Summertime is 100% meant for eating outside, but Colorado’s afternoon thunderstorms are still hitting hard and heavy right before dinner. Since we aren’t all lucky enough to have a wood-fired pizza oven in our backyard anyway, this is the next best thing; pop a pizza in the oven, get cozy under a blanket with Netflix, and savor this spicy-creamy-bacon-loaded pie. I’ll happily eat this aaaaall summer long.
The real question: does pizza have to have red sauce? Don’t get me wrong, you know I love to sauce everything usually, but this one just doesn’t need tomatoes crowding out all the other flavors. I like to brush a good layer of salty garlic oil on the crust and then go to town on toppings.
I was kinda weirded out by the idea of globs of cream cheese on pizza until I tried it and now I’m hooked. If you can’t get past those big beautiful mounds on top, take baby steps by spreading a thin layer on the crust before you layer the rest of the toppings.
This is my favorite no-fuss recipe for pizza crust, adapted from Serious Eats, but it does need a really long time to rest. I like to make the dough a day ahead of time, let it rest overnight to get nice and huge, and then it’s ready to go the next afternoon.
If you want pizza tonight and you’re in a time crunch – or just don’t want to mess with dough, full stop – I’m a fan of Trader Joe’s ready-to-go pizza dough. You can find it in bags in the refrigerated section, and their herb crust would be so good here!
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. instant yeast
- 1 cup + 3 T. water
- 4 t. olive oil
- 1 T. cornmeal
- 1 1/2 T. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 t. basil
- pinch salt
- 1 cup mozzarella shredded
- 8 strips bacon cooked & chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 2 jalapenos thinly sliced
- 4 oz. cream cheese softened
Mix flour, salt, yeast, water, and 2 t. olive oil in a large bowl until flour is completely incorporated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm spot for at least 8 hours, up to 24, until dough has more than doubled in size.
Spread remaining 2 t. olive oil evenly across a pizza stone or baking sheet, then sprinkle generously with cornmeal.
Dust the dough lightly with flour and flour your hands, then pick up dough and gently toss and stretch into a large circle. Lay on the pizza stone and press the crust into its final shape. Be careful not to move the dough on the stone too much or the crust may stick. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 550°.
Whisk together olive oil, garlic, basil, and salt.
Press any air bubbles out of the dough. Brush garlic mixture evenly over the crust, all the way out to the edges.
Top with mozzarella, bacon, red onion, and jalapenos. Cut softened cream cheese into small cubes and dot them on top of the pizza.
Bake at 550° for 12-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown on both top and bottom and the cream cheese is bubbling.
Transfer pizza to a cutting board and let cool for a couple minutes, then slice and serve!