Thin Crust Pizza – My Way

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).

Ingredients

Dough 

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

Sauce

  • 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

Toppings

  • prosciutto
  • fresh mozzarella, sliced (buffalo mozzarella would be even better)
  • anchovies
  • arugula

The Method

Dough

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.

Sauce

  1. 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. 
  2. Finely chop the tomatoes
  3. 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). 

  1. Preheat a pizza stone in the oven at 475 (convection bake) for about 20 minutes.
  2. Roll out the dough until it is as thin as you’d like (I’d recommend about 1/8 of an inch)
  3. 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.
  4. Bake for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Add the anchovies and the prosciutto and bake for another 4 minutes.
  6. Add the cheese and bake for another 3 minutes.
  7. Remove the pizza from the oven and cover with fresh arugula.
  8. Serve with a bottle of Chianti and enjoy!

The Result

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.

Thin crust pizza with a bottle of Chianti to wash it down.

More pics:

 

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6 Responses to Thin Crust Pizza – My Way

  1. Trish says:

    Gorgeous photos. Great blog…very inspirational and downright delicious looking! I love the combination. Thank you for posting. I will try this crust for sure.

  2. Arthur Aske says:

    I have been using this dough recipe sense 1989 when I found it in Parade Magazine. I use an old bread maker to form the dough. It takes about 7 minutes and then I kneed the dough for a few minutes and put it in a greased bowel to rise with a wet towel over it. After it has risen I knock it down, divide it, and wrap it in stretch wrap and refrigerate it till I need it later. (Freezing never seemed to work)
    As for the sauce, I keep it simple. A jar of quality marinara sauce, a can of diced Italian tomatoes (drained), and a can of Italian tomato paste to thicken the sauce. I also add fresh oregano, basel, and garlic. I do simmer the sauce for about an hour just to meld the flavors. You can use the leftover sauce on spaghetti later. By the way, as for the oven, the hotter, the better. My oven goes to 550. Baked in a true wood burning oven, the temperature can be from 1000 degrees, to 1200 degrees. Baking time there would be about 60 seconds, give or take 15 seconds. For me, its about 10 minutes.
    Also, when I saw this recipe I must say my hats off to you. You seem to think like me about this. I intend to try your ideas.
    Thank you, and keep doing what you do.
    Art

  3. Bruce Becker says:

    We have a commercial wood-burning oven in our home, and using conventional woods, it is almost impossible to achieve an oven temperature of 1000° to 1200° F. We typically cook pizza at 650-725° F using cherry or apple wood which makes for a beautifully cooked bottom and cornicione, the puffed rim. A hotter oven is both unnecessary and uses a massive amount of wood, which is actually hard to come by. We use 000 Italian flour, which is finer-grained than conventional American all-purpose flour and a little higher in protein, which makes for more elasticity. There are a ton of ways to make an excellent basic sauce. We usually roast whole Roma tomatoes (typically available in the northern USA even in winter) in a cazuela, with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and Spanish smoked paprika and remove the skins after cooking, then crush with a potato masher. We use this sauce for all tomato sauce based Italian recipes.

    • CCUinMTL says:

      Arthur, Bruce,

      Thanks for the comments and the tips. No commercial wood-burning oven in my place right now (very cool by the way!), but I’ll get the oven even hotter next time.

      I like the idea of throwing some Spanish smoked paprika into the sauce too. That’s gotta be one of my favourite ingredients.

      • Arthur Aske says:

        Not sure where I got this , but here is an excerpt from an article I got some time ago.
        “Luzzo’s Coal Oven Pizza Napoletana on Manhattan’s Lower East Side (www.luzzomania.com.) There, modern day pizzaiolo Michele Iuliano, spends his days in front of two tiled, 105-year old wood-burning baker’s ovens, bringing the best of Naples to the USA.
        Iuliano bakes it in a 1,000- to 1200-degree oven for about 60 seconds. The longest he’s ever baked a pizza is 72 seconds; the shortest, 48. He removes it, finishes it with another drizzle of olive oil and, in a nod to American custom, slices it into eight pieces.”
        Not being able to attain 1000 degrees or more, I just assumed that hotter was better, and it worked. You guys make me feel bad using a pre-made sauce, so I guess I will bow to your suggestions and try a sauce with whole tomatoes. By the way, the sauce I use is Trader Joe’s tomato basil. I think it’s pretty good for one out of a jar.
        By the way, my wife hates the mess I make when it’s pizza time.
        Thanks for all the tips. I will try the smoked paprika next time.
        Art

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