1 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast, quick rise (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 cups warm water (approximately 110 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus extra for kneading surface
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for bowl
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Cornmeal or masa harina
extra virgin olive oil
crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
fresh Roma tomatoes, sliced
fresh basil leaves, torn up
fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4" thick
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
pitted Kalamata olives, halved (optional)
anchovies, sliced (optional)
- Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
- Measure 2 3/4 cups flour and mix with salt.
- Add flour mixture and olive oil to yeast mixture; stir until blended.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough, adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. It will take approximately 10 minutes for the dough to become smooth and elastic.
- Pour a little olive oil into a large bowl and turn to coat bottom of bowl. Place dough in oiled bowl and turn to coat entire surface.
- Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough; if an indentation remains the dough has risen enough.)
- Preheat oven to 475°F, preferably with a pizza stone inside.
- Punch down pizza dough, then cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Cut dough in half. Spread cornmeal or masa harina over a pizza peel or other surface.
- Shape each piece of dough into a 10-12" circle, pressing with your hands and/or stretching over your fists.
- Brush a couple teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil over dough surface. Cover with several spoonfuls of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
- Arrange tomato slices on pizza, then torn basil leaves, followed by any of the optional ingredients. Top with mozzarella and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake in a pre-heated 475°F oven on a pizza stone (or baking sheet) for 9 minutes or until crust is a light golden-brown. Remove pizza from oven and serve immediately.
I like to use masa harina under my pizza because it is finer and less noticeable than regular cornmeal. It can be found in the Hispanic aisle of your supermarket or in specialty foods stores.
The pizza stone is essential for an authentic Neopolitan style crust. The Pampered Chef sells a nice one, but you can typcially find a good deal on one at TJ Maxx, eBay, or Bed Bath & Beyond.