When my husband, two small children and I first moved out to the country, there were a lot of adjustments to make. One of them was pizza. We had always lived close to pretty good pizza places before, and were used to being able to get a pizza easily. That was not the case once we moved to the country. Not only did we have to drive quite a ways to get a pizza (or tip a delivery driver really well, which seemed wasteful), but with two small children, sometimes loading up in the car was more trouble than it was worth. That was when I learned to make my own pizza. What a ritual it has turned out to be for our family. It is one meal I know my husband and both kids and will love. It is also a meal that is fun to make for friends and members of the extended family. When my kids have friends over, I like to have them help put the toppings on. If they help make it, they are more likely to enjoy it.
Of course buying your own crust is a lot quicker and easier. And sometimes we do that too. Making pizza crust from scratch is time-consuming and labor-intensive. But if I have enough time, it is total therapy for me to be in my kitchen kneading dough and smelling the delicious scents of the flour and yeast as it combines with the water and oil. If I have time to make the crust by hand, it usually means we are going to be home for awhile and the kids are bustling in and out, helping with parts and then running off to play. Or it might mean that friends or extended family members are over, and we are chatting while I work on the dough. Either way, it is usually a festive time when we are not rushing to get to all the different events we often need to go to. It is also healthy to make crust from scratch. That way, you know exactly what is in it, and generally, homemade crust has less salt, grease, and preservatives than pizza you buy either at the store or a quick pizza place. I like to make it with some whole wheat flour and white flour mixed, to give it a little more fiber. I posted the recipe for my homemade crust below.
The type of toppings can change with the seasons and to fit the tastes of those eating the pizza. Right now with spinach and basil in season, I like to use a lot of those. A favorite combination for my family is homemade pizza sauce (that recipe I will post at later time), spinach, basil, salami (I leave a portion without salami for my vegetarian daughter), shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and feta cheese if we have it. The different combinations are endless though, and that is why it is so fun to experiment. One of my favorite experiments was with butternut squash, red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.
For awhile, Friday night was homemade pizza night at our house. As the kids have gotten older and we have gotten busier with their sports and activities, I don’t have the time to make pizza from scratch every week. But we try to do it at least once or twice a month, and not always on a Friday. It feels good not to always rely on some other place or some other company for our pizza. It feels good to be able to produce it in my own kitchen. It feels good once in awhile to really slow down and be forced to take time with food, and to really get my hands into the making of it.