Earlier this spring, my well-seasoned and much loved pizza stone broke in half in the oven while I was entertaining, and, after spouting off a fair number of expletives, I started looking for alternatives to my deceased stone. I ended up breaking out the cast-iron, and there is no turning back now. The crust is perfect — crispy on the bottom and soft and fluffy on the top — and everything cooks evenly. This is now the only way we make pizza in our house, but it does require a few tricks to get it right.
All you need is a cast-iron pan, pizza dough, sauce, and toppings of your choice.
Start with a well-seasoned cast-iron pan, put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in, and wipe it around the bottom and sides of the pan. Do not leave any pools of oil. If you're new to cast-iron, check out this article by another GRIT blogger.
Use your favorite pizza crust recipe, or even one from a box. If you use a deep dish cast-iron pan, you may need to double your recipe to be able to make it up the sides (and have a little left over to do stuffed crust!). Press the pizza dough into the oiled pan. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Then, place the pan on a burner on medium heat while you put the toppings on — about 5-10 minutes. This crisps up the crust and helps the pizza slices come out of the pan flawlessly.
Add half the cheese first. This keeps the sauce from making the crust soggy.
Add your favorite sauce on top of the cheese.
Put your toppings on top of the sauce.
Add more cheese and more toppings.
Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
Let the pizza cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. I know its hard, but trust me, it goes a long way in making for an easier clean up. If you dig in right away while the pan is still hot from the oven, the melty sauce and cheese will spill over into the pan and it will burn and stick.
Just look at that gooey, cheesy perfection ...
And get a load of that practically spotless pan!
Happy pizza party!