I agreed to co-write “Everybody Loves Pizza” simply because I was asked to. I had no idea how much I’d grow to love and understand the business and product. After interviewing hundreds of pizza makers for the book, I know that delivery or take-out just can’t compare to doing it myself. Cooking something for yourself is key to understanding what the product is supposed to be like. Knowing what went into it adds to the range of your understanding. This Saturday night, put away the number to your favorite pizza joint. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get doughy, ’cause you’re gonna give this pizza thing a try.–Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby
What’s the secret to good pizza dough?
Pizza is only as good as its dough, you know. Take a mediocre slab of crust and pile it with all the tastiest toppings you can find—you’ll still have a mediocre pizza, at best. Making pizza dough by hand is a rewarding experience but it takes a little forethought. You’ll need a decent flour for starters. Something with a high protein content, such as bread flour, will help to make it chewier and give it a better hole structure. Weighing out ingredients will also help you to get the proportions right, giving you a better chance of success.
Rosemary Onion Pizza
For the pizza dough
For the topping and shaping
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium red onions, sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Coarse cornmeal, for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- Small garlic cloves, unpeeled, (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Make the pizza dough
- Pour 1/4 cup of the water into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and stir in the honey. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let the mixture stand until the yeast softens, about 5 minutes.
- Stir the mixture to make sure the yeast is dissolved. Mix in the remaining 3/4 cup water and the oil. Using a dough hook, start mixing the dough on low.
- Add the salt, rosemary, and 1 cup flour and mix until it’s completely incorporated.
- Then add the next cup of flour and repeat, continuing cup by cup. As the flour is incorporated, a dough ball will start to form and come away from the bowl. As you gradually add the last of the flour, turn up the speed and mix for 1 minute.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until smooth.
- Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with a cloth; allow it to rise and double in bulk, 45 to 60 minutes.
Make the topping
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and toss in the onions. Cook until softened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and allow to cool.
Assemble and bake the pizza
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Sprinkle a little coarse cornmeal on a baking sheet.
- Punch down the dough and place the dough on the cornmeal. Using your fingertips, gently make indentations in the dough and spread it to the pan size, approximately 10 by 15 inches.
- Spread the ricotta on the dough to within a half inch of the edge.
- Distribute the cooked onions evenly over the dough and then top with the chopped rosemary, garlic cloves if using, and Parmesan and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with additional freshly ground pepper.
- Bake the pizza for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp.
- Serve the pizza immediately or let it cool on a wire rack and then serve at room temperature, sliced into narrow wedges or strips as a starter or wider slices as something more substantial. Originally published Jul 18, 2005.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This rosemary red onion pizza is a gorgeous mingling of flavors. The sweet, charred onions along with the woodsy hint of rosemary are an elegant balance to the creamy ricotta and salty Parmesan cheeses. If you add the garlic, you’ll be rewarded with even more depth of pungent, sweet flavor. The toppings make the pizza.
The pizza crust texture was tender with a tight crumb and subtle crunch when baked. The rosemary and honey added a sweet herbaceousness to the quick dough but the dough didn’t have time to develop any character. Perhaps aging it overnight, or even a few days in the refrigerator, before baking would develop the signature yeasty tang I’m wanting in a pizza crust.
The amount of ricotta was spot on.
This rosemary red onion pizza was a refreshingly different type of pizza, plus it looked and smelled delicious at nearly every stage of the process. The rosemary dough was a perfect base for the sweetness of the cooked red onion. I used the optional ricotta and really loved the creaminess that it added. I also do not consider the unpeeled garlic cloves optional. I only regret that I didn’t add more. After cooking the pizza, just squeeze the roasted garlic out of its peel and onto the pizza and you will not be disappointed.
I used the full 3 cups of flour, but I think that I could have used slightly less. It was still good, but the crust was a little more bread-y than I think that it could have been if I would have used less. I found that 45 minutes was perfect for the rise time.
Let me first say that we LOVED this pizza. It’s so elegant in its simplicity and comes together quickly for the perfect date-night dinner when you don’t feel like making too much fuss but still want to feel *a little fancy*.
The one thing I will say is that you don’t need 3 whole onions. At least I didn’t. I feel like half an onion would have yielded something like you see in the picture and two made for a very onion-y pizza…which we were very happy with since my husband and I LOVE sauteed onions but if you aren’t a fan I’d go with one.