Reuben pizza is quick, inexpensive for a grad party

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With the end of the school year looming, the proud parents of any number of soon-to-be-minted graduates are wondering how to pull off a celebratory party without spending a ton of time or money. Reuben Pizza is the answer. It's quick, easy to make, inexpensive and completely scrumptious.

Even better, it's not a typical pizza. Essentially it's a Reuben sandwich that swaps out rye bread for pizza dough. All the other elements of the great deli favorite are present and accounted for: corned beef, Swiss cheese (in this case gruyere), sauerkraut and Russian dressing.

"Sounds great," you say, "but making pizza dough at home is way too complicated for me." Not so. You'll spend five minutes assembling the ingredients, three minutes mixing the dough in a food processor, an hour waiting and 45 minutes hands off, while the dough rises.

"Wait a minute," you object. "What about rolling out the dough? I tried it once and no matter which way I rolled it, the thing shrank back in my direction." That can be a problem, but here's a solution: Instead of rolling out the dough on a counter sprinkled with flour, brush the counter with a little bit of oil. The oil glues down the dough, allowing you to roll it out quickly and efficiently, with very little shrinkage.

This recipe guides you through the making of four medium-sized pizzas rather than two large ones. The smaller ones are easier and quicker to make than the bigger ones. And don't worry about having to bake them in shifts; the first two pies will stay warm while the second two are baking.

As a fan of crispy crusts, I've been very particular about the amount of topping meant for these pizzas. I know it's tempting to pile on the toppings, but overdoing makes the finished product soggy. Still, don't be shy about pouring on a generous drizzle of the dressing as a finishing touch. It's key to making a Reuben a Reuben.

Reuben pizza

Start to finish: 2 hours (1 hour if using store-bought dough)

Servings: 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS:

Speedy Pizza Dough (see below) or 14 ounces prepared pizza dough

Olive oil for rolling out the dough

2/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice

2 teaspoons hot sauce

Kosher salt

3 ounces coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (about cup)

1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed in a strainer and pressed to remove excess moisture

8 ounces thinly sliced corned beef, cut crosswise into -inch thick strips

cup thinly sliced dill pickle

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the Basic Pizza Dough. While it's rising, place a rack in the bottom third of the oven; preheat the oven to 500 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

In a bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, lime juice, hot sauce and salt to taste; set aside.

Divide the dough into 4 balls; working with 2 balls, roll out each ball on a lightly oiled surface into a round 8-inches wide and 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the rounds to one of the baking sheets.

Sprinkle one-fourth of the cheese evenly onto each round, spreading it to -inch of the edge and top with of the sauerkraut, followed by of the corned beef and pickle slices.

Bake the pizzas on the bottom rack of the oven for 7 to 8 minutes until the crust is golden and crisp on the bottom. While the first two pizzas are baking, roll out and top the second two pizzas. Remove the first two from the oven and cover loosely to keep the pizzas warm until the second two are baked. Drizzle the slices with some of the mayonnaise dressing.

Speedy pizza dough

INGREDIENTS:

2 to 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour for the dough

One 1/4-ounce envelope quick-rising yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

3/4 cup very warm water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for rolling out the dough

DIRECTIONS:

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, pulse 1 3/4 cups flour, the yeast, sugar and salt until the mixture is combined. Add the water and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Process the mixture until it forms a ball, adding more flour, as needed, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled medium bowl. Turn the dough to make sure all sides are very lightly coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm place until the dough is double in size, 40 to 45 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories; 244 calories from fat; 27 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 46 mg cholesterol; 1015 mg sodium; 13 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 15 g protein.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Sara Moulton is host of public television's "Sara's Weeknight Meals." She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows, including "Cooking Live." Her latest cookbook is "HomeCooking 101."


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