I love to make pizza, but I do not cook my pies on a pizza stone. Instead, I use my trusty cast iron skillet.
When we bought our 786 square foot house, we adopted a strict rule: every tool must have more than one purpose. I’ve since had to abandon my desire for a pizza stone (and bulb planter, and olive pitter, and pickle grabber) at our door.
Luckily, my preferred pizza preparation technique (which I learned from a Real Simple recipe a few years back) uses the bottom of a hot cast iron skillet in place of a pizza stone. The hot skillet prevents soggy crusts by evenly distributing heat across the surface of the dough as it cooks. I’ve made a lot of pizzas this way. They turn out perfect every time and make me love my cast iron skillet even more!
Use the technique in this recipe as a starting point for creating your own pizza topping combinations. Homemade pesto with goat cheese, roasted garlic, and sundried tomatoes is always a winner at our house. If caramelized onions don’t fall onto your favorite topping list, preheat the skillet by placing it over medium heat for about 6 to 8 minutes. One pizza, if served with a generous salad, makes a nice meal for two people.
What you’ll need:
1 10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet
1 pound of pizza dough (I package of refrigerated dough)
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 small, well-scrubbed ‘Yukon Gold’ potatoes, very thinly sliced
1 hot Italian sausage, cooked and sliced into rounds
1 tablespoon whole rosemary needles
¼ cup provolone picante cheese, finely grated
1 tablespoon cornmeal
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in the cast iron skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, give them a good shake, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and cook until they soften and turn a deep, nutty brown (about 8 to 10 minutes). Place the caramelized onion in a bowl and add the potato, sausage, and rosemary. Toss to combine.
Wipe out the skillet and set it upside down on a heat-proof surface. Sprinkle the corn meal evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Divide the pizza dough in half and place one half on a floured work surface (use the other half to make an additional pizza or place it back in the refrigerator). Roll out the dough into a round that fits the bottom of the skillet.
Place the dough on the upside down skillet (make sure it doesn’t overhang the sides). Brush it with olive oil and then arrange the potato mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the potato mixture and then dust it with the cheese. Set the skillet into the oven on a middle rack and bake until the crust becomes golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven; slide it onto a cutting board and slice.