Photos by Collin Richie.

You knead to try this recipe for National Pizza Day

In honor of National Pizza Day being today, February 9, why not turn tonight’s dinner plans into fun for the whole family? With only a few simple ingredients and a dash of creativity (and maybe some minor acrobatics should you choose to stretch your dough via gentle tossing), April Hamilton shares her tips and tricks for this simple Italian treat in her homemade pizza recipes perfect for providing entertainment without spending one second in front of a streaming service. So take your pick of toppings and don’t worry about keeping things spick and span—this multi-faceted menu relies on a dose of imperfection to make the magic happen.


2 cups canned crushed or diced tomatoes in thick purée
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
½ tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week.


3 cups bread flour, plus extra for shaping
1 tsp. instant yeast
1½ tsp. coarse salt
1 to 1¼ cups water
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for bowl for rising and for handling dough
Combine flour, yeast and salt in the container of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Turn processor on and add 1 cup water and 2 Tbsp. olive oil through feed tube. Process for about 1 minute, adding more water 1 Tbsp. at a time, until mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another 1 Tbsp. of water and process for 10 more seconds. If dough is too sticky, add flour 1 Tbsp. at a time. You want dough to just barely stick to your fingertip.
Knead dough for a few seconds to form a smooth, round ball. Divide dough into 3 balls. Brush a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and place dough balls in it. Gently roll dough around so each ball is lightly coated with oil and will not dry out. Place balls apart so they have room to rise.
Cover dish with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until dough doubles in size, usually about 1 hour (aha! the time it takes to make sauce, prep toppings and get the oven preheated). Alternatively, dough can rise overnight in fridge. Let it warm up to room temperature for an hour or two before shaping pizzas.
Unused dough balls can be chilled for up to 2 days or frozen, well wrapped, for 2 months.
Makes enough dough for 3 pizzas.


For Sautéed Spinach and Garlic:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 (5-oz.) bag fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
For 1 pizza, you will need 1 ball of Pizza Dough, some Quick Pizza Sauce, 4 oz. grated mozzarella, and a batch of Sautéed Spinach and Garlic. If using a pizza peel and sliding it onto a baking stone, you will also need cornmeal for the pizza peel.
For Sautéed Spinach and Garlic, heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over low heat until oil begins to shimmer, and stir a few minutes until garlic gently sizzles. When garlic is almost tender, add spinach to skillet a handful at a time along with ½ tsp. salt, stirring evenly to wilt spinach. Remove from heat and season with pepper if desired.
Sprinkle a little flour over the number of doughs you plan to use. Pick up 1 ball of dough and start stretching it into a round. When it’s about 10 inches across, lay it on the cornmeal-coated pizza peel or lightly oiled pizza pan/baking sheet.
Spoon about 13 cup Quick Pizza Sauce over dough. Sprinkle cheese over sauce. Distribute Sautéed Spinach and Garlic over cheese. Slide pizza from peel onto hot stone, or place pizza pan in oven. Bake until bottom of crust is deep golden brown and top is bubbling, about 10 minutes at 500 degrees. Remove to a cutting board and cut into 8 triangles and serve. Repeat with remaining doughs and desired toppings.
Note: In our oven, we have three racks and keep 3 pizzas rotating. When the one on the stone is done, we put the one in the pizza pan from the top or middle rack onto the stone for the last few minutes to crisp the crust. It’s our home version of the commercial Roto-Flex pizza oven.