SIMPLE PIZZA AT HOME
FOR THE DOUGH
- Pizza dough for one crust, either homemade or store-bought (suggested recipe: mozzarela pizza crust from Perfect Pizza at Home)
- Olive oil
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- you can add small pepper to taste(optional)
- Salt, to taste
TO TOP THE PIZZA
- 10 to 12 ounces mozzarella cheese (either fresh, or shredded)
- Dried or fresh herbs such as basil
- Toppings of your choice: mushrooms, sausage, pepperoni, chicken etc
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Now, toss the dough. While you might be tempted to start tossing and twirling the dough like a well-seasoned dude at a pizzeria, start out slow. Gently toss the dough between your two hands to warm it up. Then, hold it on two separate ends and turn it in a circular motion. The weight of the dough as it turns will help it spread. Go slow, because you don’t want it to break in the middle.
Once the dough seems as if it is getting fragile and might break if you continue this process, transfer it to a work surface coated with cornmeal. Using your hands, gently spread the dough until it stretches to the size you’d like.
Transfer the dough to your baking surface–either an oiled cookie sheet or a pizza stone.
Brush a small amount of olive oil on top of the crust. It makes it taste heavenly.
Prepare your sauce by combining the tomato puree with spices over low heat in a saucepan. Once it is warm and the spices are combined, spoon as much as you’d like on top of your crust. You don’t have to use all of it; you can retain the extra sauce and use to dip your crust, if you like. Spread it to cover most of the crust with the back of a spoon, leaving 1/2 inch or so uncovered (more, if you like a generous crust).
Top with cheese, trying to ensure even coverage. If you are using fresh mozzarella, be sure to drain it first. You may not use all of the cheese–keep in mind that if you use balls of mozzarella, it will spread in the oven, so leave some space around each ball.
Top with any herbs or spices you’d like, and add any toppings you’d like to add at this point. If desired, add a small amount of additional cheese on top or drizzle with olive oil.
Place the pan in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, or until you can easily slice the pizza without the cheese turning to goo. Serve while still warm, although leftovers taste great too.
NB:The pictures are not mine.