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Individual pizzas suited to Super Bowl parties

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    Personal pizzas are topped with red onions, roasted red peppers, fresh green peppers and mushrooms.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The dough is rolled out.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The dough is divided into portions.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Homemade pizza dough rises in an oil-coated bowl.
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Make pizza from scratch for a Super Bowl party? Come on! Why bother when you can snap your fingers and have it delivered to your door?

Here’s why: Homemade pizza tastes better than anything you can buy, and it takes much less time and effort than you would think. Making the dough takes just 10 minutes. Then, during the next hour while the yeast is working its magic, you have plenty of time to prepare whichever toppings you and your guests are hankering for — shredded cheeses, sliced meats, vegetables, whatever.

The trick is to mix and "knead" the dough in a food processor rather than by hand. It’s both quicker and cleaner. And as long as you measure the ingredients accurately (going by weight, not volume) and don’t add very hot water, this dough is failure-proof.

This recipe makes enough dough for six 9- to 10-inch pizzas. You’re welcome to invite more adventurous guests to roll out and top their own dough. Otherwise, pre-bake the crusts, which speeds up the final cooking time. Premaking the crusts also makes them crispier.

For years I found stretching out pizza dough to be a frustrating process. I’d roll it out in one direction and it would spring right back at me. I’d roll it in another direction and the same darn thing would happen. Then one day a Sicilian pal of mine passed along her mother’s method: She rolled it out on a counter that was lightly oiled but not dusted with any flour. Eureka! In this scenario the dough doesn’t roll back; it sticks to the counter. In just a few rolls, you’re looking at a perfectly round, perfectly thin pizza shell.

One last note: Encourage your guests to avoid making Dagwood-style pizzas. Piling on too many toppings makes the crust soggy. Stick to the amounts I’ve recommended and everyone will end up with his own excellent personal pizza. In fact, the pizza could even turn out better than the game.

HAVE-IT-YOUR-WAY PERSONAL PIZZAS

Dough:
» 3 cups (12-3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
» 1/4 ounce package (2-1/4 teaspoons) quick-rising yeast
» 1 teaspoon sugar
» 1 teaspoon table salt
» 1 cup lukewarm water (95 to 105 degrees)
» 1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
» 1-1/2 cups mari­nara sauce
» 3 cups coarsely grated mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack or other good melting cheese

Optional toppings:
» Mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in oil
» Salami or prosciutto, cut into thin strips
» Roasted red peppers, chopped
» Green bell peppers, cut into thin strips
» Red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
» Loose Italian sausage, browned
» Fresh tomatoes, chopped

To make dough, in bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Pulse once or twice. Add water and oil, then process until a dough forms. It should be soft and slightly sticky. (If too sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If too stiff, add water 1 tablespoon at a time.)

Lightly oil large bowl. Shape dough into ball and place in bowl, turning to coat evenly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Arrange rack on oven’s lowest shelf. Line multiple baking sheets with parchment. You may need to work in batches.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. On lightly oiled surface, one at a time, roll out each piece of dough into a 9-inch circle. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

Top pizza with about 1/4 cup mari­nara, spreading evenly to within 1/2 inch of edge of dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese. Finish with 3/4 cup toppings.

Bake until bottom is golden and cheese is melted, about 7 minutes.

For crisper crust, roll out dough to 9- to 10-inch circle and bake 3 minutes. Remove crust from oven, add toppings, then bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Makes 6 personal pizzas.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 440 calories, 14 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 54 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 22 g protein, 1,110 mg sodium

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