It was love at first sight ... the second I saw J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Foolproof Pan Pizza recipe,I was twitterpated. I was definitely going to try to make this and see if it was really proof against this fool. Overall, I think I'm a pretty good cook, but when it comes to trying out new recipes, usually if there's a way I can totally mess it up, I will. Even if I get the actual process right, chances are I'll do something like try to check if the bottom's cooked while the pie is still in the pan and dump the pie all over the kitchen. :( (True story).
Well, happy to say Mr. L-A has done it again. You could do worse than compile all his recipes and just use them as your cookbook. He takes a thorough and scientific approach to cooking but also has a way of translating it all for the casual home cook. The recipe was seriously easy - there is a lot of waiting time but very little active effort to expend. It's pretty much just mix the dough, let it rise, make it into a ball, let it rise more, spread it out and put on toppings, cook. Voila!
I got my toppings from Whole Foods. It's just regular shredded mozzarella, pepperoni and basil, but you could use anything. I couldn't help but do pepperoni, since it's a classic but I would love to try other toppings like chili peppers, goat cheese, red onions, mushrooms ... I could go on. I noticed someone warned in the comments to stay away from too many "wet" ingredients like bell peppers and other vegetables, because it can make the pizza soggy, so keep that in mind.
My pizza came out just like it was supposed to, with a crispy, chewy crust, tasting like the platonic ideal of the Pizza Hut pies of my childhood. The great thing about getting recipes from a foodie website like Serious Eats as opposed to a cookbook is that people leave their comments and feedback about the recipe, so before you even start you can read through and if you have any situation that varies from the recipe - like a particular climate or different pans or wanting to adjust the amount, then someone has already either asked the questions, provided the answer or maybe even made a detailed chart with measurements for every size of pan you might own (See the comments to this post for said chart). And there are tons of suggestions for topping combos if you can't settle on something on your own or want to try something new.