Make pizza in a cast iron skillet for an easy and healthy midweek meal that the whole family will love. Use my quick wholewheat dough – or a pre-made – and top with smoked mozzarella and cooked lentils for a delicious, vegetarian deep-dish dinner, or hearty snack. Vegan adaptations are given.This didn’t start out being about how to make pizza in a cast iron skillet. I was really just wanting to push the idea of using lentils as a topping – oil-crisped and studded over melting smoked mozzarella and ricotta.
But then I had a brainwave – a memory actually – that made me a little dizzy.
I have put together this combination a few times to cover my standard wholewheat dough, rolled out thin as you like and painstakingly transferred to a hot peel. But whether or not I topped the dough at high speed directly onto the hot peel, or loaded up before transferring, I was never satisfied with the look. It certainly never got its photo taken for the all important Insta. Not quite a circle, not quite a rectangle; more the half-hearted effort of a surly teen.
But I had tried!
I love a thin crust, bubble-edged pizza, nearly sooty in places (I know, I know. Not so healthy.). But when thin is in, hefty toppings are out. And dammit, I want ricotta AND mozzarella AND lentils.
In a flash, I remembered something from way back in the recesses of my mind. Back there, with the memories of Dynasty shoulder pads, bad perms and bran muffins, I found a skillet pizza.
In the late 1970s and early 80s I had a wonderful boyfriend named Mark. He was a genius-level mathematician, and also a computer geek back in the days when no one had personal computers. He and his pals would sit around for hours through the night designing elaborate programs for their souped up, bespoke machines; fiddling with Rubik’s cubes while they argued on whether C, C++, or even old-school COBOL was best. I didn’t understand any of it, and lovely person that he was, he didn’t try and make me understand – or mock me for not wanting to try.
We did normal stuff as a couple: movies (he looked like Kurt Russell. Really.), eating out, going to the beach, skiing behind his Dad’s boat. But his first love was solving problems. I think if he were still alive he would have been a Bill Gates figure. I sometimes wonder what he would have invented that we would all be using. In any case, I know he would have loved that the world has embraced technology, and wear computers on our wrist.
What does this have to do with pizza? Well, a lot really. Like today, when gamers are gaming they forget everything else around them. They lose all sense of time, space, thirst and appetite. Back in those days I don’t think there was the same level of obsession, but taking a break to eat properly was certainly not a priority. Mark’s solution was not to bung something pre-made into the oven (there wasn’t really the selection back then, tbh) but to take a hunk of his Mum’s frozen bread dough, let it defrost (which took approximately 30 seconds in the Florida heat), press it into a well-used skillet, throw on some sauce and cheese and, wham bam, a hearty programmer’s snack.
I was only once treated to this clever trick. Even back then I was an adventurous eater, and Mark was kind enough to save up money to take me to places he knew I would like: it was with him that I first tried Japanese food. But having just recalled this early invention of his, I wonder if he was not only a maths genius, but a culinary one as well.
Do you have any food memories that take you back to a certain place and time?
Skillet Pizza Bianca with Crispy Lentils
Make pizza in a cast iron skillet for an easy and healthy midweek meal that the whole family will love. Use my quick wholewheat dough – or a pre-made – and top with smoked mozzarella and cooked lentils for a delicious, vegetarian deep-dish dinner, or hearty snack. Vegan adaptations are given. xx
** Skillet method instructions adapted from Bon Appetit.
Half quantity of my wholewheat pizza dough recipe (or make two skillet pizzas) – with or without the nutritional yeast added
1 tbsp coarse cornmeal or polenta – this is for the skillet
100-150g best ricotta cheese – full-fat (vegans, use cashew ricotta or something like Tofutti soft cheese, adding some lemon juice to it)
Zest from half an unwaxed lemon
4 or 5 semi-dried (mi-cuit) tomatoes, snipped OR flavourful black olives, like Kalamata
100g smoked scamorza mozzarella (vegans, perhaps use Smoked Risella – I’ve not tried it) – more cheese if you like it very gooey
2 tsp olive oil (smoked, chilli or garlic flavoured are nice)
80g cooked, firm Puy or Beluga lentils (I use Merchant Gourmet brand)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
Glaze for Dough
2 tsp nice honey
good pinch of chilli flakes
2 tsp water
2 tsp olive oil
Essential equipment – a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. I love my Staub one, but I also like my old Le Creuset. It’s worth getting a good brand (they aren’t cheap, but look for them on discount sites and second-hand shops) as cheaper ones are hard to “break in”.
Dough tip – the whole dough recipe will make two 10-inch skillets of pizza but the recipe below is for one, so scale up the toppings if you wish. What is shown in the images is for using two-thirds of the dough in one pizza (too thick for me, but the family liked it) and a smaller cast iron skillet for another. My advice, unless you like quite a thick crust, is to use half the dough quantity for one pizza. The dough freezes well. Of course use your own dough recipe or pre-made if you like.
Heat the oven to 200C fan/ 220C/ 450F.
Make up the dough as directed in my wholemeal pizza dough recipe (about 500g/half a pound) and use half for one pizza. If you like quite a thick crust, use two-thirds of the dough. Use both hands to hold the dough and make a rough circle that is almost as wide in diameter as your skillet.
Stir together the ricotta, zest, mi-cuit tomatoes or olives; season with black pepper. In a separate bowl stir together the cooked lentils and olive oil. At this time also mix together the dough glaze – honey, chilli, water and olive oil.
Heat the skillet on the hob/stove for a couple of minutes until almost smoking, sprinkle with the cornmeal and carefully lay in the dough (shown below), pressing the dough as needed to make a fairly even lip. Turn the heat down to low-medium and let the dough cook for about three to four minutes, or until it starts to puff up.
Smear the seasoned ricotta over the base and top with the grated smoked scamorza mozzarella. Scatter over the lentils and herbs. Brush the crumpled edges with the glaze and slide the hot skillet into the oven – the handle will be hotter than the sun, so take care.
Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes, until the lentils are crisped and the cheeses are pleasingly gooey. Top with herb flowers and torn herbs if you wish. Serve with a green, sharply salad dressed.
Variation: use your favourite marinara sauce instead of or as well as the cheeses. We’ve also topped this with chopped Tofurkey Italian style vegan sausages and sliced peppers – so good!
<!– WGCCxxx –>
34 thoughts on “How To Make Pizza In Your Cast Iron Skillet”
omg. Now I’m hungry…
I love your use of a skillet, I rarely touch it!
My enameled Staub skillet is my kitchen bff 🙂
And so creative to put lentils on pizza! I’ll have to try that.
The lentils are really very good on pizza. Surprisingly so! My family love this 🙂
What a great recipe 🙂
thank you 🙂
This looks really tasty. I do not own a skillet, but I probably would get one now. Which one would you recommend? 🙂
I use my enameled cast iron skillets all the time. There are cheap, non-enameled ones around but honestly most people end up throwing them out because they rust if not treated properly. I would recommend Staub, Le Creuset or Chasseur. A hefty investment, but it will last a lifetime. I’ve gradually replaced my non-stick coated pans and bought enameled cast iron Dutch oven, wok, baking dishes etc. Hope this helps 🙂
Thank you! This helps a lot. I would like to replace my pans for better quality ones. I’ve bought a ceramic coated non-stick frying pan, but honestly sometimes they smell like plastic when the heat is too high. :/ I will check out the companies you recommended. 🙂 Thank you again!
There will be other good ones, but these are the brands I have in the house and really love. Staub is my fave, but is probably the priciest. There are discount sites, and sometimes – when you are not looking for them, of course – you can find good cookware in secondhand and charity shops.
Hm good ideas! I was thinking about second hand shops as well. Worth a try.
Yes, that’s true, when you are not looking for deals you can find them. 😀
Mmmm what a fantastic post Kellie! And your photographs are wonderful – they make me want to cook up this creative dish right now!!
Can’t wait to stay updated with your posts <3
It seems so nice..haha!😋
this looks amazing, i have to try
Love this idea!!
Looks absolutely delicious! I love homemade pizza so I may just have to try this out!
Oooh, nice. I like to think I’m pretty creative with pizza toppings, but never have I even considered lentils. Will have to try this. I’ve done the pizza skillet thing, but I also have a pizza steel that gets smoking hot in my oven, and I’m a bit of a whiz at flinging the pizza off of a wooden peel and onto the waiting steel with the flick of the wrist. But that took years and years of practice. So for the every day, I think the skillet is where it’s at!
Funny, I just tried ricotta today for the first time. It melted away instantly and left me feeling unsatisfied…Did I do something wrong? I lobbed 4 globules of it onto a custom pie at work then put it through a pizza conveyor belt and upon dining, found it to be unimpressive. Did I do something wrong?
Ricotta is best with a subtle pasta dish but adds a creamy note to this pizza. Homemade ricotta and good Italian brands have a delicious mild creamy flavour. It kind of depends on what you used it with. Making a sauce with ricotta is lovely as are dots of it with fresh figs, balsamic vinegar, best olive oil and some rocket leaves.
Just love this story of your former BF. I know what you mean about misshapen pizza. The peel does not lend itself to perfectly round ‘za, even more so when you load up w toppings. -Kat
looks tasty..feels great ..
This is a good meal and I can make my own variation. thanks
It looks amazing and delicious. I love to make pizza, Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Great….must try it out…
wow Looks really yummy. A Must try
This looks incredible! I love pizza of all kinds–thin crust, fluffy crust, full of veggies and sauce, or plain and simple!
Touching post. Your pizza looks amazing. I treasure my cast iron skillets, too.
“Do you have any food memories that take you back to a certain place and time?”
Do I! And it’s even pizza related…how about Bisquick pizza in an electric fry pan? Back during college, in my grandmother’s kitchen, my cousin and I hopeful and the grownups standing around saying variations of, “it will never work.” Well, it wasn’t real pizza crust, but the toppings were hot, the cheese melted, and it tasted great. Everyone tried my latest food experiment to the point that there was none left.
Have I made it since college? No. But if I were in a dorm again, it would be in my regular rotation. Oh, and I, too, make misshapen pizzas. Mine tend to look like duck feet, which is actually good if you’re making naan, I think it is. 😉 Thanks for the lentil idea.
What a lovely story! I’m sure I would have scoffed that Bisquick pizza in a flash! And I will never look at my misshapen pizzas in quite the same way again – duck feet 😉