For a long time (a very long time), I would have said pizza as good as or better than a pie from any restaurant, no matter how average, wasn't possible at home without hundreds or thousands of dollars in specialized equipment. I still say that good pizza at home is NOT easy. But it is achievable with three processes/recipes/hacks or whatever you want to call them..
Toppings are the easiest and the most flexible. Sauce is also easy, but the pizza maker can go astray and wind up in the territory of sweet or cloying.
Good crust is hard. I'm sorry, it just is. I wish it weren't.
And good sourdough crust requires a full day of planning. If you are looking for something shorter or simpler, I refer you to the discard pizza dough recipe. It's good, especially on the grill, but it's only good for a home pizza, not good in comparison to restaurant pizza.
The following recipe IS as good as restaurant pizza.
Let's get started.
Total time: 18 hours (24 including time to feed starter)
Makes: 4 personal pizzas or 3 shared pizzas
2 - Add SALT. Stretch and fold the dough. I.e., reach into the bowl, grab an edge and pull like mozzarella on pizza. Wiggle it around a bit, and fold it over the remainder of the dough. Rotate 90 degrees, and do it again. Keep on going until you've done this maneuver 6-8 times. Cover.
3 - Stretch and fold again three more times with a 20-30 minute rest between each stretch and fold. It's amazing how this works. (I resisted for a long time, but it's consistently better than straightforward kneading.)
4 - Cover and rest for 3 hours. Dough should double. If it's cold, use the oven light method.
5 - Divide the dough into 3 or 4 portions (depending on how many and how large you want your final pizzas to be). Shape into a ball and place in a lightly olive oiled plastic container. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to three days. (I find about a 24 hour rest in the fridge is optimal)
6 - Remove dough from fridge, and preheat your oven at MAX temperature. Mine goes to 550F. If yours goes higher, go for it. (Preheat for at least 30 min, an hour would be better.)
7 - Make the sauce.
Combine in blender 12oz can of CRUSHED TOMATOES drained, 1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL, 1 clove GARLIC, 1 teaspoon OREGANO, 1 teaspoon RED WINE VINEGAR, 1/2 tsp SALT, and RED PEPPER FLAKES to taste.
8 - Line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Remove a dough ball from the container, set on parchment, and stretch and press with oiled fingertips to cover about 60% of the pan if you've previously divided the dough into quarters or 75% of the pan if you've divided the dough in thirds.
9 - Sauce and add toppings. (I keep it simple with low moisture mozzarella and maybe a little four cheese Italian blend. Then fresh tomato and basil after it comes out of the oven.) Optional step - lightly brush the edge of the crust w olive oil.
10 - Bake for 13 minutes at 550F or until the first few dark spots appear around edge of crust. Rest for 3 minutes before cutting.
11 - EAT!