I have been badly craving pizza. I wanted a crispy, thin crust pizza with some yummy cheese and a mountain of vegetables. But I don’t have a pizza stone, and all kitchen purchases are on hold until after we get married this summer … because, really, why buy something for yourself when someone else might buy it for you, amiright? However, thanks to my one true internet love, Serious Eats, I had another plan in mind – a pizza baked in a skillet. In particular, cast iron. I didn’t use any of the methods espoused on their site exactly, though I’m sure any of them would work fabulously. Sometimes, I just have an irrepressible urge not to follow directions. So, I started the dough in the cast iron to get it golden brown and slightly crispy on one side. Then, I added the toppings – tomato sauce and loads of veggies. I finished the whole thing off by popping it in the oven to cook the crust and veggies a bit, then added cheese for the last few minutes until it was all melt-y and golden brown and delicious.
I was really impressed with the quality of pizza this method produced. The bottom crust was thin and crispy with a nice crunchy crust that had just enough give to make it toothsome. There was a nice char on the bottom of the pizza, too. It was incredibly easy, especially since I simply picked up some store bought dough from Corbo’s Bakery. As per usual with pizza, this is a highly customizable recipe. Add your desired sauce and vegetables before popping in the oven and then top with your favorite melt-able cheese. The real key is to make sure both your oven and your pan are hot hot hot when you get started, and to have all of your ingredients lined up and ready to go before you put the dough in the pan. I loved the balance of heat from the Hungarian hot peppers, sweet and slightly acidic, from the tomatoes and tomato sauce, salty from the black olive, and creamy from the mozzarella with a nice meatiness from the mushrooms, but consider this more of a “how to” than a true recipe.
Cast Iron Pan Pizza
8 oz. store bought pizza dough (or homemade, if you have a good recipe for a thin crust dough)
1/3 cup tomato and basil crushed tomatoes
1 Hungarian hot pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 cup black olives, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, such as crimini or baby bella
5 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced about 1/8″ thick (I used low fat, part skim and it worked great)
Preheat oven to 500º, or as hot as your oven will go.
Remove pizza dough from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for an hour before cooking.
Roll out dough on a lightly flour surface (or turn in hands until circular, which is the method I used because it’s easier to get a crust that way, in my humble, non-expert opinion) to a 10″ round. Heat the 10″ cast iron pan over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes until very hot. Carefully place the dough in a 10″ cast iron skillet. Cook, shaking one or two times and turning the pan periodically to avoid hot spots, until the dough is easily removed from the pan, about 2-3 minutes.
Carefully top with crushed tomatoes, leaving 1/2″ rim for crust, hot peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and black olives. At this point, the dough should have been in the pan for about 5-6 minutes total. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook about 8-10 minutes until dough is mostly cooked through. Add rounds of mozzarella and cook another 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.