I probably have more recipes for pizza than any other single dish. I am, after all, a Chicagoan. Furthermore, pizza is universally popular, great for vegetarians and omnivores alike, cheap, and always welcome with children and adults.

This recipe started with Pam Anderson’s dough from The Perfect Recipe but I have incorporated toppings and other tweaks enough to now call it my own.

The part of pizza-making that I find the most challenging is shaping the dough. If you haven’t let it rest enough it springs back maddeningly as you try to stretch it into shape. Often it remains stubbornly thick around the edges while parts of the middle wear thin and form holes. You could have a truly regrettable kitchen tantrum over pizza dough. I’m not speaking from personal experience of course, just speculating. Some of you may be less emotionally stable than I am.

This recipe produces one of the easier crusts I’ve worked with and I hope it will be the same for you.

Pizza by Kate
Adapted from The Perfect Recipe
Makes 2 14-inch pizzas
Printable version

For the dough:
1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons) rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Tomato sauce:
2 garlic cloves
I 28-oz. can diced or whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

10 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt

Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup warm (about 90-degrees) water and let sit until yeast dissolves and swells, 5-10 minutes. Add 1 cup cool tap water and olive oil to yeast mixture. Meanwhile, pulse flour and salt in a food processor. Add yeast mixture to flour and pulse to form a rough ball. (If a ball does not readily form, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.) Continue to process until dough is smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds longer.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few seconds. Place in a lightly oiled container and cover with lid or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. (If you’re in a hurry, place dough in an oven that has been brought to 200-degrees and turned off. Let rise for 1 hour.)

At least 1/2 hour before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position and place a pizza stone on the rack. Preheat oven to 450-degrees.

Meanwhile, with food processor running, drop garlic cloves through feed tube and mince. Add tomatoes, olive oil and salt and pulse until a chunky sauce is formed.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide in half. Keeping one half covered, flatten other dough ball into a disk. Working along the edges, use fingers to spread dough, turning continually, until it is 12-14″ in diameter.

Transfer dough to a floured pizza peel and top with enough sauce to cover (do not put too much sauce on or dough will become soggy.) Shake peel a little to make sure dough is loose, then slide it onto the pizza stone. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove pizza from the oven, add cheeses, return to oven to bake an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove and place on a layer of newspaper (it’s cheap, available, and keeps dough from steaming on the countertop and getting soggy). Sprinkle basil, a pinch of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil evenly over pizza. Repeat with remaining dough ball.  Slice and serve.