, plus more for the bowl
3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups
, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups
, preferable San Marzano, crushed by hand or through a food mill
, preferably Sicilian on the branch
, for drizzling
In a spouted measuring cup, mix the yeast, sugar, and olive oil into 1 1/4 cups warm water (about 100 degrees, or just warm to the touch), and let sit until bubbly, about 3 minutes.
Put 3 cups flour in a mixer fitted with the dough hook, and add the salt. Pour in the yeast mixture, and mix at medium speed until a rough, sticky ball of dough comes together, about 1 minute, adding a little more flour or water as necessary. Let rest 5 minutes in the mixer, then mix on low until the dough is no longer sticky, about 1 minute. Oil your hands, transfer the dough to the counter, and knead until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover the surface of the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Slowly leavened dough is tastier.
Before making the pizza bring the dough to room temperature. Stir together the sauce ingredients in a bowl, and let the flavors blend at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone on the bottom rack. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an inverted sheet pan.) Punch the dough down, divide it in half, and let it rest on the counter and come to room temperature.
Stretch one pizza on a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or the back of a sheet pan to approximately a 10-inch round shape (it’s okay if it’s irregular and more of an oval or a square). Fish the garlic from the sauce, and discard. Spread half of the sauce on the pizza, and top with the mozzarella, a few torn fresh basil leaves, and a light sprinkle of grated cheese. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Slide the pizza onto the stone (still on the parchment), and bake until the crust is browned on the underside and the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough. (You may have a little bit of sauce left, depending on how wide you’ve stretched your pizza; you just want a light coating of sauce.)
Note: You can add whatever toppings you like to the pizzas—salumi, grilled vegetables, olives, capers, anchovies, etc. Just go sparingly, because an overloaded pizza will be soggy.
Lidia Bastianich takes our All-Star Chef Egg Timer Quiz
Recipe from Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine, 2015.