I love making pizza. I don’t know if I’ve shared that very much, but between fermenting a good dough, assembling good ingredients, and putting on the heat, I love making pizza.
I’m going to try and start sharing my pizzas, mostly in before/after photos but also as partial recipes. I’m not much of a recipe writer, but I’ll do my best.
Makes one pie.
- Pizza dough
- (I’ll be posting my dough recipe soon enough; the real key overall is to let it rise/ferment at least twice as long as you think it should)
- Tomato sauce
- Go for the high-quality stuff, it matters.
- Mozarella cheese
- I go for the little balls, but you could just as easily get a big ball and tear it up. Err toward less moisture; avoid pre-shredded bags.
- Parmesan Cheese
- Real parmesan, please, or any good hard Italian cheese.
- Basil (Fresh!)
- Kosher Salt
Preheat your oven as high as it goes. Make sure your baking stone or steel is in there. My oven gets to 550°F, which does pretty well.
Toss, push, or roll out your dough. It’s up to you. Make sure you use enough flour to keep it from sticking. I usually just stretch it out on my peel by hand, giving a little toss if needed.
With your fingertips, poke at the part of the dough you want stuff to go on (so, all but the edges). When you’re done, it should be covered in faint depressions all around. This helps prevent bubbling and also gives some dimensionality to the crust surface for your sauce to hang out in.
Spread your sauce. Just straight up tomato sauce. No herbs, no nothing. All things considered you’ll probably use a quarter to a half of a cup, but feel free to go nuts. If you see a lot of dough through your spread sauce, it’s too little. If it’s all red, it’s too much.
Generously sprinkle the kosher salt across the tomato sauce.
Take your mozzarella balls (or torn mozzarella) and sparingly place on the pizza. The sauce is the star here, not the cheese. Grate some parmesan over the pizza, it should look like your front lawn after the first flurry of the winter.
Toss that pizza in the oven! While it’s baking, take some basil leaves, stack them together, and roll them up like a cigar. Then, slice up a bunch of thin slices of that cigar to get a nice chiffonade.
The pizza is done when the crust is a nice brown and the red of the sauce has deepened a little bit – that means the sugars in the tomato have caramelized, which is what makes for the great flavor.
Take your pizza out of the oven, grate some more parm over it, and sprinkle your basil chiffonade on it as well, while it cools.
Once cooled, slice and enjoy.