Jennifer Perillo’s pizza dough (and a Homemade with Love giveaway)

Grilled pizza using Jennifer Perillos dough with mozarella oilve oil and basil Mardi Michels

Full disclosure here – I’m a big fan of Jennifer Perillo. I have been for a few years now, since the very beginnings of my blog. I’ve always admired Jennie’s “simple scratch” cooking philosophy and the way she maintains this, even with two little girls to keep her on her toes. One of the things I have admired for a while now is Jennie’s Pizza Fridays involving her simple pizza dough. But secretly, I’ve been very jealous of Jennie and her “simple” pizza dough because I have not been able to master pizza dough in the past. I’ve made a few that I kinda sorta like but none that I would consider “go to” recipes.

Last summer, when Jennie and I were both in Paris, I had the great fortune to watch Jennie casually prepare a quiche pastry from scratch. We chatted in the kitchen of her rental apartment over cups of tea as she went about her preparation, methodically, yet super casually at the same time. Watching Jennie that day, I realised that maybe my issue with dough wasn’t a recipe, rather, it might have been my approach. I needed to slow down and relax. I mean, it’s only a handful of ingredients – I could surely master them… Of course, a decent recipe might help too 🙂 I left that apartment that day with a tummy full of good food and a determination to make friends with pizza dough!

When Jennie posted this video of “5 minute pizza dough” back in January, I felt encouraged. She makes it look so easy.  When I saw this was going to be a recipe in Jennie’s now-published cookbook, Homemade with Love, I knew that for that one recipe alone, I had to get the cookbook. I mean, pizza dough that works every single Friday, even working into a hectic schedule? Who wouldn’t want that recipe?

I couldn’t have been prouder to watch Jennie demonstrate orange-chocolate scones from Homemade with Love at The Cookbook Store last month at an event to celebrate her book launch. I mean, no pressure, right – a room full of strangers watching as you bake using flour you have never worked with in an oven you are not familiar with… Jennie handled the cooking demo, the questions and the event with her usual style and grace and her scones were delicious.

With my hands finally on a copy of Jennie’s book, I had great plans to make a lot of recipes. Life has had other plans in the past few weeks (though I do have a giant list of her recipes I want to make and have devoured the book from cover to cover like a novel!) but finally I got a chance to cook from the book a couple of weeks ago and I knew I had to try to pizza dough. We were visiting friends and there was a meal to be made for six adults and four children, aged 6-11 so pizza seemed like a good idea. It was supposed to be hot that weekend, so I decided we’d grill them on the barbecue. Why not right? Making pizza dough AND grilling it (something I have never tried before!) – sounded grand!

I started making the dough around 10am  with four kids busily playing around me and adults catching up over coffee and lingering over breakfast.  I cleared a space on one of the tables and set about making my dough. Jennie’s book calls for bread flour but I used all-purpose since that’s what we had on hand.  Strangely, for whatever reason, I had a good feeling about the dough from the start.  I love that I can actually hear Jennie’s voice in my head as I read her words  – it’s kind of like if I close my eyes, I can imagine her standing next to me. So with all my might, I was channeling my inner Jennie!

Jennifer Perillos pizza dough Mardi Michels

A few people are surprised when they hear that breads and yeasted doughs are difficult for me. I mean, they tell me I make macarons which have the reputation for being finicky, right?  So why is something so simple so hard for me?  Well it’s not at all the same as making macarons and I can’t really explain it. Bread and dough, like anything with just a few ingredients, requires some understanding of the process – of what will change things up (heat, cold, humidity, old yeast etc…) and for a long while I simply didn’t have that knowledge. Now I’m much more confident about bread which I definitely think helps me understand this oh-so-simple for some people but not quite me (yet!) process!

With very little fuss, the dough came together beautifully and soon it was stretched out and on the grill for a few minutes before we topped it…

Jennifer Perillos pizza dough on the grill Mardi Michels

Yup – it puffed up like naan!

Jennifer Perillos pizza dough flipped on the grill Mardi Michels

And it developed a lovely charred flavour from the grill.

Jennifer Perillos pizza dough grilled Mardi Michels

(yes, I need to work on my pizza-shaping skills!)

We topped one with some olive oil, then a simple tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil…

Jennifer Perillos pizza on the grill with tomato sauce mozarella and basil Mardi Michels

And another with olive oil, basil and mozzarella…

Jennifer Perillos pizza on the grill with mozarella olive oil and basil Mardi Michels

The person to whom the little hand you see above belongs loved this pizza, minus the “green bits”. But hey – we all considered that a win. She’s 6 years old.

Thank you Jennie, for helping me make friends with pizza dough. You can find a version of Jennie’s pizza dough recipe here.

I’m super excited to have a copy TWO COPIES of Jennie’s book to offer my readers all over the world thanks to Publishers Group Canada and Running Press. (Update: And a big thanks to Jennie for offering the international copy!)

Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Homemade with Love: A Canadian/US Giveaway

To enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite pizza topping is.

2. Tweet the following message: “Win a copy of @JenniferPerillo ‘s Homemade with Love from @PGCanada @RP_Cooks + @eatlivtravwrite (worldwide!)”

then come back to let me know you did in the comments.

Contest closes Tuesday June 11th 2013 at 6pm EST. Winner will be chosen using and will be notified by email.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of Jennie’s book and was not asked to write a post about it, nor am I being compensated for doing so. Running Press Cooks and Publishers Group Canada have offered one (1) copy of the book for a US/ Canadian resident and Jennie generously offered to ship one copy directly to an international winner.

 EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations Laura and Paula who won the books! Thanks for all your wonderful pizza topping suggestions!

82 thoughts on “Jennifer Perillo’s pizza dough (and a Homemade with Love giveaway)”

  1. Hooray for you! Not only did you master Jennie’s pizza dough but you were daring enough to cook it on the grill the first time around! Are Pizza Friday’s in Neil’s future? 🙂

  2. Jennifer’s book truly is lovely. Now, I am going to have to try out her pizza dough. Her chicken & biscuits and lentil meatballs have already earned a rotation in our house.

  3. I’m still afraid to make my own pizza dough, although my husband makes it 2-4 times a month. He’s always encouraging me to try it, but I’m still chicken! LOL.

    My favourite pizza topping is just some really great, gooey cheese. 😀 Simple, but oh so tasty!

  4. That six-year-old is not going to agree, but my favourite pizza toppings are spinach (lots of green) with mushroom, and, of course, cheese. Yum.
    I try to roll out pizza, but it is usually a disaster … on many levels.

  5. We enjoyed the pizza on the BBQ so much that we made it last night for dinner. You’ll be happy to know that James (age 9) actually complained that we didn’t have any fresh basil, tee hee!
    My favourite toppings are tomato sauce, feta, garlic and spinach–we’re going to try that next weekend!

  6. Would love to try this on the grill – great idea! My father-in-law swears by grilled pizza (grilled anything for that matter), My favorite toppings are what we affectionately call “garbage pizza” – which is Everything – variety of meats, cheeses, lots of veggies!

  7. I love my pizza simple. Great sauce, basil leaves and fresh mozzarella.

    I know what I’m having for dinner tonight now.

  8. I too loved Jennie’s pizza dough video and have been thinking about trying it out since then. I would then top the dough with fresh tomatoes and spicy giardiniera. Love the grilling option!

  9. My favourite pizza topping is pineapple, sweetcorn and black olives. Sometimes I add jalapeños for a spicy kick too. Thanks for the great blog posts. I really enjoy them all the way from north east England.

  10. the pizzas were delicious! as someone who far more often orders pizza than makes it, i was impressed with how easy it all was to simply make one’s own. and that little hand in the photo belongs to my youngest, who is a notoriously picky eater; the fact that she ate it and just picked the basil off made it a huge success in my book. i got to look through the cookbook over the weekend as well, and it is now on my “wish list,” so i’m keeping my fingers crossed that i might pick it up here. my favorite pizza toppings are fresh basil and mozzarella, feta, and black or green olives. what can i say? i like things salty. 🙂

  11. I know I’m ineligible for a prize… but for the record, Pizza Quattro formaggi (I’m sure my Italian spelling is incorrect, but you all know it’s four cheeses)
    Square pizzas? Not a bad idea, actually.

  12. I like thick crust pizza dough with Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, olives and onions
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  13. Well clearly I’m not in the running for one of the books, BUT….

    My favourite topping – as I’m sure readers will NOT be surprised to hear – depends on the wine I wish to drink. Oh and my mood. And maybe even the CD I have playing. 🙂

    If that sounds decidedly indecisive – well, it is. Too many come to mind. And especially combinations.

    Anchovies with olives on a superb thin-crust. Proscuitto. Roasted garlic and red peppers. Leeks and goat cheese. Proscuitto. Grilled oyster mushrooms.

    Easier to say what I don’t like: pineapple, for me, is one sure-fire way to ruin a nice pizza. Or any fruit, for that matter. My dessert pizza of choice features Nutella with thinly-sliced banana.

    Enjoy all!

  14. Family favorite!! LOTS of mozzarella cheese and bacon!! But my SONS Favorite is pan fried pizza dough dipped in ketchup!!!

  15. I love love love jennies Blog, and found yours fun reading as well. My favorite pizza topping is arugula, sweet potato, Gruyere, and bacon, drizzled with a little balsamic!

  16. Love the idea of grilling pizza dough, Mardi, and the fact that it puffed up like magic is incentive enough to make me try this summer. I’d think my favourite pizza topping would have to be deliciously ripe tomatoes, with basil and buffalo mozzarella and a drizzle of great olive oil… Margherita, like yours above! Tweeting now…

  17. My absolute favourite pizza topping ever is thinly sliced onions. Reminds me of George’s Spaghetti House and my very first father daughter date to hear Moe Koffman.

  18. my fav toppings are home made pesto w garden grown basil & garlic w an assotment of heirloom tomatoes and burrata … and a little parm & olive oil … I’m thinking your grilled pizza crust would elevate it up another notch AND the rustic shape is perfect – no need to mess with thAt!

  19. my fav toppings are home made pesto w garden grown basil & garlic w an assotment of heirloom tomatoes and burrata … and a little parm & olive oil … I’m thinking your grilled pizza crust would elevate it up another notch AND the rustic shape is perfect – no need to mess with that.

  20. My new favourite summertime topping combo is peaches, goat cheese, and candied pecans with just a bit of olive oil and mozzarella underneath.

  21. I love Jennifer Perillo! I have been a fan of her blog for a long time and love the strength she embodies in her everyday life! Her cooking adventures are always a pleasure to read. Fav pizza toppings are pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom, thinly sliced red onion and jalapeño peppers! Yum!

  22. My favourite pizza toppings are quite simple: some freshly made tomato sauce with a scattering of sliced onion rounds, sliced fresh tomatoes, a sprinkling of feta and festooned with torn basil, preferably just picked from my garden.


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