Three Onion & Three Cheese Pizza
The only thing better than pizza you made yourself is leftover pizza you made yourself. It's true. If treated properly, a day old slice can easily taste as good (or even better) than it did the first time it came out of the oven.
There are people who refuse to eat any leftover thing. I think they are crazy. (And they probably do not cook.) I adore homemade leftover anything. How can a person not love something so perfect? With leftovers, everything is done! You do not have to cook them. They do not make a mess of the kitchen. They require no thinking, as in, What in the world am I going to have for dinner? And most of all, you are able to enjoy your wonderful food even more the second time around because you are not already full from having nibbled and sampled your way through its initial preparation. Leftovers are a cook's dream. After a long and tiring day, leftovers can save your life.
Many foods actually taste better after sitting around for a day or two: shortbread, chicken salad, herbed yogurt cheese, and of course nearly any kind of soup or stew or chili.
Restaurant leftovers are not the same as homemade, but they do have their own unique virtues. Restaurant leftovers can transport you places. Say you are visiting New York City and it is your last day there. You decide to pop into the famous Carnegie Deli for a corned beef sandwich before heading to the airport. You sit at a table and munch on half of your enormous sandwich, blissfully absorbing this true New York experience. Later that night, when you are back at home in the kitchen, jet-lagged and exhausted and starving, you can eat the other half while you reminisce about your trip and marvel over the fact that just several hours earlier you were on the other side of the country. (Or you can pull out your leftover half sandwich on the plane and make all of the other passengers jealous.)
Leftover pizza is one of my favorite foods, and I will happily eat it for days on end. By leftover pizza, I do not mean a cold slice for breakfast, though some people find this a real treat. I still remember a girl in my junior high school whose family went out every Thursday night to the best pizza parlor around. Every Friday she would bring two pieces of leftover pizza to school for lunch, and she was the envy of the playground. But everyone knows that even pizza that has been sitting around all morning in a locker is a million times more exciting than a tunafish sandwich and an apple.
Junior high playgrounds aside, I want my pizza hot. I like the cheese melted and the crust to have some crunch. I will often stick a half-eaten slice back in the oven to crisp up the crust and re-melt the cheese.
Any kind of pizza can be returned to its original state of piping hot perfection. The trick is all in how you handle it. Leftover pizza should be treated with a respect that borders on reverence. It should never, ever see the inside of a microwave.
The very best thing to do, of course, is to reheat your pizza in a very hot oven for about ten minutes on a baking stone that has been allowed to heat up for at least half an hour. It should be loosely covered with foil so the cheese does not get too brown. Pizza reheated this way can often be passed off as freshly baked.
This method is fine if you have the time, and it is a nice way to heat up a chilly kitchen in the winter. But if it is summer and you are starving, you can turn to the toaster or convection oven and achieve spectacular results.
For several years I reheated my pizza on an inexpensive round pizza stone in an ancient monstrosity that I believe may have been the world's first combination microwave/convection oven (using just the convection mode of course). The numbers one through five on the keypad were broken, and on rainy days it would lapse into a coma, but one learns to work around these things. When the Start button finally quit working, the old warhorse was bid a fond farewell and replaced with a DeLonghi Convection/Toaster Oven that is absolutely adorable and a whole lot smaller. It makes beautiful toast (very handy as the toaster died recently, too) and half a loaf of my sourdough onion rye fits exactly between the two top heating elements. It will hold two large slices of pizza, but not the big round pizza stone. No problem.
We headed to the home improvement store in search of 8-inch, unglazed ceramic tiles to create a homemade hearth. Less than three dollars later, I had three pieces of tile cut to perfectly fit inside my new little oven. To reheat pizza, I let the tiles heat up at 400 degrees on the convection setting for at least ten minutes (longer is better if you have the time), and then I lower the temperature to 350 and slide in the slices, covering them loosely with foil. Ten or so minutes later (cooking time depends on the thickness of the pizza), the cheese is bubbling and they're ready to eat. More pieces can be reheated while the first ones are being devoured.
So now you know what tastes even better than homemade pizza. And if your pizza is so delicious that it looks like there won't be any leftovers, you can quickly remind everyone that they need to save room for dessert, especially when it is a new twist on an old favorite. But that's for next time.