Based on the fact that I have spent the better part of the last week debating the merits of serving pizza in some form at our impending nuptials, it's safe to safe I am a pizzaholic. There is no food more perfect then a slice of pizza. If you beg to differ with me then I doubt we are friends.
Last week when the NYTimes ran an article about making pizza at home along with a recipe for Roberta's pizza, I knew it was time for me to test a new dough recipe. Pizza dough recipes are kind of like chocolate chip cookies or jeans or even white tee-shirts, there are a million different versions and you will spend your entire life looking for the perfect one. At least that's how I see myself spending my life. Searching for the perfect pizza recipe, one that tastes like a cross between Paulie Gee's and my Mom's. The only way I will find such a recipe is if I sell my soul to the devil.
The Roberta's pizza dough is pretty darn awesome and pretty absurdly easy so no complaining you can't make homemade pizza. It's chewy with a good flavorful bite and the perfect base for a multitude of toppings. But before you get crazy with ramps, mushrooms, and asparagus, try your hand at a simple Pizza Margherita because sometimes simple is best.
Roberta’s Pizza Dough
Recipe via the NYTimes
Makes 2 12-inch Pizzas
Time: 20 minutes plus at least 3 hours' rising
153 grams 00 flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons)
8 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)
In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams (about 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
Knead rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 36 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)
To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. Top and bake (See below for topping the pizza).
NOTE: Measurements for dry ingredients are given by weight for greater accuracy. The equivalent measurements by volume are approximate.
Recipe adapted from NYTimes
2 12-inch rounds of pizza dough, stretched (see above dough recipe)
½ cup tomato sauce, divided in half
6 ounces fresh mozzarella
8 basil leaves, roughly torn (optional)
Red pepper flakes and grated parmesan for serving (optional)
Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of your oven and turn heat to its highest setting. Let it heat for at least an hour.
Put half the sauce in the center of the stretched dough and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly across the surface, stopping approximately 1/2 inch from the edges.
Break half the cheese into large pieces (or thinly slice it) and place gently on the sauce. Scatter basil leaves over the top (if using).
Using a pizza peel, pick up the pie and slide it onto the heated stone or tiles in the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, approximately 4 to 8 minutes. (NOTE: If you do not have a pizza peel you can stretch the dough to the size ahead of time. Then when ready to bake, quickly remove the pizza stone from the oven and place the stretched dough on top. Working quickly, top with sauces and cheese then put the pizza back in the oven.)