Everybody loves pizza, and I’m no different. If you ask me, a great pizza has to start with a great crust. It’s literally and figuratively the foundation of any pie, so it makes sense that a recipe should build around this element. In my humble opinion, the perfect pizza crust is thin, crisp around the edges and slightly chewy. It’s firm enough so that if you hold a slice from the edge it can support the weight of the toppings without immediately folding but flexible enough so that it slowly bends under the weight over time. Once you have the crust down you can throw on whatever combination of toppings your heart desires. In this post, I’ll share a great crust recipe as well as one of my favourite topping combos – prosciutto, arugula, fresh mozzarella and the secret ingredient: anchovies. I’ll also share a recipe for the simplest pizza sauce you can imagine (using a no cooking required method inspired by my GF’s Nonna).
Credit for the dough recipe goes here (and ultimately to Wolfgang Puck)
- 1 package dry yeast (8g)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 280z can peeled whole italian tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp basil (dry or fresh)
- 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- fresh mozzarella, sliced (buffalo mozzarella would be even better)
You can see the steps here. I’ll just mention that you don’t need a stand mixer or an electric mixer of any kind to make this dough. A fork and your hands will do just fine.
- Drain the tomatoes and then break apart each one by hand and drain further.
Tip: Since you’re not going to be cooking this sauce before you put it on the pizza you won’t have a chance to reduce it. So you want to get rid of as much excess water as possible in order to avoid a soggy pie.
- Finely chop the tomatoes
- In a large bowl mix the tomatoes, chopped garlic, basil, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Done. The cooking will happen on the actual pizza.
Making the Pizza (Tip: For optimal results you want to build the pizza as you cook, don’t just throw everything on at the beginning).
- Preheat a pizza stone in the oven at 475 (convection bake) for about 20 minutes.
- Roll out the dough until it is as thin as you’d like (I’d recommend about 1/8 of an inch)
- Place the dough on the pizza stone in the oven and cover with the sauce.
Tip: make sure you lay the crust on the stone before you put on the sauce or else you’ll have a hell of time trying to make the transfer without creating a huge mess.
- Bake for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the anchovies and the prosciutto and bake for another 4 minutes.
- Add the cheese and bake for another 3 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and cover with fresh arugula.
- Serve with a bottle of Chianti and enjoy!
I’ve made pizza at home a number of times and this is one the better crusts I have produced, which is why I shared this recipe. It has that nice balance between crispiness and chewiness that I always strive for. As for the toppings – I love the way the salty prosciutto and anchovies and the spicy sauce work together with the mellow mozzarella and fresh arugula. Not quite as simple as picking up the phone and ordering a pizza, but not that much more complicated, and far more rewarding. Next time you’re feeling pizza night think about doing it yourself.