Say Cheese: It’s National Pizza Month

There’s no doubt about it—pizza is an American favorite. It is estimated that 350 slices of pizza are eaten each second, and the average person eats 46 slices every year. A food that popular deserves a celebration. Welcome to National Pizza Month.

We’ve all mastered the art of ordering pizza, but the homemade version is a lot easier than you may think. If you’ve “been there, done that” with the typical late-night delivery, it’s time to sink your teeth into a pie with a little more pizzazz.

Think outside the pizza box and make your own za with these suggestions:

  • Experiment with cheese. Mozzarella is often the go-to cheese for pizza lovers, but other good choices include provolone, asiago, fontina, parmesan, romano, chevre, feta and (in moderation) gorgonzola. Your best bet is to blend some of these together. Caution—parmesan, romano, chevre and feta are all quite salty, and gorgonzola packs a powerful punch.
  • Get saucy. Marinara is always a tasty choice, but if you want to experiment with new flavors, try pesto, olive paste or melted butter seasoned with parsley, garlic, rosemary and basil instead.
  • Top it.  The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings––you can choose from any combination of fruits and veggies, meats, seafood and canned items (e.g. artichoke hearts). Just be sure to spread your toppings evenly over the surface of the pizza, avoiding “mountains” in the center of the pie (it’ll end up under-cooked). Also, don’t add too much. If the height of your pizza reaches more than an inch or so, it won’t bake properly. Spinach, fresh basil leaves, ham, Canadian bacon, prosciutto and minced or chopped garlic should always be placed under the cheese to avoid burning.
  • Bake it. If you like a crispy pizza, then a baking stone will be your best friend. Buy a stone that is at least a ½ inch thick to prevent cracking and increase longevity. Preheat the pizza stone for at least 30 minutes. Never clean your stone with soap. It is very important to follow manufacturer’s cleaning instructions exactly. Cooking.com has a variety of pizza stones to choose from and a 15% off offer.

Remember this last tip: When you cook your pizza, think “hot and fast.” Pizza should typically be baked at a high temperature (around 500 degrees) in about 10 minutes. Use your judgment to decide when it is done––however, if it takes considerably longer than 10 minutes, you may need to turn up the oven temperature.

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