I should start with a healthy dose of honesty before I go any further. I am not a great cook. In fact I really do not spend very much time in the kitchen. But there are several dishes that I really enjoy making, and at the top of the list is pizza. Pizza is a food that I have enjoyed eating and making since I learned some basic techniques from my mother a very long time ago. Cooking and preparing pizza at home is fun and you get to eat the product of your labors. That is about as good as it gets.
Begin with the making of the pizza dough. You can purchase ready made pizza dough or use various ready mixed pizza dough recipes and that is alright if you so choose. Personally, I like to mix my own pizza dough from scratch. It is really not that much work and I think the end results are better. Any general cookbook should have a basic pizza dough recipe. If you do not have access to a cook book then there are many pizza dough recipes on the internet.
My basic dough recipe is three and one half cups sifted flour and add to this one packet active dry yeast and mix with about one and a half cups warm water. Then you will combine dissolved yeast and flour. Mix and knead the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside until the dough raises. Knock it down and roll out your pizza with a rolling pin and board. This is enough dough for three medium sized pizzas. I should mention here that I have never evolved to a pizza tosser. If you are so inclined, feel free to give the pizza a spin.
The rolled out pizza is ready to garnish. But first, the pizza sauce. The pizza sauce can be as easy or as complicated as you choose. There are several ways to go in regard to sauce. I have prepared my own sauce with stewed and whole tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, garlic and the like. This will make a pizza sauce to die for. However, I have found a shortcut that satisfies my audience and makes for a good second choice. Grab a bottle of your favorite pasta sauce, there are several that work well but choose one that tastes good to you. Spread it generously over the pizza, add your favorite cheese or cheeses along with everything else that you want on your pizza. And now, you are ready to put the pizza in the oven.
Cooking the pizza is the final and very important step in preparing a really good pizza. The times and temperatures will vary somewhat depending on your oven and the size and amount of topping on the pizza. Some experimentation will be necessary. But here is where I would begin. For a simple twelve to fourteen inch pizza with cheese and pepperoni: first preheat the oven to 425F. Put the pizza on the middle rack and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes. If the pizza is larger, double layer or with more toppings, then the time and temperatures will need to be adjusted. For a dish that can be as variable as pizza, experience will be your best teacher.