Bubbling Bliss

Pizza is often a family favorite on busy nights. Although we occasionally phone our local restaurant for takeout (light on the cheese, of course!), it’s easy to make your own delicious pizza—while controlling the fat.

Making pizza dough used to intimidate me. I invariably added water that was too hot or cold—producing a leaden mixture that would not rise. In frustration, I gave up, purchasing frozen dough or premade crusts. But I later discovered that a bread machine very easily mixes a foolproof crust.

Sometimes I’ll make a traditional “plain” pizza with pizza sauce and reduced-fat mozzarella. Other times my family requests “old-fashioned pizza,” modeled after my grandmother’s fococcia-like version. To make this, I stretch out bread machine dough on a pizza pan. (I particularly like the natural AirBake pizza pan for a crispy crust.) I cover the dough with a towel and let it rise 30 minutes more. Then I poke tiny slivers of garlic into the dough and brush it with olive oil. Next, I sprinkle it with a 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes (drained), chopped fresh basil, a bit of oregano and a tablespoon of grated Romano cheese. While the oven is cold, I place the pizza on the lowest rack and set the temperature for 500°F. I bake the pizza for 15-17 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

A few weeks ago I found a recipe for Cooking Light’s scrumptious Pizza Bianca with Arugula, Bacon and Mushrooms. I opted for reduced-fat mozzarella and turkey bacon (rather than regular bacon) and substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for white flour when making the crust. When vegetables take center stage on your pizza, it’s easy to cut back on the cheese.

As you can see, there are endless ways to enjoy hot, delicious pizza from your own oven. Your heart will thank you—and so will your taste buds!

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