Skillet Pizza

by Liz on November 3, 2010


I was in the used book store not too long ago, armed with a store-credit, and as always, ended up buying cookbooks.  One of the cookbooks I walked away with was “The Best Skillet Recipes” from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated.  Over the last couple of years, I have grown to love the Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen people.  I watch the PBS show from time to time, and love the way they explain how they came to agree on a recipe.  It’s nice to read a recipe with such specific instructions and to know that it will turn out well.

dough ingredients strained tomatoes
tomato sauce rolled out dough

Even so, I was skeptical. I’d never heard of making a pizza in a skillet. However, with a day off, and all the ingredients to make a simple cheese pizza, I figured, why not try?  Friends, this was not a disappointment.  I’d tell you more, but I think I’ll keep it simple this time.  Also, I have a 7-page paper to write by the end of today, and am blogging to take my mind off of the question of whether or not Frankenstein qualifies as a hero.  Any input would be helpful.  Anyway, make this pizza.  It was unexpectedly good, even if the process was a little unusual.

pizza in skillet


Skillet Pizza
Adapted (barely) from The Best Skillet Recipes by Cook’s Illustrated

I don’t recall changing anything about the recipe, except that I think I tried to make the dough in my mixer instead of my food processor, which didn’t work at all, and I ended up just kneading it myself on the counter. Next time I’ll make it in the food processor like they suggest, since the America’s Test Kitchen people are usually right.

Pizza Dough:

2 cups (11 ounces) bread flour, plus extra as needed (can use all-purpose, but dough will be less chewy)
1 & 1/8 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast (about 1/2 envelope)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the bowl
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)

Dough Preparation:

1. Pulse the flour, yeast, and salt together in a food processor (fitted with a dough blade if possible) to combine. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil, then water through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a sticky ball that clears the sides of the workbowl, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. (If, after 1 minute, the dough is sticky and clings to the blade, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at at ime, as needed until it clears the side of the workbowl.)

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form it into a smooth, round ball.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and cover tightly with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Once risen, the dough can be sealed in a zipper-lock bag and frozen for up to 1 month; let thaw on the counter for 2-3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator, before using.)

Note: You can also let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight for 8-16 hours, and then set dough on counter at room temperature for a half-hour before using.

No Cook Pizza Sauce:

One 14.5 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes or diced tomatoes, drained with juices reserved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sauce Preparation:

Pulse the drained tomatoes, oil, garlic, and salt together in a food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain, about 12 pulses.  Transfer the mixture to a liquid measuring cup and add the reserved canned tomato juice until the sauce measures 1 cup.

The Pizza!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound pizza dough
1 cup pizza sauce
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 & 1/2 cups)
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)


1. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 500 degrees.  Grease a 12-inch ovenproof skillet with 2 tablespoons of the oil.

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide it into 2 equal pieces, and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep the other covered), press and roll the dough into an 11-round on a lightly floured work surface.  Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet.

3. Spread 1/2 cup of the pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan over the top.  Set the skillet over high heat and cook until the outside edge of the dough is set, the pizza is lightly puffed, and the bottom crust is spotty brown when gently lifted with a spatula, about 3 minutes.

4.  Transfer the pizza to the oven (keeping it in the ovenproof skillet) and bake until the edges are brown and the cheese is golden in spots, 7-10 minutes.  Using pot holders (the skillet handle will be hot!), transfer the pizza to a carving board, slice into wedges, and serve.

5. Wipe the skillet clean, let it cool slightly, then repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan to make a second pizza.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz November 17, 2010 at 9:42 am

Carolyn, you’ll just have to come over and I’ll show you. =)

carolyn November 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm

i am trying this next time I make pizza. But I always get confused by yeast! What is it? Is it even working? How do I know??

Mom November 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I, too, like America’s Test Kitchen. Grandma and I watch faithfully on Sat. Mornings ;-) . Lydia’s Italy is good too. That said, this pizza looks good and is so easy, so I will be trying it with variations of course…thanks for blogging it!

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