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Mendo Lake Family Life

Make Pizza in a Skillet

By America’s Test Kitchen

To get the crispest, crunchiest browned crust on homemade pizza without a pizza stone (or the need to preheat said stone for a long time), take the delightfully unconventional route of using a skillet. You start by rolling out the dough—use store-bought or make your own—and building the pizza right in the skillet. The bottom of the crust gets a jump start toward browning on the stovetop before the skillet is transferred to the oven to bake. The simple no-cook tomato sauce is a comfy bed for Italian sausage, shredded mozzarella, and a little Parmesan. Let the dough sit at room temperature while preparing the remaining ingredients and heating the oven; otherwise, it will be difficult to stretch. 

Skillet Sausage and Cheese Pizza

Serves: 4 Total Time: 1 hour

• 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved

• 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar

• ½ teaspoon dried oregano

• 1 small garlic clove, minced

• 1 pound pizza dough, room temperature

• 12 ounces sweet or hot Italian pork sausage, casings removed, divided

• 8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups), divided

• 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup), divided

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Process tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, oregano, and garlic in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to 2-cup liquid measuring cup and add reserved tomato juice until sauce measures 1 cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Grease 12-inch ovensafe skillet with 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and gently shape each half into ball. Cover 1 dough ball with plastic wrap. Coat remaining dough ball lightly with flour and gently flatten into 8-inch disk using your fingertips. Using rolling pin, roll dough into 11-inch circle, dusting dough lightly with flour as needed. (If dough springs back during rolling, let rest for 10 minutes before rolling again.)

3. Transfer dough to prepared skillet; reshape as needed. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread ½ cup sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving ½-inch border around edge. Pinch 6 ounces sausage into approximate dime-size pieces and evenly distribute over sauce. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and ¼ cup Parmesan evenly over sausage.

4. Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook until outside edge of dough is set, pizza is lightly puffed, and bottom is spotty brown when gently lifted with spatula, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer pizza to oven and bake until crust is brown and cheese is golden in spots, 7 to 10 minutes. Using pot holders, remove skillet from oven and slide pizza onto cutting board. Let pizza cool slightly before slicing and serving. Being careful of hot skillet handle, repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, dough, sauce, 1 cup mozzarella, and ¼ cup Parmesan.

Reprinted with permission from One-Hour Comfort by America’s Test Kitchen (America’s Test Kitchen, 2021),