I have two friends who both feel pretty strongly about pizza.
One says that pizza is delicious 99% of the time. Her thought is – how badly can you screw up dough with cheese and tasty toppings? I’ve seen her forgo truck stop or cafeteria pizzas that are sitting greasily under a violent heating lamp…but generally, she’s not too picky.
My other friend used to work at a pizza shop and, therefore, has very high standards. Dough should be flavorful (properly seasoned), crisp with an ideal chew. Toppings should be cut with care and placed in an even fashion so as to ensure as many “perfect bites” as possible (getting a little of everything in one bite). I’ve seen her pass by pizzas that verged on gourmet, pointing out their various disappointments.
I lie somewhere between the two extremes. I love pizza…and lots of different kinds. I love deep dish pizzas with doughy crusts, lots of sauce, and a ton of toppings. I love crispy thin flatbreads with no sauce at all and just a sprinkling of toppings. And (perhaps most of all) I love the in between – a crust with crisp edges and a little bit of chew, evenly spread with toppings and just the right amount of sauce. This is the kind my mama used to make…but over the years, I’ve made a few adjustments.
I like to chop up veggie topping nice and fine, then cook them together, so I get a really even mix of toppings on the surface of the pizza. I like to use a really flavorful cheese, and when the pizza is done, run it under the broiler until it gets nicely browned. And sometimes, I like to add sauce after baking – like I do in the case of this chili sauce (I started doing this because some people like things a little less spicy…so a drizzle right before serving would do).