Pepperoni and Fresh Garlic Pizza

We used to have the best pizza joint EVER. I say “used to” because they closed sometime last month. The family that originally owned the place, sold it to a very nice young couple last year, and at first my husband and I were hesitant to try it, but the new owners assured everyone that though they’d changed the names of the pizzas, the recipes were the same. So, we went down there and had our usual pepperoni and fresh garlic pie. Sure enough, it tasted like the same great recipe, and while we were undergoing our kitchen remodel, we spent one night a week down there eating pizza and drinking beer. We quickly became regulars. The owners knew our names. They gave us free bread sticks while we waited. Then, we started spending more time in Colorado, bought a house there, and started hoarding our money so we could eventually move. It’d been several months since we’d visited the pizza shop, and a few weeks ago, when we stopped by, a For Sale sign was in the window. We tried another joint down the street, but it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t even close. So, I set out to make my own Pepperoni and Fresh Garlic Pizza that tasted similar to the recipe used by our favorite departed pizza place. I’m still working on it, but this recipe is close.

Pepperoni and Fresh Garlic Pizza

Ingredients:

I’m not listing quantity here. That will depend on the size and number of pizzas you want, and how you like them topped. I make one recipe of pizza dough, which gives me two large pizzas. (I like Julie Jams’ pizza dough recipe, but feel free to make your favorite, or purchase pizza dough.) For two large pizzas, I buy 6-8 ounces of pepperoni, 12-16 ounces of mozzarella cheese, and a 28 ounce can of Trader Joes Marinara Sauce, though I never use that much sauce for the pizzas. You could probably get away with a small can of your favorite. Adjust your quantities accordingly.

pizza dough (homemade, or purchase unbaked dough)
quality pepperoni
mozzarella cheese
chopped fresh garlic (I buy a jar. It saves lots of time!)
marinara sauce
smoked paprika
quality course sea salt
olive oil

Guidelines:

Make your pizza dough early in the day so it has time to rise.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Shape your pizza dough into the desired size. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a quality course sea salt. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown just a tinge. Remove from oven.

To make the sauce, heat the marinara with about ½ tsp. of smoked paprika and a tsp. of chopped garlic. When warm, spread on pizza dough.

Sprinkle a light layer of mozzarella over the sauce.

Top with pepperoni, more chopped garlic, and the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Let cool slightly before cutting.

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