My in-laws had a pizza shop in our town of Kulpmont called Charlie’s Pizza, making 500 pies on Fridays and Saturdays. Charlie’s was my father-in-law’s first name but it was really my mother-in-law that made the pizza. My husband was 12 years old when they sold the business to his uncle and cousin then called Gidaro’s Pizza. I worked in a pizza shop in my town when I was a teenager called Palace Pizza. I often ran the place while the owner went to Aerobics or to run errands. So I have experience in making pizzas. This recipe is my own (1 of 2 recipes I make) but this one comes close (for not having a 500° pizza oven) to Charlie’s & Gidaro’s Pizza back in the day.
Preheat oven to 350°F (I use 375°F in my oven, use whatever your oven works best at)
1 Packet Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Pizza Crust Yeast
3 1/2 Cups Flour
2 tsp. sugar ( I sometimes put a tablespoon of honey instead of the sugar)
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 to 1 1/3 cup very warm water (not hot)
6 tbsp. Lard, melted (you can use shortening)
(1) 15 oz. can pizza sauce such as Don Pepino (half can for each pizza)
16 oz. shredded Mozzarella
10 slices Provolone Cheese Slices (10 Slices)
OPTIONAL: 10 slices Pepper Jack cheese
4 Tbsp. Pecorino Romano
Optional toppings (pepperoni, mushrooms, raw onions, etc.)
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and rapid rise yeast in a large bowl.
Add water a little at a time and stop adding water when it mixes into a nice ball.
If it is sticky, sprinkle additional flour in until it is not as sticky any longer.
Sprinkle flour on a large cutting board.
Rub your rolling pin with some olive oil and roll the dough to fit a 12″ pan.
Put some olive oil on a paper towel and wipe your 12” pizza pans with the towel.
Put the rolled dough on the pan (You can cover with plastic wrap that is coated with either PAM or olive oil on a paper towel & rub on the plastic wrap). Put the oil side down on the pizza, cover tightly and stick in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake but be sure to bring the dough to room temperature for about 20 minutes prior to popping in the oven) and pre-bake in oven 10 minutes or until starting to lightly brown. (You can prick the dough with a fork so it won’t puff up too much).
Remove dough from oven and add your pizza sauce (I add a tsp of sugar to the can of sauce. You don’t have to unless you want too). Sprinkle the Pecorino Romano over the top. Add the sliced cheeses and then the shredded cheese. Add any toppings you’d like on top.
TIP: If adding mushrooms as a topping, as noted in my TIPS blog, saute canned, strained mushrooms in a pan sprayed with PAM or a tbsp of butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper. Saute 4-5 minutes. Add these to the top of your pizza for a more tasty pizza!
Carefully slide the pizza off the pan directly onto the oven rack and bake until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Carefully slide pizza pan under pizza and remove from the oven.