Let the pizza dough come to room temperature. Sprinkle the cornmeal, if using, on a cutting board or clean surface and pat the dough into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Let it sit for another 20 to 30 minutes, then stretch it into a 12-inch circle.
Meanwhile, place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Let the skillet get screaming hot.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and place it on a heat-tolerant surface. Gently transfer the dough to the skillet, pressing it out carefully so that it covers the bottom of the pan (this is NOT something the kids can help with). Avoid touching the skillet—obviously. Place it back in the oven and bake until the dough is slightly puffy, 3 minutes.
Remove the skillet again. Use a brush to brush the tomato sauce over the surface, deflating the dough somewhat, and leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Brush that border with the olive oil. Distribute the cheese over the tomato portion (see Fork in the Road for other topping possibilities), and sprinkle with the oregano and the red pepper flakes, if using. Sprinkle salt, to taste, over the whole pizza, including the edges. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the cheese is melty and the edges are golden-brown, another 8 to 10 minutes or so.
Remove the pizza from the oven, sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired, and serve hot. You can serve it out of the pan, warning everyone to steer clear of the hot pan, or slide it onto a cutting board.
Do I make my own dough sometimes? Yes. And by sometimes I mean rarely. And by rarely I mean almost never. Here's a recipe for the times I do make it. Mostly I buy it at the supermarket, or at a pizza joint.
Do I make my own sauce? Most of the time. And sometimes I open a jar. If you’re in the mood, this recipe is easy and pizza-perfect.