Thin, crisp crusts tomato classic pizza margherita are the hallmarks of much of Italy’s pizza. Another vital element is, not overloading the pie with toppings—less is definitely more.
This dough goes together quickly and can be used after a single rising. If time is very short, blend, knead, and roll out. No baking stone is needed, since you slip the crust out of the pan and crisp it directly on the bottom rack of the oven during the last two minutes of baking.
- Pizza Crust
- 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm (about 100 degrees) water
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 to 1-1/4 cups organic, stone ground all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt additional flour
- Margherita Topping:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, minced
- 1 sprig parsley, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1-1/2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
- 3 ounces fresh mozzarella (in liquid), thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt
In a medium mixing bowl or food processor, blend yeast, water, and a teaspoon of flour. Foam should form on the surface of the mixture in about 8 minutes. Now, blend in the rest of the flour and salt, forming smooth, soft and slightly sticky dough. Blend in the food processor for no more than 30 seconds and if you are blending using a mixer then blend for about 5 minutes. If you are blending using your hand then knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
Place in a large oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Let it stand in a cool place until it doubles in bulk. If you are not ready to bake the pizza then it is advisable to keep the dough covered and hold up to 8 hours. You need to punch down and knead the dough for a minute or two and then form into a ball about 20 minutes before baking.
To make pizza, lightly oil a 14- to 16-inch pizza pan. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, setting rack as low as possible in the oven. Roll the dough as thin as possible to about 16-inch round. Spread over the pan, rolling out the edges to form a rim. Add toppings as desired or suggested below and bake for 10 minutes. Then using a spatula and thick oven mitt, slip the pizza off the pan directly onto the oven rack by pulling out rack, grasping pizza pan firmly with protected hand, and using spatula or pancake turner to slip pie off pan and onto rack. Slide rack back in place and bake 2 minutes. Slip pie back onto pan, remove from oven. Cut and serve.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high. Sauté onion and parsley to golden, then stir in garlic and oregano for a few seconds. Add tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pan. Boil them, while stirring for 5 minutes or until thick. Spread sauce over the rolled out crust, sprinkle with basil, mozzarella, and finally the oil. Finish with generous black pepper and a little salt. Bake as directed above.