This recipe is adapted from Sicilian Pizza with Pepperoni and Spicy Tomato Sauce by J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats. He also created what I consider to be The Piecrust Recipe. His genius is that he thinks about things–even things that seem like they’ve already been thought about plenty already–and works hard to figure them out from scratch. I’m a big fan.
Note: two pieces of equipment used render this recipe particularly easy: a food processor and a scale. If you don’t have a food processor, check the original recipe for alternate dough-making methods. If you don’t have a scale, use the volume measurements. (Also, buy a scale.)
For the dough:
- 500 g. bread flour (3 1/2 cups)
- 325 g. water (1 1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until the dough starts to pull from the bowl, then process for another 30 seconds.
For the pan:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Spread olive oil over the surface of a 13 by 18 inch (half-sheet) pan, then dump the dough into the middle, turn it over once to get it nice and oily, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit as long as you need, but at least two hours.
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 9 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or 2 teaspoons for very spicy)
- 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the garlic and spices and sauté for a minute. Add the tomatoes, and use a potato masher or pastry cutter to chop them roughly in the pot. Add the sugar and salt. Let simmer mildly for 30 minutes. Let cool on the stove until you need it.
For the finished pizza:
- 1 pound brick-style mozzarella, sliced thin (or deli-sliced mozzarella)
- toppings (I used pepperoni on one half, chopped olives on the other)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Then press your risen dough into your pan.
Now slice the mozzarella as thin as you can and line the dough with the cheese. It goes between the dough and the sauce to keep the dough from getting soggy and the cheese from burning in the hot oven. (If you’re using sliced deli mozzarella, the coverage will be even better. I use the block kind from the dairy case because it’s cheaper and it sits very patiently in the fridge until I need it.)
Then spoon on the sauce and add your toppings. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated parmesan on top of the whole thing.
Bake for about 20 minutes in the lower third of the oven. Check after 15 minutes to make sure the bottom isn’t burning. If it is, you can move it up in the oven or protect it by stacking another half sheet pan beneath.
Sprinkle with the final 1/4 cup of parmesan and let sit at least 15 minutes before attempting to cut it (it firms up as it rests).
Call in the family.