California Pizzas

The goal is to turn the kitchen into a gathering place for everyone to hang out, cook and eat together. When it’s sub-zero temperature outside, there is no place more welcoming than a warm and toasty kitchen. The oven temperature is blazing hot and the fan is blowing at full throttle. You can sense and smell the excitement in the air. Time to make some individual pizzas to suit every taste. Ina Garten, featured chef at IHCC,  details a plan for the grilled California pizzas. There are the recipe for the pizza dough and a list of suggested toppings. I cooked the pizzas in the oven since the grill is not available at this time of the year.

I halved the recipe to make three pizzas instead of six. This is a straight dough using two cups (230 grams) of all-purpose flour, one package of dry yeast (7 grams and 2 1/4 teaspoons) and three-quarters cup (169 ml) of water. (I always weigh my baking ingredients.) Mix the dough in the mixer until smooth. I let it rest for about 15 minutes, then added salt with a splash of water and gave the dough series of stretch-and-fold. Place the dough in an oiled glass bowl and let it ferment until it doubles in volume. Divide the dough into three pieces. Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Roll the dough out to about an eight-inch round.

I used a round pizza pan as a guide and to bake on. Topped it with what I had on hand: Fontina cheese. mozzarella, red onion, garlic, sliced tomatoes and red pepper. The pizza then went into a 500°F oven on top of a preheated pizza stone. In about 5-10 minutes, the crust was browned and the cheeses had melted. Took it out of the oven and garnished the pizza with arugula and fresh basil. I’d made myself an all-vegetable pizza.

Part of the joy of a home-made pizza is the crusty top and, more than that, every bite is warm and fuzzy and inviting.

Grilled California Pizzas

Print Recipe
Serves: 6


  • For the dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For the toppings (select 8):
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 1/2 pound Italian Fontina, grated
  • 1/2 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, sliced
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced and julienned
  • 1 bunch arugula, cleaned and dried
  • 6 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 4 pork or turkey sausages, cooked and sliced
  • 1 bunch basil leaves, cleaned and dried
  • 4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • For prep:
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Cornmeal



For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.


When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.


Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.


If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. (You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.)


Light your grill and wait until it's hot.


Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on 1 side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil or garlic oil.


Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.


Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe on the Foodnetwork

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  • Reply
    Kim Tracy
    January 21, 2018 at 11:40 am

    This is definitely something I could cozy up to! This is one GORGEOUS pizza to enjoy inside where it is nice and toasty. The melting cheese makes it so welcoming.

  • Reply
    Diane Zwang
    January 22, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    I am now craving pizza. We make homemade pizza too and is always delicious.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2018 at 10:15 am

    A warm and cozy meal! Looks delicious!

  • We're open to your comments and suggestions!