goodness of pizza but is faster to make, high in protein and happens to be gluten-free.

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