Cast iron pizza

I received a long-wished-for bread machine for Christmas this year. I crossed my fingers that I would not be one of the many people who has a bread machine and lets it collect dust for years before deciding to craigslist it. Let’s just call that my new years resolution to not be a lets-her-bread-machine-collect-dust-until-it-goes-in-the-craigslist-pile person. So far, new years resolution is going strong! Not the best for my carb intake, but at least it’s good bread.

I’ll post about making bread another time, but for now, let’s talk pizza. I’ve been a wee bit busy with the wee one, so sometimes it’s hard to put together a well thought out dinner. On the nights that I just don’t know what else to do, we usually make pizza. We always keep mozzarella, tomato sauce and pepperoni in the house. Sometimes we also have bell peppers or mushrooms to add, but if not, we at least can have pepperoni.

Around Christmas time, some friends came to visit us Quentin from Seattle. We agreed to keep it simple and make pizza, and they were sweet enough to pick up the fixings for it. When they arrived, I needed to nurse Quentin, get his purees ready for his dinner, get him bathed and ready for bed, etc. Luckily, we have been friends since college and used to routinely cook in each others kitchens. So, just like the college days, our friends (C & M) set out to learn my kitchen and get dinner going. M started prepping veggies and C asked where my cast iron pan was.

Me: Umm…cast iron pan? What are you going to use that for? I mean, you’re welcome to use it, but why?
C: We’re going to use it to make pizza. You’ve never had cast iron pizza before? It’s awesome.
Me: Strange, but go on…

Once the babe had gone to bed and C and M had already made their first few pizzas (which I tasted…awesome indeed!), I had a chance to observe the magic. C taught me his secrets and we’ve pretty much only used this method since that day. It’s so much better than using a pizza pan, and not much more work. I will now share the secret with you.

First, move your oven rack to the top 3rd part of the oven. Not right at the top, but higher than the middle. Turn your oven on broil and put the cast iron pan in. Also, turn the stove on medium.
This is basically to keep the cast iron pan hot because it’s going to be going in and out of the oven. Now cut your dough into 3 chunks (more or less, depending on your dough recipe. If using store bought dough, I’d probably cut it in half).

Start to flatten your first chunk of dough.

Roll out the dough. I like mine pretty flat.

Take the cast iron pan out of the oven and put a splash of olive oil in it. Spread it with a metal spatula. Then put the flattened dough on. Return the cast iron pan to the oven and set your timer for 2 minutes.
Remove the cast iron from the oven and flip the dough.

Add your ingredients. Whatever you want, really. Here I’m making a pepperoni pizza with some oregano sprinkled on top. You can definitely get crazier than that, though. We were feeling a “pizza and beer” night, though, and in my opinion pepperoni pizza + beer is a perfect combo.

Now the whole thing goes back in the oven. Set your timer for 5 minutes. Check your pizza to see if it’s done. It should be nicely browned. It might need another minute or 2 but it depends on your broiler.
Out comes the pizza!

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