Everything they say about making pizza at home is true. It’s easy (here’s my sauce recipe). It’s delicious (here’s my dough recipe). And it’s fun (here’s how to put it all together, using store-bought ingredients, but the method still holds).
If you still need more proof, check out this handy guide in The New York Times, from Sam Sifton, one of my food-writing idols (anyone can who can reference Ludwig Bemelmans “Madeline” in a charitable review of Nello—see the last graph about a row of Saudi women in two straight lines at a table not covered in wines—will forever be a hero of mine). I believe every single word of the Times’ guide. Really, I do.
But just as every story has three sides—your side, my side, and the truth—sometimes you you have to make a “calzone.” For no matter how long you may have been making pizza, something will, eventually, go wrong. And when that happens you will face a choice. If say, for example, you are struggling with a recalcitrant bit of dough that won’t slide off the peel and into the oven, you can strangle yourself with frustration as you feel 475-degrees of heat on your forehead. Or you can step back and improvise, which is what I did the other day. I rolled up the mess of dough and cheese and sauce and pushed it into the oven. A few minutes later (just enough time to put together another pie, with sufficient flour on the peel to prevent any stickiness), I pulled a “calzone” out of the oven.
I was happy to be done with mutant mass of misery, but you know what happened? The gaggle of hungry and waiting kids (some some friends, some family, some of whom are famous in these parts for spurning the Sifton-esque pizzas of the past) nibbled and gnawed and enjoyed the scalawag “calzone.” I keep putting the word “calzone” in quotes, because whatever I made was far from the Italian classic, but the kids were sold on it and everyone was happy. So no matter what happens when you’re making pizza, don’t give up on it. Just keep going.